Our Life Has Been A Zoo, So We Went to La La Land

Guy writes in this font, Megan writes in this font. 

February 26, 2017

We haven’t had a day of pure fun since the honeymoon. Over four months in total. It’s been mostly work, little play, and plenty of hours in the PSU library since November as we both studied our hearts out for tests. Megan for the ORELA. Me, I have been studying for the Oregon bar. The Bar was this past week and what a chore indeed.

We needed to get out and do something in the most urgent possible way. Fortunately, the Portland weather was accommodating to the task. With intermittent blue skies and not a drop of water in sight, it was the perfect day to get out and realize once again this wonderful City.

And what better place to adventure than the Oregon Zoo.

Zoos always give me trouble. On the one hand, I don’t like the idea of keeping animals captive and out of their habitat for our viewing pleasure. It seems cruel, unnatural, and absurdly egocentric. On the other hand, however, I cannot deny the wonder and joy that I feel having the privilege to see animals closeup to study their unimaginable beauty. That conflict was deep and often unnerving throughout the day.

Empathetically, the Oregon Zoo seemed aware of the conflict. The Zoo owned responsibility for it actually. Accompanying nearly every exhibit were signs that spoke awareness and sought to educate the patrons on how their actions affect the animals’ habitats. This education didn’t stop at attenuated references to global conditions that are eradicating the natural lands of distant creatures. No, the Zoo called attention to local issues and provided specific instructions on how to reduce personal impact on local animals that are hurt by our invasive existence in their habitat.

The Zoo’s efforts to educate furthered my conflict by adding pride into the mix. I am proud of the Zoo for owning the responsibility of caring for animals and acting as their advocate—rather than merely seeking profit for exhibition.

This point was most clear when we finally met the new elephant habitat. With a variety of feeding centers, tools, toys, and places for the gigantic creatures to play: the elephants appeared happy, stimulated. It was obvious that people took great care to plan and provide the gentle giants with a home that would simulate their natural habitat.

Over Indian street food at Bollywood Theatre SE later that evening, Megan and I discussed the battle between humanity and the wild. Like many people, it concerns us that the human machine is destructive to the world we love. Without seeking to reach any profound conclusions or resolutions, we simply talked through the specific areas where we can reduce our impact on nature.

Let’s not forget:

Our date didn’t stop here.

After enjoying our Indian cuisine, we ventured downtown to our favorite film viewing spot: Living Room Theater. We booked our seats early online and we were set to see La La Land. We appreciate being able to reserve comfy seats, enjoy moderately priced fresh snacks, and sometimes there’s live jazz in the bar. I don’t know if it is just me turning into a big baby or the excellent films we have to choose from at Living Room Theater, but I swear every film we have seen has made me tear up. La La Land was no exception.

I am so lucky to have Guy there to wipe my tears because this one was emotional for me. I don’t want to give the whole film away, but it is a beautiful story about chasing dreams, falling in love, and how pivotal decisions are on our lives. This had me reflecting on how grateful I am that Guy is so confident about the decisions he makes. If it weren’t for that, I don’t know what would have happened to us. It’s because of his fearlessness that we are where we are today.

We talked about this the rest of the evening and into the next morning. Guy reminded me of this powerful quote from The Alchemist,

“He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

Deep into the evening we talked and thought. It was the first time in a long time that we had the privilege of not being in a rush to face time with a book. Lovely, it was just lovely.

Hooray for date nights.