We went to the zoo today.  We get an annual membership because by the time 2 of us go once, it's basically the price of a dual membership.  Plus, it's a great place for Matt to take photos - we've put a lot of them on our calendar we make for our family - like this one:

These are White Cheeked Gibbons.  We made this the May picture, in honor of Mother's Day.   Sometimes, I wonder what what they're thinking of us.  With that, I give you, a day in the life of the Mother Gibbon - note, she still has the kid, but now he's a toddler.  Still clingy and dependent.


September 4, 2017
Nashville Zoo
Gibbon Enclosure

6:33AM - It's going to be a nice day - it's cooling off a little.  The Hyacinth Macaws are raising hell across the way, so I guess I'm up for the day, dammit.  They'll bring us breakfast soon, and then the people will start coming in.  It's Monday, so it should be a slow day.

8:00AM - The keeper just grumbled about having to work today, because it's Labor Day.  So, I guess it's going to be a busy day, after all.  I don't really mind - it's stressful, but the day passes quickly.

9:00AM - My husband said that the kids have all gone back to school, but since today is their first school holiday, and the weather is nice, today's going to be a zoo, pardon the pun.   He's right, of course.  The kids are kind of the worst part of it.  I mean, my little guy is a handful, but I don't have to put him on a leash.  And these kids are all getting pushed around in great big wagons and strollers.  Say what you will, my kid can amuse himself and climb trees and swing around without me holding him constantly.  I still do, because he's my kid and I enjoy it, but he's not such a little parasite.  These kids are all sucking down some sugary snack, and they're sunburned as hell, and shrieking and it gets old sometimes.

10:15AM - We just opened, and I can tell - it's going to be a busy day.  We typically don't go inside at night, and that's fine with me - I don't need fancy air conditioning, or cages.  Give me some trees, a few ropes, and I'm good to go.

11:00AM - Is there anything weirder looking than red-headed humans?  I don't think so.  They're just so bizarre.  I mean, even the orangutans look normal, but gingers, as they're called, are super creepy.  Not all of them.  But the ones that are super pale, or all freckles... what the hell is that?  A whole family of them just came in.  You just know that even if they put on sunscreen, at least two of them missed a spot and they're going to get sunburned on their ears or one big uneven swath on their shoulders.  This, to me is a clear sign that evolution will take care of them in the next few decades.

11:23AM - There are so many autistic kids these days.  On the spectrum, is the PC way to say it.  I feel bad for them.  It's like they are so fine-tuned that the least little thing knocks them off  kilter.  I feel bad for their brothers and sisters, who sometimes just look like they'd like to get through a day without their sibling causing a scene, or just a day with Mom and Dad all to themselves.  I feel bad for the parents, who look like they need a fucking break, but mostly I feel for these kids who cannot make anyone understand them.  I feel bad for the kids in wheelchairs, too.  Not the ones that have a broken leg and it's just temporary, but the ones who will spend their lives in a chair.

12:06PM - It starting to heat up.  I've already had three people try to get my attention by making high pitched noises that they think sound like "monkey calls".  Ok, for starters, fuck that.  You don't speak monkey, assholes.  Part two, I'm not a monkey.  I'm a White Cheeked Gibbon.  There's a sign.  I love the parents who inform their kids all about me like they just know everything, but they're really reading the sign.  I would love to tell these folks they're full of bullshit. The kids will figure that out soon enough.

12:42PM - Look, if you take your kid out during naptime, don't be surprised when she gets overtired and has a meltdown.  Take me as an example.  I've gone up high with my kid, and I'll let him get his nap on.  And for heaven's sake, give your kid some WATER.  Not juice,  not an Icee, not a soft drink... water.  They're all looking like overcooked hot dogs.

