I’ve been told I’m a fast talker. It doesn’t mean that I’m a con, or that my tongue can get me out of tight spots. It just means that I talk really, really fast. I disagree – I know people who talk much faster than me. And I stammer when I try to speak Swa, so I don’t think my tongue is much good.
[I write pretty good Swa though, and in a previous life (read Dar), I even edited textbooks in Swa.]
But there’s something about guys who speak slowly that messes with my head. They always sound so much smarter than me, because they enunciate every word and seem to think before they speak, while I just tumble over my words. I keep wanting to interrupt them, but they look at me calmly, wait for me to finish, then proceed with their slow, quiet speech. It makes me feel so small.
And when they’re not speaking, they seem so disapproving. There are guys who look at me and I just start apologising, even if I don’t know what I did. I feel like a five year old caught stealing sugar when all the guy said was, ‘Hi.’ It’s all in the speed my friend.
The only thing that freaks me out more is men who speak softly. Whyyyy? Whyyy would you talk so quietly? It’s scary! Be like me. Yell. Get angry. Raise your voice a little. Pretty please? How do you argue with someone who smiles and whispers back at you?
End of rant. Moving on.
Some months back, we had a mummies-and-babies day at Animal Orphanage. It was three mums and three babies aged 7, 3, and 2.
I learnt some lessons that day. One, pacing isn’t just for humans. I saw lions and cheetahs pacing while waiting to be fed, so it’s not just something people do in the movies.
Two, lions really are kings of the jungle. I saw lots of animals go … well … animal … when their food was delayed. Cubs were ready to rip the guy, and one younger lion was so angry that he was more interested in the feeder than the food. He ignored the cow meat and kept stalking the guy carrying it. I don’t know how the guy kept his cool. If a lion was following me like that, I don’t care if there was barbed wire between us, I’d have pissed myself.
But while the lionesses and hyenas drooled at the fresh meat, the Simba sat regally while the food was brought and waited a full five minutes before he strolled over to the dead cow and proudly nibbled at the meat.
Three, human beings are cruel. Bad enough we put animals in cages for our own entertainment, we have to taunt them when they’re hungry too. I saw some people poking hungry cubs and getting them to roar when they’d just been fed and were obviously not full. I kept wishing one cub would scale the fence and get live meat.
Four, animals in captivity forget who they are. I’m so used to leopards hiding in the trees that it was a shock to see one actually posing for pictures. It just sat there on the podium twirling its tail and didn’t even move when food came. Usually, the leopards hide in the branches and you have to crane your neck and pull kama sutra just to see the tail.
Five, mummies are silly. To see how we were telling our kids, ‘Look, a lion! Sweetie, what animal is that? You don’t want to see the leopard?’ The kids were more interested in getting outside for ice cream, since the warden wouldn’t let them have some inside the park. Oh Mother.
I did have a moment of amusement when the leopard started stalking a tourist. It followed him all around the cage, crouching in the grass like it didn’t know we could see it. The guy tried running to the other side, or standing in a crowd of locals, but the leopard just kept following him, ignoring everyone else. It somehow decided this meat was better than a dead cow. I suspect the man was wearing Eau de Wild Flesh.
The tourist thought it was all very funny, especially since there was lots of wire protecting him, but I was just glad to know the Alex the Posing Leopard was still a leopard.
I’ve never been an activist, but somehow, after that visit, I felt really, really sad.
I have to make a decision today, for the good of my business. In my mind, I’ve already made it, but I’m scared, so I’m second guessing myself. I’ve got one client hogging all my resources, and I need to free myself to work on other projects. But I keep hearing this mind chatter of birds in hands and birds in bushes.
I need my intuition, but it’s drowned out in so much fear that I can barely hear it scream. Yet even as I type, I feel a peace and a clearing of my mind. The thing about being a writer is that sometimes it’s easier to think on a keyboard.
The song on my play list when I started was ♫ Calm like a bomb ♫ by Rage against the Machine. The next time I was actively conscious of the music, I heard ♫ Still alive ♫ by Lisa Miskovsky. I went to answer a knock, and when I got back, iTunes was playing ♫ [You deserve much] Better than me ♫ by Hinder. Three guesses to what song is playing know. I think my iTunes loves me.
♫ Woohoo ♫ Blur ♫
[Pictures courtesy of iCon. Regular programming will resume tomorrow. Thank you.]