Aged to Perception

What the…? No, I haven’t lost my ability to spell. Hang in there with me and all will make sense in a bit.

My boys are in town visiting for about a month. Marc is almost 19, headed into the Air Force and I could not be prouder, even if it isn’t the Navy (grin). Jake is 15, going through a serious growth spurt, and is a serious sports nut. And again, I could not be prouder. Beth and I took them to LockSpot Cafe for lunch yesterday followed by a trip to the zoo. At LockSpot Marc got the sampler plate with fried cod, shrimp and clams, while Jake decided not to stray too far from Central Ohio and got a cheeseburger. Beth and I went the the fish and chips, always a winner at the Cafe. All four meals were quite tasty, as was the service. I also scored a parking space right out front which was a total bonus. The boys dug the lunch as well as being in the place that After the Catch was filmed in, as you can tell by their smiling, joyous faces. (coughs)

Next up was the zoo. Again, my luck with parking was phenomenal as I found a place right outside the west entrance. And I mean, right outside. As we were walking in, I remarked that it seemed pretty empty and that hopefully we wouldn’t run into a bunch of day camp field trips. If the trip came with a soundtrack, at that moment ominous music would have been playing. We paid, thankfully Beth had a coupon, and headed in. For those who have not been, the Woodland Park Zoo sits just southwest of Green Lake, near the Freemont, West Woodland, Wallingford sections of Seattle. Great zoo, and well worth the time. One of the newer inhabitants of the zoo are the Meerkats. They appeared to be just as curious about us as we were of them. I could have sat and watched them for hours if it were not for the (ominous music plays here again) kids shrieking at the top of their lungs. I don’t know if the children were especially loud, or if it was due to the huge numbers, or if it was just the acoustics. All I do know is that every human over the age of 15 came out of there holding their ears. As it turned out there were 4 or 5 day camp field trips going on and kids were flying around like bras at an Elvis concert. Zoos are wonderful for kids to learn about animals and what we can do to save them. They are not so well suited as a free-for-all day care. Just saying.

There is a section of the zoo devoted to the tundra of Alaska called the Northern Trail. In one of the more spectacular settings you can sit down and watch trout and river otters cavort in a stream, while watching brown bears roam. It was quiet, relaxing, and dare I say it? a bit spiritual. Deep down I have a Yin Yang thing going on with zoos. On one hand I know that they serve a greater good. They instruct others on the plight of endangered species, they allow humans the chance to interact with animals they might not otherwise see, and they offer a sort of refuge for animals that might not otherwise survive. On the other hand…it’s a cage. I tried, but I couldn’t spend any time at all in the eagle area, and the thought that the wolves are feed like household pets is… jarring to say the least. Like I said, Yin Yang.

This is all well and good you say, but what about this crazy Aged to Perception thing? Okay, I’ll explain. By the time I was 19 I had already been through boot camp, my class A school, and had experienced some pretty wild adventures. Before heading to Nuclear Power School, I took leave and went to visit my dad in Denver. I can remember feeling like I was being treated like a little kid again and I hated it. He just couldn’t see me as the man I had become, instead he treated me like I didn’t even know how to make coffee in the morning. Heck, to this day my mom still thinks I’m 12. Up until yesterday I just could not understand why they did that. Then it dawned on me as I found myself at LockSpot and looked, really looked, at Marc and Jake. I realized I still saw 2 small little boys, trying their best to understand why I didn’t live at home anymore. I know Marc has grown into a kind, understanding man and Jake is well on his way. But my perception of their ages is all a kilter. I think I understand now what my mom and dad see when they look at me. Perception of age. If only it were not just a perception.


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