As you can see in the above photograph, one, two, three -- FOUR -- school buses pulled up simultaneously this morning at the San Francisco Zoo, depositing their youthful, hyperenergetic, Miley Cyrus-adoring cargo onto the baking pavement. One moment after this photo was taken the No. 18 bus pulled up and disgorged its own contingent of tiny children. Clearly, for anyone harboring a yen for wild, carnivorous beasties -- but not kids -- the zoo is no place to be on a Thursday during work hours. You'd be better off visiting Golden Gate Park.
Your humble narrator had a meeting on the far side of the zoo (not so far from the world's most famous sewage treatment plant not named after a former Commander-In-Chief
), making the path back to public transportation -- and civilization -- a quick cut across 30-year-old nostalgia via the zoo. That, it turned out, was a mistake.
If our young ever organize and rise up against us, the zoo is a natural place to inaugurate the revolution. They outnumber adults by a 20-to-1 clip, authority figures can be quickly disposed of at the Lion House, and those who attempt to flee will end up hopelessly lost on quaint trails that, invariably, lead to the concession stand or merry-go-round -- but not the exit.
Maneuvering among throngs of children and occasional parents -- all of whom seemed to speak in British accents -- your humble narrator became ever more hopelessly lost. With a sense of direction rivaling Wrong Way Riegels', I've been lost many times. This was the first time, however, my disoriented trek led me to a dead-end enclosure surrounded by a pack of wildebeests (unless you count that one time in Corvallis, Ore. -- but that's been legally expurgated from the records).
Finally, applying previously blocked memories of which direction I was carried out of the park following that incident at the panther cage in 1979, I found my way to the grand entrance gate. Withstanding peer pressure induced by the adorable toddlers, my 30-year streak of not eating any cotton candy remained intact.
The L-Taraval was waiting as I sprinted across Sloat Boulevard. Heading downtown, I left the zoo and entered the jungle.