Imagine if you will, in Rod Serling’s voice, that you are in a line, a line for admittance to a zoo, a zoo in a suburban setting. You are told by the ticket checker that you may keep your drink, a drink sitting in the cup holder of a Graco brand stroller. “But,” says the attendant, “you have to throw away the straw and lid.”
There are all manner of idiocies that we endure as a matter of course in our daily lives. We rarely question them and are less likely to have the time to do so when parenting. But such is life with a three year old: your zoo experience is either filled cradle to grave with “What’s that,” “Can I have _____?” and “Is that poop?” or with near napping silence.
Silence was mostly the case yesterday, which allowed me a lot of time to pontificate on the subject of straw/lid prohibition.
At first consideration the ban seems sensible enough. Animals might eat straws and lids and I suppose they could choke on them.
I later confirmed the rationale by asking a zoo employee. “Not all of our enclosures are sealed off.” or some such was the reply. She was wary of my asking, and I got the sense that I was soon to be a “person of interest,” at least as far as the zoo was concerned.
But what is so distinct about straws and lids? What is the specific threat to our fauna? They are plastic and of a certain size. Other than that, what separates them from sticks and pebbles and other chokey things that prey might fall prey to?
From a zoo safety perspective, I really can’t say?
Is it that they are plastic? Certainly not. Once in the zoo itself, well past the guardians of soda related paraphernalia, for a mere $45.00 or so you can buy a plastic bottle filled with water or Coke or etc. The top of that bottle is well between straw and lid in size and plasticity. They can’t choke on that?
Is there something particularly attractive about the straw and lid combo that makes them irresistible to animals? Experimentation says no.
My beast could not care less.
Maybe the straw and lid would elicit a different reaction if they were separated.
It’s also not the case that the staff thought that I would maliciously attack the charges with the dangerous contraband I was attempting to bring into their confines. Were that the fear they would have surely searched the diaper bag I was carrying. And by “diaper bag,” I mean the huge backpack capable of holding a case or two of straws, no telling how many lids.
S0, the policy is to keep patrons from covering their drinks. Silly little rules like this seem innocuous enough, but they have real world consequences.
A redbud tree, or similar harbinger of spring but I’m pretty sure it was a redbud, dropped its flowering glory into my Diet Coke. It was mostly full.
Wasted. For no reason.
Is this the treatment that members of the Birmingham Zoo, members for several years I should add, should expect?
This is America?