“Hey, why don’t you take a day that week off and we’ll take a day trip?”
So came Lea’s request to me for this week of spring break, during which neither Nathan’s school nor Aaron’s preschool are in session. It’s a good idea, yes?
So today was the day. Remembering a previously positive experience at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, we decided we’d return. It’s a lovely zoo, it’d be a slam-dunk with the boys (and Aaron’s first trip he’d be old enough to remember), and it’s an hour and a half from our driveway. Sold. We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel, and headed north.
After a painless trip, we made the turn in…and started seeing cars stacked nearly immediately. You know how Long Duk Dong and Marlene park Grandpa’s automobile when they get to the party in Sixteen Candles? There you go (pretty much). There were cars absolutely everywhere, at times with just two feet of clearance on either side to get our van through. One guy had jumped a curb for the privilege of parking his BMW 740iL in a mud slick.
Some substantial portion of the southeastern United States had to be at the Nashville Zoo today. I exaggerate not one whit when I tell you we saw 2,500 cars. I extricated us from the maze—no small feat—and not long after that Lea and I made the call that we were not, in fact, going to the zoo today.
You want to feel bad? No, let me rephrase: you want to feel like complete shit? Tell your three-year-old son he’s going to the zoo, drive all the way there, and then tell him he’s not going after all. Oh, it ripped my heart out. But folks, there was no way. After we got there, we were another hour from even paying to get in, only to share the grounds with perhaps as many as 10,000 other people? Lea does not share my aversion to crowds, and she assured me that bailing on the zoo was a highly defensible call under the circumstances.
Nashville is a large and culturally rich city, but Lea and I were unprepared for an impromptu “entertain two little boys.” So, we’ll, um…
…go to the mall.
I hate malls only slightly less than Wal-Mart, but the boys were enthusiastic, and under the circumstances that was a sufficient condition. And Cool Springs Galleria isn’t a bad one, as these fishbowls go. I wanted to play the unwashed rube in the big city for the first time—”Gosh, that’s Macy’s! Like on TV! Look, Lea, looooooooook!!!!”—but she told me she’d pretend she didn’t know me if I did. The boys rode the carousel; we poked around Brookstone and Macy’s; we sat in the play area for a while. Then we went to Toys R Us, ate at McDonald’s, fueled up, and came home.
So to sum up, I took a day of leave, we spent $35 on gas, and by the time we purchase the carbon offsets for the trip, we’ll have spent more than (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Sorry, couldn’t quite get that out with a straight face.). Yeah, so what we did was go to all of the logistical trouble to be 100 miles away, and then when we actually got that 100 miles away, our activities were all things we could have done in our hometown.
Note for next zoo trip: be there when the doors open.