One of our favorite things to do as a family, when the sun finally appears in the land of sog and moss, is to go to the zoo.
It happens every year, like clockwork.
A particularly rainy stretch of weather will finally break into a glorious, warm, sunny day and suddenly every Pacific Northwesterner has a pair of pale white legs peeking out from under a pair of shorts. Like clockwork.
Tans? Who needs 'em! We don our flip flops, tank tops and whatever other beach attire we can get our hands on and head into the great outdoors...in our family's case, the zoo. Because what better way to spend the first day over 60 degrees than to go watch the people - erm, I mean animals bask in the sun? Oh no, the local zoo never disappoints. Never.
The only bad thing about visiting the zoo (Unless of course you live right across the street from it, in which case - lock your windows and doors at night, you never know what might escape!) is the parking. Since we live out in the boon docks, we have no other choice. And since we are fly by the seat of our pants kind of people when presented with a foreign situation such as a sunny day, we don't always plan ahead.
In fact, we just jumped in the car and went.
That's how we roll.
So upon entering the 4th and farthest north parking lot of our local zoo (you all know the one, by the playground), we should have understood that finding a spot was going to be a losing battle. And being married to someone who gets extremely fed up with people who don't use cross walks or get in is way, I should have known that we would have been tons better off if I had just offered to drive. Ah, but what is that saying about hindsight?
Circling, circling, circling we went. It was worse than a face off in the Nordstrom parking lot. We'd see someone getting into a car, only to discover that they were just retrieving a diaper bag. My husband offered to drop us off at the entrance but I declined, vowing to stay by his side in his quest for a parking space...I'm sure that is in our marriage vows somewhere, right?
You could see his blood pressure rising.
The minute I'd spot what appeared to be someone leaving, we'd be out smarted by another car and it was not long before I was instructed to "Just sit there and look pretty, no words, no finger waggling."
Oh boy, that was hard.
We circled and circled and circled some more. I could tell that my husband was calculating who'd get what in our inevitable divorce since this was my bright idea to head to the zoo on the first sunny day we'd seen in months. Which also happened to fall on the last day of Spring Break for the entire region. Oh yes, brilliant idea!
I'm known for those.
Finally upon what had to be our 20th time around, I was done. Thankfully, we spied a mini van with it's door wide open (displaying all the lovely goodness inside...you can only imagine) and thought, Hey if we go tell those people that they're door is open, maybe we'll get a little karma thrown our way and get a dang parking spot already!
And so we did.
I located the couple who'd left their door open and approached them in line. They seemed neither thankful nor bothered by this fact, like it happens all the time, but I'd done my part...so karma? When are you going to show up?
I saw two women walking to a car RIGHT IN THE FRONT ROW. I had nothing to lose at this point and only the sanctity of my marriage to save, so I approached them.
"Hi!" I nervously said - I've never done anything like this before and I admit, it felt so wrong, going about it like this, but I was beaten down, a tragic victim of the Woodland Park Zoo parking lot, and I had absolutely no dignity left in me, not a shred - "If you aren't in a hurry, would you mind waiting for my husband to circle around so we could get your parking spot?"
"Sure," the driver said, "We'd be happy to."
And with that, the deed was done. We finally had a parking space, our kids could stop complaining and my marriage was saved. Hallelujah!
And those nice ladies? They even gave us their paid for parking ticket! Which was good until closing time, proving that once again, karma will come through in a pinch.