Tuesday, September 5, 2006

A Day At The Zoo

Lions and Tiger and Bears, oh my aching feet! Someone got the bright idea to go to the zoo this last weekend. I haven’t been in over 18 years and it sounded like a lot of fun. Really a good plan. We look at the animals and they get to break up their boring day looking back at us.

It’s amazing how much things can change in the short span of 18 years.  I mean, I swear I don’t recall the zoo being quite that big before. And I really don’t remember all those steep hills! What did they do, import part of San Francisco?

No worries, I think. They have trams that are like small trolley buses with stops so people can get on the bus or get off at special designated areas. That way anyone with swollen feet and aching legs can hop the tram and bypass the sections of intense walking between exhibits.

After we attempted the walk down the hill and barely made it back, hubby got in line for all-day tram tickets only to be told that no trams were running for the general public. Silly me, I had no idea that the trams–all the trams–had been reserved for the day by Ford for the unions because it was a Labor Day Party.

So, dh seeing a sign about train tickets, suggested we get those. Great. That way we could see all the park and maybe get off at one of the stops it makes…except, after standing in line, buying the tickets and walking down yet another hill to get in the roped off maze of doom, we discover the train is a kiddie train. Although some parents braved getting on the rickety little thing with their kids, hubby and I looked at each other–with over 18 years of a sedentary lifestyle– and laughed. No way in freaking hell we’d fit in those tiny seats. I saw one svelte young 20-something mommy sitting comfortably on the train. Everyone else looked like they might need a crowbar to get outta the damn thing.

So, I went back to the train booth to get my money back. The girl gave me this disgusted sigh and credited my card for the train fare. But no receipt.

“Excuse me, but can I have my receipt back?” I ask, because you'd be surprised how many times I've gotten promises returns will be taken off my credit card, only to find out when I get my statement, that the refund was never credited.

“No. We have to keep that.”

“Then give me the receipt showing I got a return credit.”

“I can’t do that either. We have to keep those.”

“Are you telling me you took my money, took my receipt, and you’re keeping all proof of a refund? I don’t freakin’ think so, honey. I want a copy of something and I’m not leaving here without it!”

By now, Bear is tired, a little embarrassed, and sitting on a stone bench as far away from me as possible. Why anyone wants to give me a hassle I can never figure out. I mean, do they think my red hair is for show?

She must have realized I’m a natural redhead, with more than a little Irish in me when my dander is up, ’cause she relented and called for a supervisor. Who also told me the same thing, but did offer to take the receipts and make xeroxes of them for me. How freakin’ kind.

Grrr… See this is the sound I make when I am thoroughly pissed at the quirks of life. Amazing how closely it resembles that of the female bobcat…

DH has a terrible sense of direction and insists (even though I can see it clearly marked on the map) that the Siberian White Tigers are just past the Lions and Elephants, not to the left past the Lemurs. He goes to the Lemurs and I wait by the Lions. I know he’ll be back in a few minutes and I won’t have to walk another hill in vain. Sorry, but no Lemur is worth walking down a steep hill and back again, to see.

We get a little further and hubby decides he wants to go in the petting zoo area. Smelly goats that bite. Sounds like fun. I wait just outside the pen and try not to touch anything and hope nothing touches me.

A woman sits down beside me, watching her kids play with the goats. She seems unfazed as her son tries to head butt the large black billy.

“Aren’t you afraid he’ll hurt himself?”

“Oh no, he does this all the time.”

“What? Butts goats with his head?” Is this some new Extreme Sport I’ve missed hearing about?

“No, he butts everything with his head. It’s how he says hello.”

Images of this kid, grown up, flash through my mind. I bet he has alot of first dates. I stretch my legs and look down at my feet. My orthodic tennies are tight across my arches and the bridge of my foot. The ankles are puffed over the edges of shoe leather like a loaf of bread in the oven.

Then I see her son run toward her, building steam. He veres at the last moment and head butts me in the kneecaps–better than a Soprano enforcer.

Finally hubby comes out of the pen, smelling distinctly foul. Nothing more attractive to a woman’s phermones than a man wearing Eau de Goat.

I try to get up , but my legs are shaking. Hubby has to help me up. We walk a little further, and then a little more, with me lagging behind more with each step. I can go no further. So hubby takes off to see the polar bears, and says he’ll meet me back at the front entrance later. Abandons me. In front of a poster about African poachers.

I sit down at the nearest bench. Wait a few minutes then get up and try to make my way back. You know something? When you’re heading somewhere, you never think of the return trip. I walked a little further, a littler further trying to keep up with my guy–but now I had to go back over those hills and twisting roads.

I managed to get back to the elephants and grasped a safety bar to keep myself upright. By now my feet looked like red watermelons, my knees are almost as swollen, and my hamstrings were plucked out of tune.

I lucked out when someone spotting me, took pity on me, and called ahead for a golf cart to come get me. I finally made it back to the car with dh and on the drive home, he asked me if I had fun. I almost threw my icy cup of cola at him, but didn’t want to take it off my feet.

Fun? Oh yeah…I got a blog post out of it, didn’t I?

Hope your weekend was memorable (but in a better way). lol