Friday, November 16, 2012

Time I’ll Never Get Back

So as you know my friend SB was here on a visit from Colorado last weekend. She enjoys historical yet touristy things: tours, museums and the like. Sure, there are plenty of those kinds of things to be found in Boston, but it was the weekend. I would have Handsome with me. Indeed, I wanted to take him out to Boston for some kind of outing… but what would I find that would be suitable for both Handsome and SB?

Well, I did my best… and here’s the story:

The New England Aquarium, I thought. How could it miss?

The main exhibit, for those of you who may have never been to the New England Aquarium, is its central tank, and I’m going to do a little Wikipedia rip-off here to help you understand what I’m talking about and, lets face it, make my job easier!

Located in the central open atrium of the main building, the principal feature of the Aquarium is the Giant Ocean Tank, a cylindrical 200,000-US-gallon (760,000 l) tank simulating a Caribbean coral reef. This tank houses sharkssea turtlesstingrays, eels, barracuda, and many smaller reef-living fish. Open at the top, the concrete tank is surrounded by a walkway that spirals down, allowing visitors access to 52 windows that offer views of the reef from every angle and level.

Now this is a very cool thing. It is truly amazing to look at these animals from every angle and to see them in such a realistic representation of their natural environment and I was counting on it to be a hit for young man and grown woman alike. It was, I thought, perfect.

Perfect. Yeah... sure.

So we took the train into Boston, the T having a Blue Line stop right there at the Aquarium. We crossed over to the Aquarium proper and got in the admission line. Said line was, I noticed with some satisfaction, not even very long. This day was looking better and better... until we got to the actual front of the line.

"Sir, are you aware that our big tank is closed and undergoing renovations?"

At her words I felt certain portions of my anatomy shrink up like there was a very cold wind and I seemed to feel Murphy's Law tap me on the shoulder, but I managed a somewhat feeble "What?"

A sigh. "Sir, are you aware that our --"

"I heard you, but what does that mean? Are you still open?"

"All of the animals are still here, sir, they're just spread out among the other exhibits. To make up for the lack of the large tank we are giving out free tickets to the IMAX show across the way. What show would you like to see, sir?"

I checked the small show poster in the window.

"Uh... Whales and Dolphins?"

She handed over the tickets with an "Enjoy the show" that sounded a little more like "Move along, doofus, you're tying up the line".

I moved along, so as not to tie up the line, then explained the situation to Handsome.

"The big tank is closed?"


"I don't want to go to the movie. It's not a fun one, it's like a school thing."

"You mean it's informational."


"Well..." I thought about SB, thought she might enjoy the show, and it was in Super 3D after all. "Let's try it, okay? It's free, so if it's too boring we can just leave, okay?"

He agreed and we were off to see the fishes. We saw a few of the exhibits, then made our way over to the IMAX theater for the 1:00 show. The boy got his popcorn and a drink and we all took our seats in the theater.

"Now remember," I said to Handsome as we sat down, "if it's too boring we can just leave, alright?"

He nodded, already shoving popcorn into his mouth. I settled back in my chair and the movie began. There were whales. There were dolphins. It was all in a terrific 3D effect.

That's just about all I can tell you because I fell asleep almost immediately. Out cold. Sound asleep. I may have been snoring up a storm, I have no idea.

I awoke just before the movie ended, SB on my right, Handsome on my left, and just hoping to God no one had noticed me sleeping. Handsome, I noticed, was looking none too pleased when the house lights came up, and I cast about for something to say to head off any scathing remarks he might make, such as 'I told you so'.

"Well," I blustered, "that was... uh..."

"An hour of my life I won't be getting back," finished Handsome in a voice as flat as a pond on a dead-calm day. It was so adult sounding, so flat, so saying 'I told you so' without saying 'I told you so'... I burst out laughing. I laughed so hard a woman leaving the theater asked them if I was okay.

The rest of the day was terrific.

I love that boy.

Talk to you later!

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