Yeah, so, it was a gorgeous day in San Francisco on Saturday.
Since it was so amazing outside, I had the brilliant idea of going to the San Francisco Zoo … just like everyone else in SF, apparently. Great minds, right?
We live exactly 3.6 miles from the San Francisco Zoo, yet we have never taken the Spawn there. We have taken The Boy to the Oakland Zoo a few times, but not the zoo that’s like 10 minutes from our house. Oh, he has been to the SF Zoo, just not with us. The nanny took him a few weeks ago, and mighty, mighty good man David and I were so jealous, which is why we were so insistent on taking him on Saturday.
[Side story: I haven't been to the SF Zoo in 14 years. Back in 1999 or so, when I was a lowly neighborhood reporter for the now nonexistent San Francisco Independent, I went to a SF Zoo meeting that was held in - no joke - the lion and tiger den after closing. OK, so, you know how sometimes the lions and tigers go through some back exit in their environment and you're wondering where they went. Well, there is a whole back area of cages under one roof. It may have been remodeled since then, but there was a building that was just lion and tiger cages, and I attended a meeting in it. I don't remember what the meeting was about - something about budgets or whatever. However, I do remember this: Every once in a while, a lion would let out a loud roar, and this would set off a chain reaction, in which a tiger would roar, and then another lion would roar. The meeting had to come to a stop. The zoo board members (or whoever they were) would sit there silently until the roaring stopped, and then they would pick up right where they left off like nothing ever happened. Because of this, the meeting went way longer than it needed to.]
The zoo was pretty crowded. We couldn’t park anywhere near the zoo, and we had to hike for 20 minutes just to get to the zoo. The Boy and I had eaten, but David hadn’t. He really wanted a snack once we got inside. Unfortunately for him, anything food related had a really long line. By the way, did you know that they serve beer at the San Francisco Zoo? You guys, they serve beer at the San Francisco Zoo.
So, yeah, I was starting to feel like my bright idea of going to the zoo wasn’t such a bright idea after all. All the kid stuff that Calvin would want to play with was packed with kids, and David was starving to death. But, about half way through our trip, things started to improve. The zoo crowd was thinning out, and we could get a better view of the animals. And David got himself a soft pretzel.
I wanted everyone to have a good time, so I was a good sport and even went into the Insect room, even though I knew there were spiders in there. Spoiler alert! There were horrible, gross, huge, hairy spiders in there. Usually, I would rather die than be in the same room as a spider, but I don’t want The Boy to share my phobias, so I stood on the other side of the room and averted my eyes while he looked at them. I understand that spiders serve a purpose, blah blah blah, but that doesn’t mean I have to look at them.
Calvin hung out with this monkey for a while. The monkey wandered on to the red bricks in front of Calvin. I told The Boy, “This is about as close to a monkey as you can get without being a big money zoo donor, so enjoy it.”
After the monkey, we wandered by a gift shop, and something in there caught Calvin’s eye.
He laughed at that weasel ball for like 10 or 15 minutes. Eventually, there was a crowd of people looking at Calvin like he was an animal in the zoo.
He laughed so hard he spit cracker all over himself and peed through his diaper. I took him to a restroom to change him, and he was soaked from the waist down. The changing station wasn’t in a stall, it was out in the open in the ladies restroom, so everyone could see for themselves what a terrible mother I am letting my baby pee all over himself. I imagined that these women were looking at me like I was an animal in the zoo, then I grabbed Calvin by the scruff of his neck with my mouth and walked out. In truth, almost every woman in that restroom had a kid hanging off of her. They knew what was up. I got a few knowing, “I’ve been there, sister” looks.
As we walked back to the car, I felt like our trip was a success after all. The Boy got pretty close to a monkey and laughed so hard he peed himself.