Why is it that going to the same old places seems like a special treat when sharing it with someone for the first time? While our friends were visiting after Christmas, we took them on a whirlwind tour of the Tennessee Aquarium.
I haven’t been to the aquarium for a few months now, but I really thought I’d seen everything there was to see there. Yet, seeing it with someone new always makes me look more closely. I go into the experience with nervous anticipation–I want my friends to be wowed. I want to feel the pride of a “native” about the really cool things my chosen town has to offer. I don’t know if this is because, in part, I feel guilty about having moved away and I want my friends to understand what is so attractive about this place. But, honestly, I felt the same way taking visitors to interesting places in Columbus. I don’t know what it is about a town that makes a person identify with it. Is it just the desire to show someone a good time? Or is there really some underlying insecurity that makes me feel like if they think the aquarium is lame, I’m also lame because I love it? I think about going out to eat with people who recommend a restaurant and choking down barely edible food with a smile because I like these people and I feel like it would somehow be a personal insult to them if I admitted that I hated food they loved. What I don’t quite get is why we care (excuse me for presuming I’m not the only one who does). Some people prefer chocolate ice cream while others prefer vanilla. It’s not a comment on someone’s value as a human being. Yet, it’s so much more fun to share something with someone when they really enjoy it than when they just fake it.
I’m happy to report Georgia and George genuinely enjoyed the aquarium–they made it more fun for us, too. Their fascination with the floating jelly fishes made me appreciate the jellies all over again. Their enthusiasm about the river and ocean tanks made me see it like it was the first time. Georgia’s willingness to touch a sturgeon had me dipping my arm into the tank right along side her. They don’t have scales like other fish–they feel very smooth.
We also caught part of a Ranger Rick show that featured a bird I’ve never seen before–a Trumpeter Hornbill. For those of you who do not remember Ranger Rick, he was a cartoon raccoon and the name of a children’s magazine about nature. The aquarium has Ranger Rick shows for children, but I didn’t see many kids in the audience. The most amazing thing the Hornbill did was catch a grape in mid-air that was tossed just a few feet in front of it. They need better lighting for photos, but it was still pretty cool.