Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Unexpected View

At five o'clock this morning, I woke up feeling funny, stuck in a giggly fit of laughter.  The memory of a moment we experienced yesterday at the zoo popped into my head and sent me into a snorting cycle of gasping for control hysterics, doubled in a ball of shaking hilarity. I kept telling myself to settle down, it wasn't really that funny.  Richard lay next to me wondering what was so entertaining.  Without joining in my laughter, his response was to dryly agree, "yes, I did overhear that. It was funny."  I guess at five am laughter like that is not contagious.  I'm sure you won't laugh either, as it would be too difficult to replay the moment as it actually happened in real time. 

Elliot and I sat down on a large wooden crate, glad for a place to rest and enjoy the experience of observing a group of chimpanzees.  While we observed the enclosure, we listened to the comments of the older couples that were sharing the small glass viewing area with us. Being suddenly aware of our fellow observers, I looked around and realized that we were taking up a lot of room as we sat on the crate. I moved our water bottles and scooted closer to Elliot.  Soon after making more space, one of the women came over to rest beside us.  A few seconds later, we all enjoyed watching the group of chimpanzees as they came very close to the glass. Someone mentioned that all the chimps sat with their backs facing us. 

And then Elliot and the rest of the group got a very intimate look at the backside of a chimpanzee.  One of the eldest chimps in the group stood up to expose a very saggy, wrinkly dark pink behind.  It drooped like a sack of loose pantyhose. It was a startling, alarming sight to an eight year old who is sensitive.  In an audible voice, he said

"Uggh!  How did that happen?"

And the woman behind me dropped a grape she was eating.  We heard her surprised chuckle, more like a guffaw, as the grape rolled in front of our feet.

I mumbled something about the natural process of aging, and we made our way out of the viewing area.

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