What Was That?

*  The road to Monterey is dark and eerie, and the moon is hiding behind the misty mountain in front of Gilroy.  I am knitting in the dark, we are listening to The Bravery playing The Ocean, and there is a noise.

“What was that?”

“I don’t know, but something cold is dripping on my foot!”  It is acid cold.

“It’s just water from the condenser.”

“It burns!”

“Well, do you want me to turn around and go home?”  Mate sounds as though am making this strange acid thing dripping on my foot into a bigger deal than it is.

“No, no–as long as the ship don’t explode!”

*  The young man behind the counter at the gift shop is African-American, handsome, and, when I ask him where the Mantis Shrimp is, boyishly excited.

“Okay, so you go down to the right, and then on your right, you’ll see this little kid’s coral reef thing, and you have to go inside there.  It’s on the ground to your right.  They’re supposed to be cool–you know, they can see in infrared?”

“Yeah!” I say excitedly.  “And can generate heat from their claws in Kelvin!  You can see it spark!”

He sighs.  “Yeah, they sort of of hid him.  A lot of us want to see him, but he’s hard to get to.”

While my kids and husband are crawling around the Coral Reef to find the Mantis Shrimp, I tell at least three people where that little world-fucker is–and they all go in to check him out!  Thank you, The Oatmeal, because we all felt the power of being a science geek right there!

*  The boy (and this guy really was younger) who was in charge of keeping people from photo-flashing the octopi was also sweet.  African American as well, he could have been the kindest, most protective docent known to man.

“So,” I said, “do the octopi ever give you the creepies?”

“No!  In fact, they’re really the sweetest creatures.”

“Yeah– what makes them sweet?”  Now, honestly?  Zoomboy watches enough nature channel for me to know all of this, but I’ve got to tell you, listening to his enthusiasm was enough to make me want to keep talking to him.

“Well, they recognize us for one thing– people they see every day, they come to greet.  And they play, and they turn colors according to their mood.  They get darker when they get anxious or unhappy.  It’s okay now– there’s not too many people– but when people start swarming the tanks, I need to be careful.  People use flash on them and I hate that.   It’s why we keep them in the dark.  They don’t have any membrane over their eyes– they’re totally helpless when the light washes over them.”  He sounded really upset about this, and I thought he could be the hands-down, nicest kid ever to volunteer anywhere.  (And, for the record, one of the reasons I don’t have pictures of the critters is that we couldn’t seem to kill the flash on my stupid camera–I didn’t want to flash the octopi either.)

“So, you’re like their protector,” I said.  “You’re their guardian.  That’s awesome.”

“Yeah!  That’s it.  I like that.  I’m the octopuses guardian!”

In the shade 😉

*  OH my GOD.  What the hell is that?  What IS that?  No seriously.  What the FUCK is that?

It’s the Fat Innkeeper Worm.  Or the Innkeeper’s Fat One.  Dude… it’s… it’s.. Well, you all KNOW what it looks like.  You just don’t expect those things to grow sentience and detach, right?

 *  “Mom, I want an octopi tentacle.  So I can freak people out.  See?”

“You only want one?”

“Well, how many can I get?”

I told him three, but he had so much fun with them, I wish I’d said five.  And then I sent this picture to Chicken, who responded, “Mom, they look like hentai tentacles!”

“I hate you,” I texted.  “He was so happy!”

Well, he’s still happy.  I’m just even more grossed out now.  Especially because we spent the rest of the day not sure when they’d be in our hair or on our face or… ew.

*   And I know you can’t see it, but it’s a backpack, with kittens poking their heads out of it.  We BOUGHT it that way.  It’s like a toy, DESIGNED for Squishy.  That was her souvenir.  No, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Monterey or the aquarium, or fish.  But for Squish?  It was awesome.  

 *  Mad as the sea and the wind, when both contend which is mightier– Hamlet.

*Though the yesty waves confound and swallow navigation up–MacBeth

*My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.– Romeo and Juliet

*  Me, to Mate:  Look at Squish.  She’s telling herself stories as she walks.

Mate:  Yeah, I wonder where she gets that?  (Can you smell the sarcasm through the computer?)

Me:  (Straight faced)  Your family.  

Mate: The hell!

Me:  (laughing)  No, no, I was kidding.  That one’s all on me.
*Squish, as we’re getting into the car:  I think I’m your most spiritual child.  

Mate:  I think you’re our most egotistical child.

Squish: What does egotistical mean?

Mate:  It means you think a lot of yourself, don’t you?

Squish:  Well, yeah!

*  Zoomboy, in the middle of taking twenty-minutes to change out of his wet clothes as we get into the car:  I don’t want anything to chafe!

Mate:  As opposed to any other day when the dirt is just there?

*  On the way home, as we realize that the air conditioner has now completely broken again, as it was three years ago:  OH.  That’s what that was!

But it was worth it.  Two day trips– I really sort of love them.  We were in our beds and our air-conditioned house by last night, and we’re back in the saddle again.

0 thoughts on “What Was That?”

  1. roxie says:

    I love your trips so much! If I ever get to Monterey I will ask where they keep the mantis shrimp. You do know how to make the party roll!

    It wasn't really acid, was it? Just something benign like freon or antifreeze or something?

  2. Donna Lee says:

    I loved day trips with the kids. The excitement of the drive there, the great day and then the exhausted but happy drive home in the dark in the quiet car. And the best part, my own bed.

    Our group went to the Aquarium yesterday but I had to stay back and run groups. I was sad.

  3. Galad says:

    I so need to go to the Monterey aquarium! Guitar Guy may be taking a motorcycle trip up that way in September. Maybe I need to meet him up there so I can see the Mantis Shrimp. Glad your car made it there and back.

  4. What a fun day trip.

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