(insert title here)

31 03 2009


not too long ago i went to the newport aquarium.  a medium sized aquazoo located in one of those disney-esque entertainment complexes that feature chain food, family fun, and a walkable space set alongside a ginormous parking lot.  this particular ‘fun zone’ is located south of cincinnati just along the banks of the ohio river.  if you aren’t familiar with aquariums they tend to feature a bunch of aquatic life stripped from their various natural environs and plugged into pitiful tiny interpretations of those same environs.  yes, basically just like a world’s fair, but the fish don’t dress up like ‘real’ fish, they just are.

and the aquarium was sorta fun – if you like gobs of really obnoxious kids who employ one of about three adjectives to describe the language defying wonders of the deep.  there i was trying to read the info card on one particular little fish prison, and i was almost unable to make sense of the words because i was surrounded by a flock of 10 year-olds taking no-look digital photos of the now blinded prisoners – seahorses in this case – while simultaneously ordering them into useful analytic categories.  ‘friggin’ ugly’, ‘totally weird’, and, of course, ‘sick gross’.

huh.  strange.  the info panel i was reading said something about plankton and habitat, and..nope…not a thing about the seahorse’s various aesthetic shortcomings.  i thought for a second that maybe i should help rectify this loathsome misinterpretation; put the geography MA to work and see if i could get these kids to see complexity rather than difference.  or better yet, to see beauty in difference rather than a lack of sameness.  but just before i had a chance to speak i saw their parents coming around the bend, still chatting about penguins, and – i hoped – ready to resume with the whole parenting/teaching gig.  when they caught up with their brood i sat and watched, hoping for a more connected conversation to emerge, a conversation about life perhaps.  when the father’s voice finally broke through the bedlam that he and mrs. ‘evil children’ had presumably concocted, all i got was this lousy quote:

“looks like a booger who learned how to swim”.

and without breaking stride the family continued apace, uglifying this and that as they wandered from exhibit to exhibit.

i laughed at first.  i mean, how could i not?  swimming boogers?  c’mon.  the guy personified snot.  totally classic stuff.  but the longer i thought about the brief event i’d just witnessed, the worse i felt about it.  so i walked through the aquarium with my head down, perhaps feeling a bit self-righteous, reminding myself there are several far more immediate circumstances hastening our collective doom.  and by the end of the walk-through i was a bit more optimistic.  these were just kids.  the dad was just being ‘hilarious’.  the world is gonna be fine.  so i opened the door to the fake street, stepped into the sunlight, and raised my head to see:

a seafood restaurant.

rockclimbings relevance? today i was browsing through the climbing interwebs when i thought “climbing media is sometimes similar to a seafood restaurant located across from an aquarium exit”.  no, not all of it.  no, not all the time.  and no i don’t have a better idea.

but still.  climbing interwebs sometimes = seafood restaurant location fail.





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