Friday, November 09, 2007

You know, up until just a couple of months ago, I still completely believed that some dinosaurs had two brains.

I didn't necessarily believe that the hind brain had its own separate personality, of course, although not for lack of trying--that seems like a fantastic thing to believe, and I certainly spent no small amount of time telling myself stories about a Stegosaurus who constantly got into fights with his tail, which would act out and cause embarrassing situations that his tiny front brain would have to deal with.

The day that I found out, I was wandering sleepily through the Museum of Natural History, a place I hadn't been to in years. We had been at the bar until very late the night before, and I hadn't gotten much sleep and was already suffering from the fright that giant blue whale model always gives me. I had been talking about the dinosaurs for days, because I love dinosaurs, and for a long series of moments I just couldn't process what the sign on the cage was trying to tell me. If I could have called an emergency meeting of the Babysitter's Club I would have, but it was the middle of the day and so everyone would have been at work. Fortunately, just then, Tal called--we had tentative plans to make out in the Planetarium, a dream of mine that is still unfulfilled, and I snatched open my phone. I had to tell someone.

Tal was exactly the sort of boy you want to meet when you're only in town for a week. (He might have been the sort of boy you want to meet in general, but I was only in town for a week, so I can't say. Juliekins, did you ever see any of those people again?) He was cute and smart and funny and nice, and he spoke fluent Hebrew, a fact we learned a few days later when his cousin from Israel came to town and we all went out to drink vodka. Boys like Tal are the ones that you think of fondly in your most wistful moments as ones who maybe got away, the ones you could perhaps have brought home to mom; the ones that you think of calling whenever you're back in town. (It is one of my more useful talents that, given a town and 24 hours, I will usually meet someone worthwhile to smooch. I am often at my most charming when I'm leaving, after all.)

He had finished shooting for the day and was calling to see where I was, but I had no time for any of that because my whole fossilized world was crashing down around my ears. "I am at the museum! And! Dinosaurs didn't have two brains!" He was confused, so I tried to explain further. "They just had an extra cluster of nerves! Which is so not another brain! And...and I'm very disappointed." This made little impression on him--I guess I'm the only one that still believed that--so we made plans to make plans after my nap in Central Park and I hung up the phone and sat down on a bench, dejected.

While I sat there, a little boy walked up, pulling on his mother's hand. He stood there for a minute, mouthing the words, and then his shoulders drooped and he turned and walked away. So maybe I wasn't actually the only one left that still believed in a two-brained dinosaur.

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