I think that Henry was hoping we would just go back and sit in the car for a few hours to kill time after the whole succulent show clusterfuck went down, maybe do a crossword puzzle or some other equally frugal activity. Because in Henry’s eyes, he saw our refusal into the succulent show as a major money saver. But then the rest of us made the unanimous decision to walk across the street to the Museum of Natural History instead and Henry had cash register sounds wafting from his ears and nostrils.
Oh lighten up, Hank!
Passed this fat squirrel on the walk there and I could have just spent the afternoon with him, if we’re being honest. I LOVE SQUIRRELS. Except for the time I was at the cemetery and walked into a squirrel convention—-there were HUNDREDS of them perched in every tree and they ogled me intently as I nervously walked by and prayed that they wouldn’t launch an attack. I’m not here to steal your fucking nuts, I promise!
Inside the wonderfully non-crowded museum (because everyone was at the Botanical Gardens, apparently!), Blake and Haley convinced us to add on a ticket to one of the planetarium shows and I was all, “Yeah sure, that sounds great!” even though it was about JUPITER and I am terrified of outer space. You should have seen me when I was forced by my advisor at Pitt to take a dumb class on the planets. I was nauseous in every class and had awful nightmares. It was way scarier than the class I took on Vampires!
I had a flashback to the time I was pregnant and Henry and I went to COSI in Columbus to meet some friends and I had a red slushie and then we watched some IMAX thing on Vikings and I was like OH SHIT IT’S COMING—-no, not the baby, but the vomit. So I had to run to the bathroom and didn’t make it all the way in the stall, and just fucking SPRAYED THE WALL with puke. The slushie made it look like I was a vampire projectile vomiting some bad blood, like maybe I had tried to dine on TRUMP and realized that his blood is not that of a human, but the poisonous puss of a demon snake.
Chooch and Blake competed to see who could get the most drops of water on a penny and Blake won by one drop. The girl overseeing this bare bones science experiment asked Blake if he was being honest because she couldn’t say, “Bitch, you lyin’!” like she wanted, I guess.
The most dangerous animals look so friendly though!
We meandered about at a leisurely pace, killing time until the LIVE ANIMAL SHOW started at 1:00, which Blake dutifully noted on the sign by the entrance. He even did his due diligence by asking a museum docent where the LIVE ANIMAL SHOW was going to be held. And yet, only Henry and I were there when it started.
So Blake, Haley and Chooch missed the horrifying opening scene as the ancient animal handler started off the show by slowly counting off the animals that can be admired in the outdoor habitat. Right off the bat, he told us that there WERE two sea otters, but then one died a week prior. From there, he told us about the coyotes.
“It’s a really interesting story, how we acquired them…” and then proceeded to tell us a tale of vehicular coyote-slaughter, and how the slain coyote was PREGNANT and it just so happened that the man who killed her had his dad with him, who was A VETERINARIAN, so the dad pulls out his birthing bag from the trunk (I guess?) and proceeds to perform a C-section on the dead coyote, saving her four babies, who are then cared for at the coyote orphanage (I dunno, some place in Texas where the terrible murder of their mother occurred), and then only THREE were adopted by the museum, so they left one sibling all alone.
Anyway, that’s how the one lone coyote at the Cleveland museum acquired three friends.
Incidentally, this is also how I started crying in the middle of the museum, surrounded by strollers and screaming kids who didn’t give a shit about a single word this old man was uttering. They just wanted to see the LIVE ANIMALS.
First, we got to see some kind of owl that looked the owl from Labyrinth but I already forget what it was. It pooped on the old man’s arm while he was holding it though. And it had the same colors as my cat Penelope.
The rest of our crew had joined us by then, just in time to hear the old man play five thousand different owl sounds on his phone. Apparently, after one particular hoot, he made some off-color remark about it sounding like a woman being murdered, so Henry, Blake and Chooch were like, “OMG HAHAHAHAHA” and I was all, “WHAT? WHAT JUST HAPPENED” and when they told me, I felt like falling to my knees and screaming NOOOOoooo! Because of course when something exciting finally happens, I’m not paying attention.
I asked if the moms in the crowd were all gasping and clutching their chests, but Henry said that not a single person flinched.
Blake said the man mumbled it like he knew a thing or two about what a woman being murdered sounds like.
And the weird thing is that I was thinking in my head that it sounded like murder, as I mindlessly checked Instagram for G-Dragon updates, so then I wondered, “DID I MAKE THAT OLD MAN SAY THAT OUT LOUD!? DID I TRANSFER MY THOUGHTS TO HIS TONGUE?!” and now I know what my answer will be next time someone asks me what I want my superhero power to be, BECAUSE I ALREADY HAVE ONE.
Satisfied with the amount of owl noises he shared with his inattentive audience, the old man finally started talking about the next animal he would be showing us – A PORCUPINE! We were all like, “Fuck yeah, porcupine!”
But before bringing out the porcupine, we had to endure a long presentation of what the porcupine eats:
The porcupine finally came out but the man had him positioned with his back to the crowd and this was the breaking point for us. so we unanimously decided to go outside to the habitat even though wet snow was falling from the heavens and we all complained about freezing, it was still better than being lulled to sleep by the old ass animal lecturer.
Then it was time for the Jupiter show in the tiny planetarium auditorium thing, and even though we arrived early like instructed, we still struggled to find seats. Finally, some broad and her son offered to move over so we could all sit together and she became the hero of the day because I didn’t want to sit alone with Henry, like we were on a date or something.
Some lady behind us was laughing so obnoxiously and kept saying JONATHAAAAAAAN and Haley muttered something about hating her and I was like OMG ME TOO. It was a real bonding moment.
And then the show started, and Henry immediately fell asleep. I’m not kidding, like IMMEDIATELY. He’s so embarrassing. Haley made it about halfway through before she finally succumbed to the zzzzz’s as well, but she’s pregnant, so.
This show was called Beneath the Veil, and it wasn’t wedding porn like Henry had hoped, but it focused on the Juno spacecraft’s mission as it orbits Juniper.
OK, I might be scared to death of outer space, and learning, and sitting in the dark with strangers, but this show was good and I enjoyed it and MAYBE it was because my heart and hormones immediately glommed on to the museum guy presenting the show (even though I couldn’t see him in the dark). I felt an instant connection with his comedic timing and lowkey Trump administration shade-throwing (“You can look at more pictures of the mission on NASA.org. That website is still available….for now.” SIC ‘EM, PLANET NERD!)
The annoying lady behind us spent the ENTIRE show loudly agreeing with the museum guy’s narration, and would grunt, “MMMM HMMMM” and “YEP” every 2 minutes and I was like, “Wow, maybe you should get up there and narrate the next one?”
For whatever reason, I was crying by the time the lights came back on. I have no idea why I get so emotional.
We left right after the show, because it was finally time for MELT, and then it was time to go back home and have Chooch hound us for quarters at every rest area we stopped at, and I was like, “If I didn’t have quarters at the last one, why would I have quarters now? My pockets don’t just generate quarters” and then I spent the next 15 minutes imagining pants that build currency in the pockets, like you could just tell it, “Bake me up some won, pants. I’m in Korea and want to buy some soju” and then I started crying silently to myself because I’m just here, in dumb America.
Someone gave him quarters.
Then we got home and I realized I forgot everything we learned at the museum, except for that owl that sounded like a woman being murdered.