the best lack all conviction
1. We went to Brookfield Zoo last week, which is fixed in my mind as “the zoo that is not free,” spoiled as I am by the nearness of Lincoln Park. It was pretty good but man, you have to really plan your attack, and have an All-Day Big Outing mindset instead of hey-man-let's-go-to-zoo spontaneity. It's a lot of motherfucking zoo, let’s put it that way. Nora had fun and a Sno-Cone and a rather impressively detailed Mold-a-rama of an alligator, so she was happy.
She was rather less happy on the giant carousel they had there, as it somehow gave her a nosebleed (who knew that carousel g-forces were so strong?) and the sight of her grim little face getting progressively bloodier with each revolution was so tragic and yet so funny. I yelled “Are you okay?” after she passed me on the merry-gore-round and she managed to shout back, “No! My nose is bleeding!” Darling, I can see that, but thank you. LT managed to hand her his handkerchief, but that made me nervous because a fall from her (literal) high horse while trying to self-administer first aid would probably be much more serious than the nosebleed. Anyway, she didn't seem upset and she was not totally hemorrhaging, so when the operator asked me if he should stop the ride I was like no, don't ruin everyone's fun, my kid will soon coagulate. And she did, of course, and we got a handful of free-ride tickets for all our trauma, so hey! That's my frugal-mom tip for the day! Smuggle a prebloodied rag onto the Brookfield carousel, fake some epistaxis, ride for free!
2. Because LT is all connected and shit, our family got to have a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lion House at Lincoln Park Zoo. Nora enjoyed the big cats and I enjoyed the post-adrenaline-rush relaxation after we left the cage area, which was painted with a thick red line you should not cross, as it happens to be just about the distance that a large cat could reach if it really wanted to. After we left I realized that whew, I had been gripping the child's arm pretty tightly, because there is nothing quite like the look in a leopard's eyes when he picks out the smallest one in the pack. Actually, Nora's favorite bit of the tour was not the live animals themselves but the food-prep area, which she asked to see twice, because she just can't get enough of giant bloody horse femurs. (WHO CAN?) The keeper told us that they sometimes freeze the excess blood in Dixie cups and give it to the cats on hot days, and I cannot even count how many times Nora has singsonged the word “bloodsicle” to herself these last few says. Bloodsicle bloodsicle bloodsicle.
I would like to thank Eli for very politely taking me to school with this post. I am not the most careful thinker when it comes to the stuff I spout online (this whole diary is about sitting down and turning on the brain-faucet and seeing what trickles out), so anyone who comes here for supersmart analysis of the stuff I read is cruising for a bruising. That said, I just about smacked myself in the forehead when I realized that I had indeed conflated two things (gender expression and gender identity) in my post about transsexuals and that was pretty stupid of me. I still wish that gender expression was a much more wide-open space than it currently is, particularly now that I am mother to a girl whose expression is outside the norm (a norm that seems to shift further pink-princess-ward with every passing year, unless that is just my inner curmudgeon speaking). But really, that has got nothing to do with inborn gender identity and the need to transition. Apples and oranges, penises and vaginas, etc.
In one weekend, Nora lost a tooth and learned how to ride her bike without training wheels. I know these things are not related, but the close temporal association was kind of freaky—the tooth had been loose forever, she had been wobbling around with parental help on the two-wheel bike forever, but suddenly the tooth falls out and she rides just fine. I am tempted to get mystical and postulate that the tooth was holding her back, just like a wack-ass Waldorf person. (I believe there was some Steiner thing about losing baby teeth and the ability to read, although I refuse to look it up because that shit is simply too kooky and enraging. Nora has already proven it wrong, anyway.)
“PITY THE CAB DRIVER” STORIES
1. On the way home from drinking I had to route my taxi guy around an accident and in between each new direction he would say “yes ma'am, yes ma'am” and I was like knock it off already—it's midnight, I'm drunk, we're in America, there is no need to “ma'am” me. I even tried to cut the tension a little bit by asking him where he lived (lots of cab drivers live in my neighborhood and we can often bond about restaurants and stuff). “South Side, ma'am.” Arrggggh.
2. We had friends from England staying with us last week, and one night we got a sitter and headed out for an adults-only dinner. With plenty of wine. I don't know how the topic came up, but on the way home in the cab someone brought up dried apricots and Steve said he doesn't like the look of those, they remind him of monkey scrotums, and now I want to return a package of dried apricots to Trader Joe's SO BADLY with that very excuse. I'm sorry, these apricots resemble monkey scrotums, I would like my money back please. I think this will be my project for the week.
—mimi smartypants wishes to complain!