Life in a Zoo

 

It was an eerie and uneasy time for us. My husband and I decided to get away and we went to St. Petersburg to stay for a couple of days. The first day was bathed in the warm sunlight of fall, and was perfect weather for touring Zoo Tampa, where we had never been. We had watched the care of the animals on TV and thought it would be fun to become acquainted in person.

Aside from the sunny day, however, much of our visit seemed somehow off. We were hungry when we got there, so we went into the cavernous café near the zoo entrance near noontime. Hardly anyone else was there. Everyone was masked up when they weren’t eating.

When we started touring the zoo, one of the first enclosures had a single tiger in it. We watched as he paced from side to side in one portion where there were rocks for him to walk on. I wondered if his behavior would be considered normal. Later I asked a staff person about it, and she said he was probably waiting for his meal. Maybe so.

As we made our way around, the surroundings were quiet. Mostly mothers and small children (pre-school age) were walking around. The children all seemed well behaved, as if at one level they were participants in the emptiness of the zoo and absence of sounds. Few seniors were walking around.

A few enclosures only had one animal; the okapi was one of those. We watched him as he stood in a corner, alone, not moving. We wondered if there was an absent okapi, or this animal preferred a solitary life. The communal animals we noticed were various breeds of primates, penguins, and elephants. In one large enclosure, there were several monkeys; they seemed determined to harass one of their own until he finally found sanctuary.

Today, most zoos provide habitats that resemble the natural habitats of the animals. Most of them also work on the conservation of endangered species. At first, their efforts seem noble to save the disappearing animals of the earth. But then the animals must give up their freedom for a greater cause.

* * * * * *

After we left the zoo, we talked about our reactions and realized we had almost the same experience. But we couldn’t figure out why. And then it hit us.

We were watching a shadow of our own lives.

We are trapped in an environment that is not of our choosing.

We are subject to the stress of limiting our travels and exposure to the virus.

We often feel the isolation that so many people feel, even though we have each other.

Of course, although lockups threaten the lives of many, we still can unlock our front doors and step into the sunshine.

Right?

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  1. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Thanks for depressing me even more.

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Welcome. I’ve been here for a dozen years.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    iWe (View Comment):

    Thanks for depressing me even more.

    Then again, some people paradoxically benefit from having their state of mind acknowledged. It helps to know in a strange way that they aren’t alone, that others are struggling, too. You and I, @iwe, know that (I think!) our depression will pass over time; that life will take on a sense of normalcy in some ways.

    I don’t want to depress people; I just want them to know that if they participate on Ricochet, in some ways they are never alone.

    • #3
  4. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    In a previous post detailing my experience with Covid positive friends, I commented that six months ago I felt like a rat in a maze. And now I feel like a rat in a medical experiment. 

    You said it better 

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Annefy (View Comment):

    In a previous post detailing my experience with Covid positive friends, I commented that six months ago I felt like a rat in a maze. And now I feel like a rat in a medical experiment.

    You said it better

    I’m not sure about that, @annefy. There are plenty of good metaphors around, like yours. Thanks.

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I don’t want to depress people; I just want them to know that if they participate on Ricochet, in some ways they are never alone.

    That  makes me feel better.

    • #6
  7. Maguffin Member
    Maguffin
    @Maguffin

    I can see it now:

    “See the curious conservative in his/her/zer native habitat!”

    “As these conservatives have been hunted, their numbers in the wild have dwindled. We zoos are the only thing standing between them and extinction.”

    Not re-education camps. Zoos.

    I’d like to think I’d be one of the monkeys or a cute otter, but I’d be one of the water buffaloes.

    • #7
  8. PHCheese Member
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Did you watch the lemmings while you were there?

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Maguffin (View Comment):
    I’d like to think I’d be one of the monkeys or a cute otter, but I’d be one of the water buffaloes.

    Your chances of survival would probably be better as the water buffalo; cute won’t help!

    • #9
  10. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    I am retired and my wife of 48 years and I get along very well. We live on a country road where I can walk the dog for 2+ miles without seeing anyone, so the Covid Shutdown hasn’t had much impact on our daily lives.

    On the other hand, my heart aches for all the small businesses and restaurants in the little towns near us. We have done more carryout in the last 9 months (with bigger than usual tips) than ever. We are even getting a pre-made Thanksgiving dinner from the local ‘fancy joint’. 

    I hope our little bit helps.

     

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    WillowSpring (View Comment):
    I hope our little bit helps.

    If everyone did a “little bit,” I’m certain it would be a big help, @willowspring.

