Saturday, November 10, 2007

You belong in the zoo

While touring the children's area at the San Diego Zoo with G today, I bent down to look inside a meerkat hutch and encountered two meerkats -- I assume male and female, but who knows which way meerkats might swing at any given moment -- in an extremely compromising position.

Me: Oh my goodness.
G: What are those meerkats doing?
Me: Er, it looks like they're mating.
G: Wow! (pause) How do cats do it, Mom? Do they do it like meerkats?
Me (eying the meerkats): Pretty much, yes.
G: That means there are going to be babies in there! I'm so happy for the mother meerkat!
Me: Oh, look, there's the gift shop! Let's go buy lots and lots of souvenirs.

The meerkats, for their part, weren't at all bothered by having an audience. They made direct eye contact with me through the glass front of the hutch, and their entire demeanor seemed to say You got a problem with that? Oh no. You two lovebirds go right ahead. Don't mind me.

Aside from that little demonstration of the meerkat wild thing, we had a good time at the zoo. However, I'd forgotten, as I always do between visits, how freaking hilly it is there. Seriously, if you have never been and are planning to go, my advice is to hire a Sherpa or two to accompany you. I had to all but push G up some of the inclines, and it brought back memories of the first time P and I took her -- she was about 18 months old and still in one of those big, heavy strollers with cup holders and a roof rack and an optional third-row bench seat, and I thought I was going to have to abandon it halfway up the hill from the tigers to the apes.

We'd been planning to stay overnight, but when I checked the zoo's Web site this morning and saw that winter hours only last until 4 p.m., I decided it wasn't worth it to spend the money on a hotel, even a super-cheapo budget one, when we could just go home afterward. (I suppose staying in a room with skeevy bedspreads covered in invisible-to-the-naked-eye bodily fluids would have been a logical continuation of the theme that began with the meerkats, but I don't think we needed to go there.) We left right at closing time and got back around 6 p.m., so it was a long day, but a nice one. I told G she has to bring me back in 50 years for my 86th birthday and push me around in my wheelchair. Heh heh.

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