My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Two days ago, Lauren and I went to the Columbus Zoo. It was amazing, and a singular experience the likes of which I have not had since the last time I went to see African Lion Safari down in Southern Ontario. The "zoo" at Chippewa Park just can't rival the Columbus Zoo in scope or magnitude. We did indeed see lions, tigers, and bears, as well as many other animals. It's hard to describe concisely. I could list every animal we saw, but it'd get repetitive and boring. I'd much rather just put up a smattering of the 200 photos I took; that way you could see them too! I'm just too lazy to actually upload the photos yet--I'll get around to it. Suffice it to say, it was awesome.

Today Lauren, Jessica, Michelle, and I went to the Book Loft in German Village. The Book Loft is a 32-room shop full of discounted books. When I say full, I mean overflowing with books. The corridors are narrow, and the walls are floor-to-ceiling shelves of books. The rooms have themes, different genres of books, with music playing in each room. And some of the prices are criminal. I ... I spent more money than I probably should have, and of course, now I have to pack them all.

Tomorrow my plane leaves Columbus at 9 AM, and by 4, I should be back in Thunder Bay. I just finished packing. Next time, self, pack less clothing to make more room for souvenirs. It was a very tight fit, but I think I have everything. gulp I hope.

It's been an awesome two weeks. It's one thing to talk about going to visit someone and another to actually do it; I certainly don't regret it. I've had a blast. For one thing, I needed the vacation. But living in someone else's house in a foreign country for two weeks makes you evaluate how you live your own life. I know America is similar to Canada; both are developed countries with high qualities of life. But there are differences, on both the macroscopic and microscopic levels of daily living. I have enjoyed the radical break in routine from what I consider my "normal" schedule. I've done things outside my comfort level, had new experiences, and made new friends.

Part of the most difficult part of my life--and it's difficult mostly because I make it difficult--is trying to be social without really being social. I need interaction with people; otherwise, I get lonely and melancholic. But I dislike crowds, parties, large herds of people who exude room-sized auras of interaction. I prefer smaller, more intimate groups that do not let me get lost in the psychic shuffle of the room. I hate ending up next to the potted plant. It's a nice plant, sure. But afterward, I feel unfulfilled and lonely and--well, melancholic!

So while I do need to be more sociable, I also have to try different types of sociability to see what's right for me. I'm not much of a party person. And while I did acquire a fair bit of merchandise while here, shopping is still not an expedition for me; it is a task. I do like reading, which I think is part of the reason I am strongly connected to the Internet as a medium for interaction. After all, it is through deviantART that I met Lauren, which is what led me here to Ohio, where I am now typing this thought.

Yet I digress.

This trip has not whet my appetite for further globetrotting adventures. I'd love to come back and visit again, of course, but I'm not suddenly in a hurry to go visit other places, see the world, etc. In fact, if anything, I am looking forward to an extended stay at home, with my bed, and my TV, and my books, and my friends. I want to sleep. I need to work to make money that I spent on the trip. :D This was a great break, but now I'm ready for a break from the break. A reality check, sure, but a pleasant one.

I have stepped outside the cave, my friends, and seen the source of those shadows on the wall.