Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Artist, San Francisco Bay Area

People Watching Animals Watching People

I went to the zoo today with Zee on a midweek outing that grew spontaneously & quickly from a walk in a new location (that I didn’t try to figure out until we were already driving), to a visit to the Oakland Zoo. It was a quick little thing. We left home 10 after 10, got there half an hour later, stayed for an hour, and left for home. We squeezed in: a viewing of an energetic bunch of gibbons, which included two young males and their mother. They were almost (almost!) as loud as my boys are at the crack of dawn as they wait to be fed their pre-breakfast snack (because they can’t wait until the normal hour of 7am for breakfast.) And we squeezed in: viewing chimpanzees, giraffes, a lion (which finally was in full view! And sitting still! And looking straight at us! Sorta (not too) up close!), and we saw… um… I think that’s it. We passed Macaws and some other pretty sounding birds that I didn’t get a look at. I can’t wait to tell Enn about the gibbons. I’ve never even heard of them before, and I don’t think he has either. And they were so stinkin’ loud. As only two brothers can be.

But really. I have two things to comment on regarding my trip to the Oakland Zoo.

1. The poor little male lion. He & his sister lioness were rescued from private ownership in Texas, where it is LEGAL to have wild cats like LIONS. And they were starving. Who? Who would keep starving lions? These people had a death wish? They are animal abusers and also misoanthropic? Why? And I’m all for not overdoing legislation, and not overdoing bureaucracy but, I guess laws come in handy to handle people like these!

2. There was this lady who I saw walking with her children as we were leaving the giraffes. I overheard her speaking with (so I thought) her daughter, something about white spots, and I thought, wow, she sounds so engaged with her daughter, and they are interacting with this very adult toned conversation. I mean, there is a way we speak to preschoolers (generally) and a way we speak with our adult friends. And this lady, well, I thought- cool! And then I caught up with her at the elephants. Still with kids (now three I notice) in tow. And she’s talking on an earpiece to somebody about how she didn’t think she’d like spending time with her kids so much, but now sees that it’s not so bad. But she wasn’t spending time with them. She was on the phone and had been for 10 minutes. And she walks on with them to the zebras across the way, taking a break from her convo to talk briefly to her kids. And then I notice one last thing. She has a nanny with her. To help her spend time with the three kids she is not spending time with.

Really?

Really.

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