Posts Tagged ‘seaworld’

Anthem Blues

27 March 2011



Dear J-

In a complaint that can only be described as uniquely middle-class and therefore worthy of deep scorn, after breakfast this morning we were at a loss where to go for the day: Balboa Park or SeaWorld. It’s all figgy’s world so far, though, and so she made the decision, SeaWorld it was even though we’ve all grown weary of its charms recently. It shows in the ennui of our movements, not fighting crowds and going with the flow, taking breaks and making sure we’re rested and fed, not checking shows off our to-dos.

Me, I keep hoping for the impossible: a trip for an hour or two to the Automotive Museum instead. The closest we’ve come is their gift shop (and that only to kill time) where you could peek into one room with tempting, gleaming models inside. Ever since I went to the Ford Museum in Dearborn I’ve wanted to know what’s inside ours but for now I’ll have to settle for guesswork and conjecture (I’ve already checked the one car I must see in person, a BMW 507, off my list when we went to see the collection in the basement of the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas) — there’s nothing I’ve gotta see, I just want to know as it’s one of the last of the local museums we haven’t been to yet.

As soon as we decided to head to SeaWorld again for what seems like the fiftieth time this year I groaned inwardly and then laughed at how ridiculous the complaint was. I’ve already had the chance to go to a museum on my own — the ex-USS Massachsetts — and there’s nothing like hours spent through echoing decks with only your footsteps for company that makes a whole day with a kid hanging off your neck seem like heaven. We are lucky indeed. The promised rain brought clouds and cool weather but no actual precipitation; we had good company all day and what sounds like a long night ahead* but we can take care of that.


* figgy’s law of naps: if a nap is taken at any point during the weekend you can expect the actual bedtime to be extended by at least twice that nap length.


Watch Words

24 October 2010

Dear J-

I suppose it’s in poor taste to carry it around* but watching what’s as close to instant karma in action today makes me want to take note. At SeaWorld San Diego, they have what’s called the Bay of Play (with a friendly Sesame Street theme) where kids of all ages will find something that they enjoy doing; for figgy, there’s the three rides (Abby’s Sea Star Spin; Elmo’s Flying Fish; Oscar’s Rockin’ Eel, all of which forbid expectant mothers, so I get to ride on those a lot lately) and lately, the cargo net and the bounce area (which for some reason puts me in mind of Finding Nemo‘s sponge beds). That particular bounce area has specific rules: no shoes, no shoving, six kids at a time. As crowd control, there’s a switchback-line with a fence. When we were walking up a couple ran over and the dad boosted the kids over the fence, cutting off the people who were walking around it in order to get their kids in first.

It’s really not that big of a deal — the lines were still short, and you’d only have to wait another two or three minute cycle, but that was odious, and the wrong lesson, besides — push your way forward, take every advantage you can get. So the kids get into the very next cycle but here’s the catch, they get split up because of that six-kid rule, some get to go now and others have to wait. The mom comes up and strenously argues with the attendant to no avail (that six-kid rule is as bold as day, posted there at the entrance) and the incredible thing is that another mom offers to pull one of her kids out of the current group (it’s clear that the kid doesn’t want to go, he’s scared). Even with that incredible generosity the first mom is dissatisfied and asks the operator if the kids in the bounce structure can essentially go twice, not having to leave for the next go-round. The operator sticks to the rules and says sure, as long as they all go back to the end of the line.

Once the session is over, that mom huffily pulls all the kids out, muttering about the unfairness of the situation. No one’s pointed out that they cut in line in the first place, and really, she’s only punishing her kids and not the operator. There’s all kinds of people at SeaWorld who’ll push their kids in front of you and then stare right through you as if you don’t exist. I don’t make a scene primarily because I’m not bold enough to, but also because it’s really not a big deal, and especially not big enough to freak kids out over. But kids learn everything you do, and when they expect your worst, that’s the best they’ll hope for.


* The Zen story I’m thinking of comes from Jon Muth’s Zen Shorts. I prefer this version to the other ones I’ve read, primarily because the other versions talk about how monks are forbidden to touch women, making it a failing of the monk rather than that of the passenger. Anyhow, the story:

Two monks are traveling together, one old, one young. They come across a lady in a sedan chair whose bearers have gotten stuck in some mud and even as she’s screaming at them to get loose, she’s also yelling for someone to come and take her someplace dry, she’s getting wet, all her finery slowly running in the rain.

The younger monk wants no part of it and hurries by, but the older monk stops, rolls up his pants, and waddles over, carries her to a roadside shelter, helps the attendants out, and generally acts like a one-man Automobile Association, getting them back on their way while the younger monk fumes a bit. Without a word, the lady’s party dismisses the monk and they continue their journey.

And the younger monk keeps fuming the further they go, almost as if distance multiplies his frustration until he explodes. “Brother, we didn’t have to stop. We didn’t have to help! And she never said an ounce of thanks!”

The older monk turns to his companion and asks “Brother, I set her down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?”

Sequential Story

18 July 2009

Dear J-

The end of the story is that we all had a good time, and everything turned out as we expected. figgy continues to sleep like someone exhausted, and we’re out a substantial sum of cash between the babysitter and gift, but it’s been a fun day for everyone. Yet I continue to bore you with details and conclusions instead of saying why.

We had a wedding to attend — the veterinary clinic’s office manager — so the whole day was spent in preparation and anticipation; such is life with figgy. Where once we would have just picked up and gone on a moment’s notice, we had to arrange a sitter (one of the nice ladies from daycare) weeks in advance, then do the chores madly in the morning, hoping to eke out a few hours at SeaWorld in order to tire figgy out so she’d be pliable enough for the baby sitter. After lunch we all (all the adults in the house, that is) fell into a trance/coma, then madly scrambled to get ready before the sitter came at five (yet another near thing, as we were both essentially undressed when Bean announced our visitor).

Behind the Scenes 4720 -sm

We spent most of the night hoping that we wouldn’t come home to a frazzled baby and sitter; much like when she first went to day care, we needn’t have worried. We’re lucky that we’ve got a tractable baby and an experienced sitter; it all feels a little suspiciously easy, if you ask me, but just like how high school movies didn’t prepare me for that experience, I suppose neither would parenthood one.