Posted on
Feb 8, 2012
Posted in: WTF

I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent person.

Oh, stop laughing. I said reasonably. Yes, I’ve hopped on trains with absolutely no idea where I was going, and it once took me three days to get to the Presidio from downtown San Francisco via public transportation (I could have made it there faster had I been walking … backwards. While blindfolded.) But for the most part, I’d like to think of myself as fairly well-read (my favorite book is Catch-22. I swear.), cultured (I speak two-and-a-half languages!), and able to carry on an intelligent conversation (so long as no one asks me how parliamentary procedure, microwaves, or gravity work).

For you doubters, here is photographic evidence of my alleged non-idiocy.

Fairly convincing, yes? For the record, both the smoking jacket and tie belong to my husband. Because I lack a proper pipe, I am sucking on a glass elephant. And since I could not find my copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, I am pretending to read the Sherlock DVD like a book. BUT STILL. You get the point.

And yet, there are times when whatever intelligence I have leaves me. It takes reason and common sense with it, jumping through a pane glass window during its escape, screaming, “I’M GOING TO INVEST ALL OUR SAVINGS IN BEANIE BABIES AND BUY RAISING HELEN ON DVD!” while running off into traffic.

Here is what that version of myself looks like:

Rand: "So ... this is going on the blog?" Me: "Yeah, why?"

There are a few things that can reduce me to this embarrassing level of stupidity. Jet-lag. A dearth of cupcakes or other sugary foods. Babies that aren’t crying. And cute, cuddly little animals.

Usually, I’m able to sleep off my idiocy or keep it at bay by eating an entire pan of brownies (it is scientifically proven that brownies make you smarter. Do not tell me otherwise). But occasionally, during my travels, I am caught off-guard, and reduced to a moronic pile of cells that claims The Black-Eyed Peas as her own personal savior.

Take, for example, the night we found ourselves walking down La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain. It’s a lovely tree-lined promenade in downtown,  surrounded by beautifully constructed buildings, little shops, and the occasional mosaic by Joan Miro.

It's also full of beautiful Spaniards.

We walked and people-watched. I caught snippets of conversations in Italian and English and Spanish and couldn’t help but feel so very worldly. I knew Spain’s artists and architects, its history and traditions. I almost knew the language.

Yes, I was feeling particularly clever and informed and intimidatingly cultured until …

I will name him George and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him.



My I.Q. promptly went down the toilet. There, in the middle of La Rambla, among the kiosks selling t-shirts, necklaces, little ceramic bulls, and other souvenirs that seemed infinitely more practical to take home, there were enough cuddly creatures to keep a kindergarten class content.

Turtles and bunnies and gerbils, oh my!

I could not understand it, perhaps due to my shrunken intellectual capacity. The animals were clearly for purchase as pets (and not, say, intended for consumption).  But really, who buys a pet as an impulse purchase?

“Honey, I saw these earrings and I had to get them. Ditto for the box turtle.”

And so many of the folks walking there were tourists, like us, and not in a position to take an animal home (mostly because our mean, nasty husbands refused to smuggle one little bunny back to the U.S. in their pants. SPOILSPORT).

Plus, really, these poor little guys could not have been happy in their cages, being poked at by hundreds of morons (for the record, we merely looked with our eyes, and not our hands).

I began to wonder if there something more sinister afoot. Were they merely distracting us with adorable gerbils so that someone could steal our wallets?

"I think someone took my passport but I don't really care because LOOK AT THEIR WHISKERS!"

After I suggested this, everyone placed a firm hand on their purses and backpacks, but we all stayed put. Yes, La Rambla is beautiful and extends for more than a kilometer. And there was much more history and architecture and outdoor art to see. But there were ADORABLE LITTLE CREATURES SO WE WERE NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

We stuck around for a while. It made everyone happy, even if it made no sense. Even if it sent all my cognitive reasoning on the fast train out of town, and I contemplated freeing all those little guys into the night while screaming, “RUN! RUN!” (which, by the way, is a very ineffective tactic on turtles).

And thankfully no one lost their wallets. Though really, at that point, you could have probably just asked for mine, and I’d have given it to you.

But I’d have demanded a bunny in return. I mean, I’m not an idiot.


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