Date #11 was not only the second Craig of my 12 Dates of Christmas, but my second set up from Janet. (She also connected me with Date #5, Bart.) When I found out we were going to the Zoo Lights at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, my first thought was, and I quote, “brrrrrrr.” Although now that we’re in the middle of January, and the daily highs are 12, or some ridiculousness like that, that night seems like it could have been a balmy summer evening.
But trust me, it wasn’t. Now I’ve lived in Utah off and on for ::ahem:: 14 years ::ahem:: and have NEVER been to the Hogle Zoo! Can you believe it? It’s actually been on my summer bucket
list book for the past few summers, but I’ve never made it. So despite the cold, I was actually pretty excited to go check it out.
Since I live in a place that’s a little bit off the beaten path (it’s not really, but if you ask my friends, they’ll tell you I live in Idaho or southern Canada), I met up with most of my dates. I mean, I felt kind of bad about asking them to take me out AND make the trek out to get me. However, Craig M. was very generous and offered to pick me up. He said it wasn’t out of his way at all.
The reality? It was very out of his way. His gesture wasn’t lost on me.
Knowing that it was going to be cold, I wanted to dress appropriately. I’m not much of a hat wearer on dates, but I thought this might be a good time to make an exception. So I went to my coat closet and found this gem:
Now I’m sure you have plenty of questions at this point, so I’ll answer them now.
1. Yes, the ear flaps DO pull down and tie for maximum warmth and comfort.
2. Yes, this WAS a gift from my grandma.
3. No, I DON’T know why my grandma thought I would use this.
4. Yes, I have kept this in my coat closet for YEARS.
5. No, I DIDN’T end up wearing this on the date.
When Craig M. picked me up, one of the first things we talked about was concerts. Apparently he is a big concert goer and has driven all over to see bands play in different cities. I used to work for a radio station back in the day, so that was pretty cool. I do love a good concert. Although, I’ve discovered that I can be an awkward concert goer. Should I sit and watch? Do I stand up and dance? Is singing along at the top of my off-key lungs appropriate? I just never know. At any rate, I love concerts just the same, so it was fun to chat about them.
The zoo happened to be PACKED that night. I mean, it was just a few days before Christmas, so I don’t know what I was expecting. So we saw tons of people wandering around. But you know what we didn’t see tons of? Animals. Apparently they thought it was cold too.
A few of the animals did have the courtesy to show up (not the polar bear though. Come on, it’s winter! Isn’t that supposed to be his season?). The bad news is that while I took a ton of pictures (45 to be exact), onlyapproximately 1.5 of them turned out. Boooo! So, you’ll just have to use your imagination.
I guess the flamingo theme from Date #3 was carried on in Date #11 too. The tunnel of lights was actually my favorite. It changed colors looked amazing.
Ok, so we did see a couple of animals. When we made our way into the reptile/monkey/random small animal house, we found warmth and animals.
Of course the pictures I took of the cute cuddly animals came out blurry, but the ones I took of snakes? Yeah, crystal clear. Blech!
Craig M. said he was a cat guy, and that was proved when this blur of a kitty-like creature walked up to the glass where he was standing. No, I didn’t get a picture of that. Thanks for asking.
Cat whisperer, indeed. In fact, he said he had a cat that would climb onto the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in the summer to keep cool, and occasionally would accidentally get shut in there. Admittedly, the thought of a cat in my house, let alone in my fridge, is kind of horrifying to me. But, good for him? [INSERT APPROPRIATE AND TACTFUL THING TO SAY HERE]
The evening wound down with a trip to the zoo cafe to grab some hot chocolate and chat. We talked about Craig M’s job, about how he lived in California for a bit, about the time he took a trip to New York, and about how he once had to kick his roommates out because they’d turned his house into a druggie hangout. So, you know, the usual stuff.
After we were sufficiently thawed out (ok, after I was sufficiently thawed out—apparently Craig M. doesn’t get cold), we headed back outside and called it a night.
Craig M. was an all-around nice guy who gave me the chance to finally check the Hogle Zoo off my bucket list. Totally worth an evening in the cold.