Friday, May 6 2022

the zoo, clubbing, and asian house

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Friday.

Sitting down to write today, I'm feeling a sense of peace. Do you know what we have to do this weekend? Absolutely nothing, and I think that's going to hit the spot. But there's a whole work day standing between me and idle weekend paradise. I have a handful of meetings to attend, some code to write, and I promised Rodney we'd pick up where we left off playing Lego Avengers when he gets home from school. We're going to need some serious fuel to get through today - fuel in the form of coffee. What do you say, shall we sip?

Sip. Miles' birthday was yesterday. Even if he didn't know what was going on, he had to notice the little things throughout the day. Like getting to eat a plate full of sliced bananas in the morning while he thumbed through a new stack of books.


When Rodney got home from school, Marissa took both the boys to the Madison zoo.


Instead of picking out a toy from the gift shop, Miles was happy enough to drool on one or two stuffed animals and cast them aside. In a twist of irony, only Rodney came home with something from the gift shop - a bag of trinkets.

Marissa reports back that the Madison zoo is even sketchier than we last remember. It's always been a little shoddy, but in 2022 the Madison zoo has perfected its Joe Exotic touch. Last night Marissa and I read a local article about how the city is conducting an independent investigation into the zoo after reports of negligence that lead to animal deaths and some inter-staff incidents racism and discrimination. A much funnier, perfect "Madison zoo moment" happened while Miles, Rodney, and Marissa visited the lion exhibit.


The biggest male lion roared while Rodney and Miles were standing against the glass. "It was pretty cool, and we were feeling lucky," says Marissa. "Then, one of the zoo keepers standing like thirty feet away yells He's PMS-ing, and he's been telling us about it all day!."

Our next stop on the Miles' birthday train was a pizza dinner. But we were horrified to find forty people standing in line at Ian's. We learned that the famous corpse flower was in a rare bloom at the nearby botanical garden. "I heard about this," said Marissa. "People have been standing in line all day to see it."

"They just cut the line off," said a stranger standing in the pizza line.

We found a different pizza place, and after some much needed carbs and beer, we were home for a quick slice of cake before bed. Ironically, Miles was getting tired of all the errands, but some cake gave him second wind to open up some more presents.

That's what I got today. But before I go, how about a loose collection of funny and amusing stories that I forgot to mention.

Clubbing in Chicago

As we wandered around the river north, we passed by numerous clubs. Marissa and I, being good Christian kids, had never even seen a real club in the wild. I was most curious with the role of a bouncer. What do they look for? How do they decide who gets to go in and who stays out?

"Let's try to get in," I suggested. Marissa took a moment to think about it, then flippantly shrugged. We stepped in line behind the velvet tape. We felt the rumble of dance music through on the other side of black wooden door. Marissa struck up a conversation with one of the bouncers.

"Don't tell anyone, but we're too old for this, and we've never been in a club," she said sweetly. "We just wanted to see what it was like."

The security guard, powerless to Marissa's charm, blushed. "You folks come on over here," he said, escorting us to a much shorter line. Things were looking good. A different set of bouncers waved us forward.

"We're totally getting in," I said confidently. "I told you. We'll just get a drink and stand along the side and watch, then get right out."

I stepped forward and approached the security check. "I can't do sweats!" a bouncer yelled in my ear.

"What?" I stuttered.

"No sweats," he said sternly. He illuminated the Adidas logo on my pants with a pen light.

"Well what am I wearing?" I asked stupidly.

"Just go change into a pair of jeans, bro!" I could sense he was getting impatient with me, so Marissa and I slinked back onto the sidewalk. We walked silently for a block before I was finally ready to make a joke.

"That's exactly what I expected to happen..." I began. "But... I didn't expect it to hurt this much. I think I'm a little offended!"

"I CAN'T DO SWEATS," said Marissa, pretending to shine a flashlight on my legs.

I pretended to argue with the bouncer in a hypothetical situation. "Um, excuse me, but NOT ALL OF US STILL OWN JEANS," I said. "It's been a LONG quarantine, I don't even know what size I am anymore."

So we learned something about clubs. No sweats allowed.

Asian House

We had just gotten home from traveling. It was late, and I had just set the table with some frozen pizzas. I barely got three bites of food before the doorbell rang. Groaning, I stood out of my chair and trudged to the front door. I found a bag of takeout food on the porch. I ran out to the front yard waving for the driver to stop, but despite my best efforts he peeled away.

"We didn't order this," I said, carrying the food back into the dining room. I peeled open the bag, in search of an address. "Nothing," I sighed.

"I saw Morgan outside, maybe ask if it's hers," suggested Marissa.

I carried the bag of food to the back yard where I found Morgan smoking a cigarette on her stairs. "Hey neighbor, did you order Chinese?" I asked. She laughed and shook her head. I wandered up my driveway where my neighbor Pam happened to be getting home. Same outcome - I asked, and she shook her head.

"I don't know what to do with this," I laughed. "I'm just going to put it in the fridge."

"I'll call the place," said Marissa, finding the phone number on the menu. I sat back down to eat pizza while Marissa described the issue over the phone. That was when the phone call took a weird turn.

"No, I don't think you can still deliver it," said Marissa. "It's been in our house. We opened the bag up. I was just calling to let you know it was delivered to the wrong address."

The woman on the other end of the phone sounded frustrated with Marissa. She wanted us to simply return the food to the delivery driver, even though it was cold and we had picked through it looking for an address. "I'm not comfortable with that," said Marissa.

"Not comfortable with that?" she repeated mockingly. "So you're keeping the food!" Marissa was stunned.

The doorbell rang. From our window, I could see the delivery guy nervously shuffling around on my steps. He rang the doorbell a second and third time before I finally opened the door.

"Look, you're not delivering this food," I barked. "I opened it up, and it's been sitting in the fridge for ten minutes."

The delivery guy nodded. "OK, I'll tell my boss," he said obediently.

"And tell your boss not to call back," I ordered. "We were' just trying to help, and then you guys yelled at my wife, so we're done."

I slammed the front door shut. "There's some good stuff in here," said Marissa, combing through the to-go boxes. "We get to eat orange chicken tomorrow for lunch."

"Well enjoy it," I laughed. "That's the last time we'll get to eat it, I don't think Asian House is ever delivering to us again."