1:17PM - Ever since the spider monkey exhibit opened up, that's the big attraction.  We don't get as much attention.  Nobody knows what a gibbon is, but everyone knows a spider monkey.  They look like emo teenagers to me.  Like, human ones.  Dark hair in their eyes, mopey looking.  But they have a nice enclosure.  I think ours is better.  It's just the three of us.  Eventually, when the kiddo gets older, they'll ship him somewhere else, where he and a suitable mate will make babies.  It's how it works.  I don't have any fantasies of meeting my grandchildren.  Gibbons are known for their pragmatism.  You just Googled that, didn't you?  I was just kidding. We're not known for anything.

2:03PM - The keeper is out giving her talk, and as usual, nobody is listening.  So when she's done, they'll ask her questions that were answered in everything she just said.  She's a sweet lady.  She's lonely.  Her boyfriend moved to Seattle, and they're about to break up.  She talks to me.  Woman to woman.  She wants to meet someone, have a baby.  She has a little time.  I think she'll find her mate.   Gibbons are monogamous - Wikipedia says that's unusual among primates. I assume they also mean humans.  I've seen so much sketchy behavior among visitors here, I can tell you, humans are a mess.

3:19PM - It isn't just kids who meltdown at the zoo.  I've seen plenty of grown-ups do the same thing.  It's way more interesting when the adult humans do it. It's typically a couple, and one says or does something to upset the other and sometimes there are tears, or yelling, or storming off.  Those are kind of interesting.  I always wonder what happens to those couples.    Sometimes, it's an adult alone, and they're sort of wandering around and crying a little and usually, they're the ones that talk directly to us.  Like our keeper.  They tell me they're worried about a lump they found and are waiting to hear back about.  They tell me that their Mom died, or that they think their wife is going to leave them, or that their kid is on drugs.  I've heard so much.  People are kind of fascinating.  One time, a woman came back to follow up with me.  She told me the lump was benign, and that she was going to move to Kansas to be closer to her grandkids.  She said life was too short.  She thanked me for listening. With the rest of them, I have no idea how it turned out.  I like to assume they all lived happily ever after.  My mate says I'm unrealistically optimistic.  We balance each other out that way.

3:52PM - They put out a snack for us.  Watermelon.  Here's the thing.  I love watermelon.  It's cold and sweet, and it's fun to spit the seeds.  But here's the problem with it.  Inevitably, while we're eating it, some yahoo comes up and makes a racist comment.  I just wish I could say, "Oh, so clever!  No one has ever made the connection between 'monkeys', black people and watermelon.  Your mom must be so proud to have given birth to such a brainiac".  Fuck that.  I will typically create some kind of distraction, my mate or the kid will grab the melon and we'll take it to the back of the enclosure and eat it in privacy.

4:18PM - It annoys me that people think we "owe them" entertainment.  Just like everyone, we have off days.  A few months ago, I had gotten a little dehydrated, and so they kept me and the kid in for the day, and my mate hung out and didn't really do much, except worry about me.  And people were pissed that he wasn't more interesting.  Nobody every bats an eye if the porcupine spends every single fucking day in his rock cave, but we take a sick day and everyone loses their damn minds.  Such a double standard.

4:23PM - It's not slowing down.  If anything, there's sort of a frantic rush to see everything before the zoo closes.  Here's the thing - it's stupid to do anything but an annual pass if you're a local.  It basically pays for itself the day you buy it.  And you can come back year round.  So if the meerkats aren't out frolicking, come back another day.  If you didn't make it to see the kangaroos, they will be there next time.  B T Dubs - if you think the porcupines are lazy, go check the kangaroos.  That said, I am always amazed at the parents who let their kids go off the path and walk up to them.  They kick and punch and bite, and they don't have much of a sense of humor.  I would love to see one of them sucker punch a little ginger kid.  Ooh - or an Asian kid.  Their parents would get a photo and use it on their Christmas card.  Yeah, yeah - I know - but show me an Asian family that doesn't have a good camera.  That's right, you can't. Stereotypes exist for a reason.

