Observations at the Zoo

“Look Mommy, a real cowgirl!” a little girl pointed at me as we walked by. I could have told her I wasn’t a real cowgirl at all – I’ve only ridden a horse a few times in my life. I don’t round up cattle, work on a ranch, or exhibit rodeo-worthy skills. I happen to enjoy looking like a female outlaw, that’s all. It inspires me to be a tough gal. Instead of correcting her I just winked and tipped my hat.

“Sound off, I said SAY-OUND…off!” a white trash-esque woman hollered at her kids. “Git over here right nayow!” She stomped around with a stroller and made sure she was louder than anyone else around so they would know who’s boss. Up ahead of her, a freakishly tall man with dark, coarse hair and an anorexic body was telling a story to his fat little friend. Fat little friend kept stealing glances at the warthogs nearby. One of them flapped its tail, stood stock still, and peed in the mud. I waited for it to fart, but to my disappointment one never escaped.

A young lady and her boyfriend stood side by side in front of the red panda exhibit. Both cute and tattooed, they looked like a nice pair. He played with his fancy camera while she observed the fuzzy red creature inside. “I wonder what that panda is thinking right now?” she pondered. “He gets to experience the same trees, rocks, and surroundings day in and day out. Must be terribly exciting if they add a new element in the cage.” Her comment made me think about my cubicle at work. The entire floor, actually. Same taupe walls, same shitty 80s artwork in cheap frames, same awful coffee. On the floor below where IT works, last year they put in a bunch of new retro furniture in bright, cheerful colors. Their workspaces were replaced with hip, modern desks. It stimulated creativity and made for a more exciting workplace. But up on the fourth floor where I resided we were still stuck with the same old blah.

I entered a large cage with a path winding amongst grass and little trees. We were given a small cup with nectar for the lorikeets to feed on. Lorikeets are petite, rainbow-colored parrots. We were to hold our arms out and wait for the birds to come to us – and come, they did. A couple landed on my hat and two more on my arm. They took turns dipping their beaks in the nectar. I could see their little tongues shooting out to consume the sweet juice. When they were done, they stared at me with their beady bird eyes, sizing up the “cowgirl.”


A penguin bobbed happily in the water while other penguin friends waddled to the water’s edge and dove deep, bursting through the blue. Another one stood to the side and seemed to be posing for everyone. Its flippers were spread wide as if it wanted to hug something.

More people were watching the animals through their phones than with their actual eyes.  I’m guilty of this sometimes. Trying to think why we do this – we’re afraid we won’t be able to recall the memory so we need to capture it? We need to share how exciting our lives are to others? Don’t get me wrong, I think photographs and videos are wonderful, but it seems to be consuming everyone these days. Take the time to put down your device and just enjoy the moment.


11 thoughts on “Observations at the Zoo

  1. Very true that last point, and interesting to me, I have a weird theory! Its very odd, and I haven’t worked it out yet, but something like to do with time travel – people are enjoying things in the future, or trying to, but not accepting you can only really enjoy something in the present, and that thereby one changes naturally as a result of experiencing in the moment, rather than attempting to postpone moments and no experiencing properly – very odd! I think TV is probably bad too, and cameras in general, but film is worse than photos!

    I wonder what colour your hair is currently? Get any tips off the parrots for your next makeover?? 😀 xx

    • I’m all for time travel but there’s nothing like enjoying a pure, joyful moment. 🙂 Let’s all go back to being cavemen. Ugg!

      My hair isn’t that exciting. I’m trying to grow it out super long, and in order to do that I’m not dying it crazy colors for a little while which involves bleaching. Google “Xmen Rogue” and that’s pretty much what it is now except mine is more brown instead of red in the back. After a while I’ll go back to blue.

      • Thats got to be a good look, I think a cat suit would like totally do it for me – LOL (omg) like “Thud”

        Yah, I was out saturday night, didn’t take my camera, was having a good time, and just thought aha, out with the phone for a few quick photos – can’t resist it! Gotta show my friends who couldn’t be there – nowt wrong with that of course, its good to share 🙂

      • A cat suit? Wolfgang wears one every day! They’re the best. 🙂 Yeah there’s a time and a place for pictures. Sounds like you nailed it. I had to take a selfie the other day wearing an 80s vintage romper.

  2. Loved this one… I thought all the descriptions were great…(did you think them out much?) kinda couldn’t help but visualize it all. How it started was cool too I thought. Cheers! Much needed diversion.

    • Thanks a bunch. 😀 No I didn’t spend much time on this one – just wrote it at work when I had some extra time. Little kids give the best “compliments” but they can also be brutally honest.

  3. Oh, this is good, Lauren. I could visualize the trip through the zoo and see all the sites. You might be the only person I know that would understand my deep disappointment in the warthog’s lack of showmanship. I mean really, who pees in the mud without farting. That’s so lame. It’s like an exclamatory sentence without punctuation. 😀 Love the Atlas beetle tat. I was trying to visualize it and then poof, there it was. Nice. If it’s life size, that’s a big bug. Now I’m compelled to watch Youtube videos of Atlas Beetles and learn more. And the blue headed Lorikeet, he’s got the look, doesn’t he? The animals and the humans were equally entertaining, no doubt. I’m also finding myself more and more captivated by my smartphone. It’s making me dumb. Just read a text from me sent from my smartphone. That thing makes up words for me that I would never think of. Unfortunately, nobody has a clue what my phone is trying to say and they hold me accountable for what my phone does. We just have to get beyond that if we’re going to thrive as a smartphone-centric civilization. Great post! It just made my day. Now I can’t stop smiling. 😀

    • Bahaha! That warthog’s mother skipped an important lesson. That pic of the Atlas beetle doesn’t do the tat justice. I’ll have to post another pic sometime. And yes! Big bug indeed – can you picture one of those flying around and landing on your shoulder? You should, I just watched a nature show last night that had a short Atlas Beetle feature. They belong to the Rhinoceros beetle family. The males use those horns for fighting over females.

      I was reading some writing tips recently and one of them was to treat your texts like you would with a piece of writing. Edit before you send, make sure it sounds intelligible, etc. That being said, yes, most people aren’t going to do that and it’s just something to accept in this day and age.

      Thanks for another lovely comment! Always a nice mood booster.

      • LOL! My mother didn’t skip any lessons it was just I couldn’t overcome my impetuous nature. How my poor mother must have suffered we me around. I think if one of those big boys landed on my shoulder and tried to horn me, I might have to get on the radio and call for a danger close fire mission. I can’t imagine the dance that would motivate me to try. I know the kids in some of the Asian countries buy them and fight battles with neighborhood kids just like Pokemon battles. You want to see a kid cry, just watch his $100 beetle get waxed on the battlefield. Yes, I’ve given up on autocorrect and do it myself but dang it, I always get burned when I text in a hurry. I get a lot of ?WTF? replies. I’m so happy you don’t feel stalked by my epic bloviations. Comments are my favorite part 😀

      • Comments are where the magic happens! I would rather a real Atlas beetle land on my shoulder then continue to deal with the brown recluse spider infestation in my apartment. I’ll be moving out in about 2 months. Can’t wait. It’s been hard to sleep thinking every little itchy feeling could be an eight-legged nibbling spider.

  4. Exactly. I am guilty of at least taking my phone with me everywhere if my Canon is at home but then again I start to ‘forget’ about that tiny thing in my pocket. Learned to forget again 🙂

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