Went with MJ and some friends to the Long Beach Aquarium today. Never been. Pretty magnificent. Pretty awesome. Pretty overwhelming. You got your penguins, your otters, your sharks, your sea bass, your high-school-aged volunteers (“Volunteens”) cheerfully holding out abalone shells, your sting rays — the ones that you’re totally phobic of when you swim in the ocean but are fairly able to behold without keening in terror when seen in a controlled setting, your jellyfish, (repeat previous item), your octopuses (octopi?) which you didn’t really see because they blended in so well with the rocks you may as well have just been contemplating a wall of wet stones, your feel-the-starfish exhibit, after which you soaked your hands in so much Purell you were sure it was intoxicating you through your pores, your gigantic tanks filled with schools of Nemo-like cutiefish, swaying algae, and scuba-geared docents, the latter of whom kept swimming up to the glass and waving their black-gloved hands, causing your extremely sensitive child to burst into tears, leap into your arms, and scream “I don’t like the water people!”
All kidding aside. It was lovely.
One thing I wouldn’t do again: the bird-feeding exhibit. The one where you go into a pen and some kind of brightly plumed tropical fowl — quite pretty, I forget its name — lands on you and sips nectar from a small plastic cup clutched precariously in your hand. I’ve never had bird claws close suddenly and unexpectedly upon on my arm before. I hope I don’t again for a long, long time. It’s a sensation uncannily similar to how I imagine death to be. But with feathers. And a really unlovely tongue. And was I the only one terrified of being shat on the whole time? Look, I like birds. I do. But the way they crap — constantly, runnily, insouciantly, as if they were flicking crumbs off of their tie — it disturbs me. It makes me mad. I wish they all wore diapers. They should. Think of all the statues that would rejoice. Think of the outdoor diners! At the very least, birds in exhibits, birds that are going to sit on your naked body parts? They should be in Huggies. Finally, should there really be birds at an aquarium? It’s disconcerting. I know. They’re trying to please everyone. It’s like a vegetable plate at a steakhouse kind of thing: for those of you who hate the sea — do not despair! There is an option! It may be weird. It may be massively bacterial. You may want to run out of it screaming. But let it not be said that we have forgotten you! May we have three more dollars for the nectar, please?
Trust me to be the first person in the world to contract Avian flu at Sea World.
Anyway. A good day. Happy kids. Tired kids. Really tired. Tired adults, too. Catatonic me.
Also my forearm burns a bit. From all the scrubbing.