I'll spare the reader - assuming the reader has not already written me off as dead - all the standard window dressing and excuses for giving this blog the red-haired, step-child treatment in recent weeks. I can say that the absence has made my heart fonder and that in said absence I have chicken scratched and stashed many post ideas onto various scraps of paper. Once I get around to collecting those scraps and, assuming the hand writing is legible, I'll whip them up with some special sauce and pour them out. What follows could be considered preheating the oven...
Last weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, the family unit kept a pretty low profile and stayed in town. (Actually, the Jackal and I went to the beach Sunday and Monday, but that's another post for another day.) Saturday morning we quelled a minor temper tantrum - the terrible twos are certainly upon us - by suggesting a bus ride to the National Zoo. Talk about doubling the pleasure - taking his favorite mode of transportation to see the "rillas" (gorillas, obviously) sealed the deal, and he was miles of smiles.
By mid-morning, around 10ish, it was already Africa hot outside. Two blocks into the walk to the bus stop on Connecticut Avenue, I regretted the hell out of my decision to wear jeans. On top of that, the pits of my gray t-shirt were dark with sweat. In other words, I felt really sexy. Oh well - at least the Jackal's mother looked really good, not that any of that matters...unless you have vanity issues. In any case, we eventually reached Connecticut and grabbed the L2 to Woodley Park. As expected, the Jackal's face was a perma-grin the whole ride down. The only objectionable part of the trip was some street hustler sitting behind us for a few blocks, farting up the most foul of storms. Maggots gagged, I swear.
When we hit the mouth of the Zoo it was a virtual stroller derby. At least 30 strollers rolled into the place with us, which initially gave me a mild case of angst since I have a tendency to buy into the whole Jean-Paul Sartre concept that "Hell is other people." I don't discriminate, so in this case, toddlers fall into the category of "other people." Maybe it was just the heat and humidity gnawing at me though. Either way, I got over it and pushed through the crowd into the urban jungle where we clocked all the usual suspects: elephants, donkeys, pandas, birds, zebras, and of course the gorillas.
My favorite spots on that particular day were the buildings that house smaller creatures, such as the Small Mammal House. Strollers are not allowed in these buildings and the A/C is absolutely cranked. It's a nice respite from the sweaty rat race on the main avenue...
A little back story should be shared here before I get on with the rest. I know, in terms of literary style I could probably provide a more subtle or effective vehicle, but my editor is in the BVI getting drunk on Dark & Stormies, so I'm left to my own inept devices today. Okay, my friends and I share many inside jokes. You could almost say we have our own language. Rhetorical questions seem to comprise most of it. Perhaps the most common question, in case you haven't deciphered from the title, is Would you? The root of this question falls into a rather inappropriate concept - a very attractive woman strolls by, so you turn to your friend and mutter Would you? The implied question, to which the answer is obvious, making the question rhetorical, is Would you sleep with her?
I hate to call out the male population on this one, but it's a common practice. Even if men don't vocalize it, they tend to think it. Well, in the name of immature humor, my friends and I have played out this question and extended it to just about anything - animate or inanimate. Now that I think about it, perhaps we are satirizing ourselves for using the question in the first place. Nah, that's giving us too much credit. We are just applying it more liberally for the sake of being able to say it over and over, much to the chagrin of our wives, who don't hesitate to roll their eyes.
Jesus - this back story is turning into a post of it's own. Enough said, I think you get the concept. Back to the Small Mammal House...
The inhabitants of this particular house included howler monkeys, black-tailed prairie dogs, naked mole rats, sloths, tree shrews, bats, etc. The mammal that gave us the longest pause, however, was none other than the golden lion tamarin. Clocking this thing was like rubber-necking at the site of a car accident. I was simultaneously disturbed and intrigued, unable to avert my eyes as one inserted his long skinny digit into a tree stump in search of some insect or another. They looked like little drag queen refugees from the Land of Oz.
When I managed to pull my eyes away for a second I soaked up the adorable look of enchantment on the Jackal's face. Then, with the most matter-of-fact tone and straight face, he turns to me and asks, "Would you?"