5:03PM - Home stretch.  The girl selling frozen lemonade looks like she just wants to go home and drink heavily.  She gets the living hell stung out of her all summer by yellow jackets.  She has a shit job.  But at least she doesn't have to sell overpriced stuffed animals.  Sometimes, her boyfriend comes by her stand to visit.  He runs the carousel, and I know for a fact they had sex on it one night after hours.  The zoo makes some people horny.  I don't know why, but it's a little kinky, and it makes me laugh.

5:38PM -  So many tattoos.  It used to be you never saw them.  But even old people have them now.   And not just a heart or a small pansy on the ankle - but just tons of them. Full scenes that take up a whole arm.  So strange.  We get occasional shots from the clinic here, and I deal with it, but this is just taking a needle to your body over and over for hours on end.  Voluntarily.  If I were going to get one, it would probably read "Gibbon Take" - that's a little primate humor.  Puns are a low form of humor, you say?  Ok, fine.  But I'm a lesser ape, so relative to my station in life, I'd say I'm pretty damn clever.

6:08PM  - Lemonade Girl has counted her money and she's gone.  They're coming through and sweeping, and in another ten minutes or so, we'll get dinner.  Now, were herbivores, but I'll tell you this.  The barbecue they serve at the snack shack smells so good, I'd consider going omnivore.  But then, is a domestic pig all that different from one of the wild swines across the park from us?  No, not really.  But have you SMELLED bacon?  I mean, come on!

6:20PM - I just plowed through a heaping bowl of Purina Gibbon Chow.  Is that really what we eat,
you wonder?  If you had listened to the talk this afternoon - you'd know that I'm just pulling your leg.

7:38PM - Everyone from the day crew is gone.  The night crew is basically just making sure that nobody gets in to mess with animals.  There was a zoo in Florida, I think, where some frat boys broke in and stole a flamingo, and it did not end well.  I have nothing against fraternities in general, but I hate hearing about flamingo molestation.  They're assholes, sure.  Flamingoes are kind of like Northerners who come South and bitch about everything (you hear a ton of that in Nashville).  They are constantly bitching at each other, about the weather, about their pond - so, it's not that I have any great love for the Flying Mingos - that's what the kid calls them - but I respect the way their legs bend - intelligent design indeed - and I don't think anyone deserves to be kidnapped by frat boys.  Unless you're doing some sort of roleplay with the virgin sorority pledge and the big man on campus.  I'm rambling.  Suffice it to say, it's unlikely that anyone would mess with us, but I would fuck them up without thinking twice.  Sure, that would almost guarantee my euthanasia, but you have to have standards.

8:47PM - The kid has climbed up into the tree between me and his Dad.  We're all beat.  Tomorrow should be pretty low-key, and I'm guessing we'll nap more.  But for now, we end the day like we do every day.  We all say our favorite thing that we saw.  My mate says his favorite thing was watching a family tie their kid on a leash to the fence post while they looked at the Macaws.  My kid says his favorite thing today was playing "Fat or Pregnant?" with his Dad.  Sometimes, they'll play "Gay or Baptist"  - they have fun with it.  I say that my favorite thing today was this huge ginger family - there was a grandfather, a mom and dad, two school aged kids, and a fat baby in a stroller.  The baby's hair was plastered to its head, and the grandfather decided to park himself on a bench, and the kids were pestering their parents for Dippin Dots.  And when they finally got them, the oldest kid was being a little peckerhead, and he tripped on his shoelace, fell down, and spilled the Dippin Dots eeeeeeverywhere.  And his sister laughed at him, so the mom made them share hers, and boy was she pissed.  There is nothing funnier than a pissed off ginger.  It was great.

9:00PM - The kid is asleep.  My mate picks the bugs off my back, then I do his, and then we groom the kid.  It was a long day.  It was a good day.  I drift off to sleep to the sound of traffic on Nolensville Road.  Tomorrow will be here in no time.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lady Gibbon
Duchess of Lesser Apes
Nashville Zoo