Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On Wednesdays We Talk About Sea Lions

Sometimes I wonder how often I try to fit my square or trapezoidal experiences into a round or dodecahedral construct that already exists within my mind and memory, a framework that I can understand.

For instance, the first winter we lived in Iowa I frequently heard cows lowing in the distance, particularly at night.  I subconsciously, or maybe half-consciously, looked for cattle operations when driving outside of our little town, but I only ever found a hog farm.

One night, when the cows sounded particularly frantic, I wondered aloud about this deep mystery to Derek.  He looked at me, perhaps to see if I was kidding, then informed me that those were snow mobiles we were hearing night after night, not cows.  Not cows at all.  Then he probably laughed at me, I don't really remember.  I know I laughed at myself, because that is what you do when you mistake snow mobiles for cows, although it's not surprising my brain made this mistake- my growing-up place is marked by an excess of cows and a surfeit of snow-based recreational vehicles of any kind, because there is very little annual snowfall.

I'm not sure what pre-conceived notion my mind is grasping at when I hear a local daycare through the copse of trees that separates the daycare from our school bus stop, as I have never heard with my own ears a band of sea lions on the beach, just recordings of them on documentaries and on the internet.  But the fact remains that those children sound eerily like a recording of sea lions playing on a loop.

Hmm.  Maybe it's my hearing.

Although if it's school children that look like sea lions you're looking for, I'd advise you to drive by our local middle school around lunchtime, when mass quantities of adolescents are congregated outside on a batch of concrete and grass, and there is indeed barking and slapping and awkwardness-on-land galore.  It's really a little sad to think of; at least the sea lions can slip back into the ocean to shed the awkwardness.  Those middle schoolers are just kind of stuck, weird and cringe-inducing no matter what they do.  They have to grow out of theirs one excruciating day at a time.

This kind of grace not available to those in junior high.

I'd better stop talking about middle schoolers lest I trigger my own flashbacks and induce nightmares tonight.


  1. This post has made me laugh out loud several times. You have made my day!

    First I was imagining the cows riding on the snow mobiles at night, and that was hilarious to me. I bet cows in Iowa can do that.

    Then I scrolled down and saw the video of the sea lion. The audio for this video clip was a lady talking about being from Northern Michigan, and blah blah blah her cat named Todd. I laughed because I thought surely I was going crazy; it's a sea lion, not a cat named Todd. Then it became clear that my cursor had hovered over the ad to the right, the ad for cat litter, which had triggered a video about a cat named Todd. Why the video did not show itself is beyond me. Maybe it was out riding a snow mobile.

    And then, THEN, I read your paragraph about the middle school kids being like sea lions, and YES, YES, YES! That is exactly what they are like (although at a football game they are like teeming ants and cockroaches). Poor middle schoolers. But I shouldn't talk. If someone saw a group of people my age standing around, they would probably compare us to walruses.

    I will now go back to filling out the Dreaded FAFSA, but will carry with me the wonderful images you have presented today.

  2. This post made me laugh so much I had to read it out loud to Rob and Emma (one of them a middle-schooler) so they could enjoy it too :-)


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