Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What a life of contrasts

I don't watch TV. I listen the best music I can get, by the best performers possible. But every so often, some bits of the crazyness outside my home reach my life.

For example, I received a lovely pamphlet from PSE&G, my electricity company, regarding the level of pollution in New Jersey. The graph doesn't make any sense! What in hell do 95%, 98%, 100% and 271% mean? Bullshit!

Here are some other examples of things that are 200% of nothing: clean coal, free trade creates jobs, clear skies, the last episode of so-called intelligent design, and this pervasive idea of persecuting anybody that does not behave like "us".

This crap reminds me of one time when I was at Omaha's zoo. There were a number of gorillas in a lexan cage (it was winter and they kept them indoors). One of them was lying down on the ground looking at people who were staring at her. There was also a woman by my side. All of a sudden, she asked me:

Do you think they realize we are here?

At first I thought the lady's brain must not have had any ECC, because clearly the lexan was transparent. My first reaction was to find a section of the rounded cage where you could see through two layers of lexan, thus proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the lexan was not mirrored on one side. As I found such a place, it hit me. That was not the question the lady had asked.

Humans suck man, they can suck so bad it's sickening.

However... if you want to see, if you allow yourself to use your eyes, amazingly, you can see.

Inside the huge cage, there is a subcage where the gorillas are fed individually. One of them, apparently a she, was eating. But... strange... she was eating very slowly, and looking to the side most of the time. What was going on? She was showing how she was eating to another gorilla outside the feeding cage, who was evidently more than furious and green with envy at the situation. This one appeared to be a him. His face was so similar to what you could see from anybody in that situation... amazing... I wish I had had my video camera at the time.

A few months later, I was looking at the caged gorillas again. This time, they had a silverback male who was having the time of his life chasing all the other gorillas down every so often. According to the plaques, this is his typical behavior through which he displays his dominance. He would also bang his huge knotted fist against the lexan, making quite some noise.

At one point, he started chasing down another gorilla running parallel to the lexan wall. I don't care the lexan is there --- the sight of this enormous gorilla running towards you makes you get out of the way.

From a more removed point of view I looked at the scene for a while. The silverback would mockingly charge every other gorilla more or less in turns. The others would move away a bit in a display of subordination. And the thing would go on and on...

I was about to leave. I was at the edge of the cage, where the lexan and the cage wall meet, and one of the persecuted gorillas came my way and sat down on a fake rock after displaying subordination to the silverback. But he looked at me. And I looked at him. He was curious. I waved at him. But he was still curious. I had my camera bag with me, and I had just put my camera away. Oh...

I opened the camera bag and started showing him my camera, the telephoto lens, the rolls... and once every few seconds, he would look back to see if it was his turn to run away from the silverback. Eventually the moment came and he ran away.

But now I was left with my open camera bag, some camera stuff in my hands, and a big ass silverback staring at me with disapproval. He was more than pissed. How had I dared entertain one of his subordinates!!! He had such a human-like expression of "if it weren't for this lexan, you would be very sorry now".

I started packing my camera feeling I should hurry up. But before I could leave, the silverback started chasing another gorilla... and as he left to perform his duties, he banged the lexan next to me with his huge knotted fist.

Exactly why is it that we think we're so superior, now? I truly think some people should be in zoos, and that we should let these creatures live in peace in their own piece of wilderness.