Sunday I took Mariah to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (formerly known as Marine World) for her 10th birthday. After the dolphin show I saw a poster of Quilson the Porcupine and said I hoped we’d get to see him. An exuberant and joyful young lady, Mariah’s enthusiasm paled next to mine when we sat in on animal show and there was Quilson, just as cute as in his picture. It turns out they can’t shoot their quills at enemies (they’re just for display).
Also in the show was an adorable anteater, a cute coatamundi, a jittery chinchilla who shed a pile of fur on her handler, and a desert fox with gigantic ears “used as air conditioners” according to the show’s corny young announcer. He never explained exactly how they work as air conditioners, though. Do they flap them? Do they sweat? Do they just create shade? Who knows?
I was so thrilled to get to see and sketch these critters that I apparently took leave of my senses and unfortunately also my sketchbook. When I next reached for it to sketch the flamingos in another area of the park (“I thought they were extinct” said Mariah), sadly so was my sketchbook. Gone! We backtracked looking for it, filled out a form at Guest Relations, and then I just tried to focus on having fun with Mariah.
After 7 hours and 6 miles (I was wearing my pedometer) and seeing the crowning event of the day, the Killer Whale Show, we headed for the exit and the Lost and Found office. I told the woman what I’d lost and she asked me to describe the first picture in the sketchbook. I said, “I have no idea what the first picture is but I know what the last one is: a PORCUPINE!” so she handed it over and I literally jumped up and down with glee (looking pretty stupid, and not caring!)
I’ve never lost a sketchbook before and while not disastrous, it was most unpleasant, especially because I use mine not only for drawing, but also to write notes or sketch out ideas for art projects and techniques to try, and information about art events, etc.
I’ll blame it on my sensory overload at Six Flags, with no escape from the speakers placed every 20 feet throughout the park playing loud rock music interspersed with DJ blather and commercials for Six Flags (?!), the crowds, trying to find our way from one “kingdom” to another, and all the other sights and sounds of a large amusement park. They even have a jumbotron screen at the killer whale show, which displays the same show you’re watching only gigantic (with more loud music). They actually interrupt the show and play a COMMERCIAL for Six Flags and more commercials play on large TV screens around the park. Hello Six Flags, we’re already here! Why are you interrupting our fun to tell us about the fun we could be having if we were here?