So th’ Wife and the Golden Boy headed out to DC for some kind of Get! Pumped! For! Science! convention for kids. Leaving me with the Sadie Monster all day.
We decided to go to the Maryland Zoo at Baltimore. Because I am a skinflint, I was hoping the Sadie Monster would choose, say, a free option like the Walters Art Gallery, or the BMA. Or even the Geppi Entertainment Museum; the Sadie Monster gets in free (being under 6) although one tends to get corn-cobbed parking in the area. BUT NOOOOO!!!
The zoo ain’t bad, but I tells ya: photography is the worst thing that ever happened to the zoo-going experience. Kills ya coming and going. Every ‘interactive’ exhibit becomes a photo opportunity. Every time I let the Sadie Monster race around the corner, she finds something designed for crawling and climbing. And some pinch-faced dickhead trying to wave my little monster away for just ONE MORE SECOND, DAMMIT! C’MON, SHUTTER….UH…APERTURE…OPEN! CLOSE! MAKE A FAKE CAMERA NOISE!
I think modern parents would have a better time doing shit with their kids if they weren’t also documenting doing shit with their kids. How long’s everbody been on Facebook now? Four years? Everybody knows your kids look just like you did, way back when, you know, when we all met:
pretty goddamn funny-looking just as cute as a bug’s ear. You don’t want to keep posting photos of their adventures, especially as they get closer to their looming adolescence, do you? Pimples, blackheads, impatient scowls at the camera…why, it’s like someone wiped a slice of pizza across the monitor!
I wouldn’t say the Docu-Parents ruined anything, but I am sort of annoyed that every time I turned around in the ‘Children’s Zoo’ section some goober with an iPhone wanted the world to sit on ice while he waited for his camera app to work properly.
The Docu-Parent has a close cousin, who also serves as a ‘space-taker-upper and delay-maker’ in the zoo biome, the Amateur Shutterbug. You would think the Amateur Shutterbug is simply a more mature Docu-Parent, but I think they are entirely different species who evolved separately to take up space and annoy me at the zoo. The Amateur Shutterbug eschews digital photography, preferring clunky old analog cameras with a wide assortment of lenses, tripods, light meters — the whole torturous kit and boodle.
Why the world would need more photos of zoo animals is beyond me. It’s not like there aren’t a dozen basic cable channels devoted to animals. It’s not like there aren’t a ton of children’s books made of stock images of every creature known to man. It’s not like there aren’t a ton of photos of zoo and/or wild animals on the internet. If a person absolutely needed a picture of a speckle-throated rivergobbler, that person — provided he/she had enough ink in the ol’ printer — could summon up an image suitable for a frame from Target in about two minutes, from hitting ‘Go’ on Google Image Search to pulling the smeary masterpiece out of ye olde Ink Jet.
I think, in an earlier era, the Amateur Shutterbug which clogs up zoo footpaths would just drive out to the country with a tray of watercolors and an easel, and paint dilapidated barns, silos, and other farm structures. I think the Amateur Shutterbug just likes to do arty shit outside of doors without running the risk of getting stabbed — hence the zoo — or shot at — again, why they aren’t in ‘the country’ on the side of a road painting ‘plein aire.’