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2007-08-13 - 10:47 a.m.

We went to the zoo in DC yesterday. I didn't think I was going to enjoy it, but I did. I like the big cats a lot. I saw their tigers up close, and their lion, for hours, did these amazing roars that you could hear from far away. A teenaged girl, next to us, said, "That roar does things to my insides."

Earlier, we were watching the grey seals do laps in their pool. My girlfriend knows everything about every animal. She knows the difference between marmasets and tamarins, for example. We were quiet, just leaning on the steel rail, looking down at these big seals do laps, swimming on their backs. It was nice. And then a family came up to the rail next to us.

"What's that?" a young black boy, about six, asked.
"That's a fish!" an older woman said. She was missing most of her teeth. She wore a baseball hat and was holding a giant lemonade. She was a jolly sort of big lady.
"A fish!" said the boy.
A young man, about twenty, poked between the little boy and the lady. He looked into the tank. "That's not a fish," he said.
"Well, what is it?" the lady asked.
"A mammal."
"A mammal!"
"Yeah," the young man said. "Seals are mammals."
"A mammal!" the little boy said.
The lady shook her head, sipping from her lemonade. She smiled. "Well, you can call it a mammal, but it's really a fish." She winked at the little boy and then at me. I realized I was staring at her. She seemed to be having the best time of anyone I'd ever seen at a zoo, ever. I was a little jealous of her.
The little boy laughed. She laughed.
"You cut it open, it all eats the same on the inside," she said.

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