Portland safari

When I left work the other day there was a tour bus driving by - for some reason our street is a must-see if you want to spot Portland landmarks like rain, a handful of coffee shops, a grocery store, and

"...here is a place that makes advertisements you know about." a tour guide minutes away from boring herself to sleep said over a loudspeaker.

Growing up my siblings and I shared an obsession with animal facts and a morbid fascination with the zoo. We went as often as possible. Summer was zoo season and if you observed any animal in captivity in the Twin Cities between 1996 and 2006, we were there, and you heard us.

"In the wild a lion this size would cover 65 miles of the Sahara a day, chasing gazelles and wildebeest." we'd tell strangers watching a lion napping next to a bowl of hamburger patties in an enclosure the size of an office cubicle.

"Look at his fur, it would kill his mother to see him like this. Good thing he's never seen his family."

"Rhythmic swimming like that is the first sign of dementia."

"Let's get an ice cream and then look at that depressed giraffe with the curved neck."

The other day in Portland the tour bus passengers looked at me with the same expression: the way you look at a polar bear in the corner of a cement room, slowly chewing on his arm.

"In the wild a writer this size would get up to eight hours of sleep."

"See how she hunches like that? Another ten years and she'll be lucky if she can stand."

"What's that in her hand? Is that just a fistful of bread? I can't watch this anymore."

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