    • #11
  12. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    WillowSpring (View Comment):
    On the other hand, my heart aches for all the small businesses and restaurants in the little towns near us. We have done more carryout in the last 9 months (with bigger than usual tips) than ever. We are even getting a pre-made Thanksgiving dinner from the local ‘fancy joint’.

    We have been doing a lot of that sort of thing, too.

    • #12
  13. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    The left wants us isolated like zoo animals alone in their enclosures. My guess is they want to desocialize us the way we are in order to resocialize us in the way they want us to be . . .

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    The left wants us isolated like zoo animals alone in their enclosures. My guess is they want to desocialize us the way we are in order to resocialize us in the way they want us to be . . .

    I think you are right. I’m poorly socialized to begin with, so I wish them luck!

    • #14
  15. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    The left wants us isolated like zoo animals alone in their enclosures. My guess is they want to desocialize us the way we are in order to resocialize us in the way they want us to be . . .

    I think you are right. I’m poorly socialized to begin with, so I wish them luck!

    You’re satisfactorily socialized, Susan. Though I’m probably a poor judge – being anti-social and all. 

    • #15
  16. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Jurassic Park with the Progressives on the other side of the high electric fences and behind bulletproof glass. And just like in Jurassic Park, the unanticipated will happen and the Progressives will be amazed and surprised.

    • #16
  17. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    iWe (View Comment):

    Thanks for depressing me even more.

    That is so sad – but a very good observation. 

    • #17
  18. Weeping Member
    Weeping
    @Weeping

    Maguffin (View Comment):

    I can see it now:

    “See the curious conservative in his/her/zer native habitat!”

    “As these conservatives have been hunted, their numbers in the wild have dwindled. We zoos are the only thing standing between them and extinction.”

    Not re-education camps. Zoos.

    I’d like to think I’d be one of the monkeys or a cute otter, but I’d be one of the water buffaloes.

    I’d be one of the hippos. I’d dance about as well as one of them too.

    • #18
  19. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Since the first stay-at-home orders were issued in March, I have refused to be locked down. I got in my car and drove up to the Skagit Valley to see the scenery. Since I was working in an essential industry, I went to work at our factory every day. We have done a lot of takeout meals, and we get in the car and drive down to our local Chick-Fil-A to get takeout. We grocery-shop as normal, take drives when we want to. The local restaurants were open for inside dining for exactly four weeks before the Dictator decreed that they be closed again. Last Friday, I met my best girlfriend at our favorite place for a drink in the afternoon-they had been open exactly two weeks before they were required to close again. This is disgusting, and evil. The waiter said he was so glad to see us again! It made me so sad when they had to close.

    I changed the tagline on my blog back to “Defy Tyranny. Break the Lockdown”. If we can get over the mountains, we will drive 250 miles to Kennewick to eat at Koko’s Bartini, the restaurant that has been in the news for refusing to close for inside dining. They ask patrons to bring a protest sign with them, and I will make one.

    • #19
  20. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Since the first stay-at-home orders were issued in March, I have refused to be locked down. I got in my car and drove up to the Skagit Valley to see the scenery. Since I was working in an essential industry, I went to work at our factory every day. We have done a lot of takeout meals, and we get in the car and drive down to our local Chick-Fil-A to get takeout. We grocery-shop as normal, take drives when we want to. The local restaurants were open for inside dining for exactly four weeks before the Dictator decreed that they be closed again. Last Friday, I met my best girlfriend at our favorite place for a drink in the afternoon-they had been open exactly two weeks before they were required to close again. This is disgusting, and evil. The waiter said he was so glad to see us again! It made me so sad when they had to close.

    I changed the tagline on my blog back to “Defy Tyranny. Break the Lockdown”. If we can get over the mountains, we will drive 250 miles to Kennewick to eat at Koko’s Bartini, the restaurant that has been in the news for refusing to close for inside dining. They ask patrons to bring a protest sign with them, and I will make one.

    We have continued on as normal, we get together with daughter and family and friends 2-3 times/week. Went on a lovely long weekend for wine tasting and dining in the central coast.

    Been on a road trip to see son #3 and his family in AZ and another to Austin, TX where I helped a friend move.

    Spent the 4th with my brother and sisters, as usual, in Utah

    Regardless, seeing my grand daughters in masks weighs on me, though I’m delighted they’re in school. Worried about grand daughter #3 due in March.

    Son in law is putting up the Christmas lights tomorrow. I’ll be grateful for the cheer

    • #20
  21. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Since the first stay-at-home orders were issued in March, I have refused to be locked down. I got in my car and drove up to the Skagit Valley to see the scenery. Since I was working in an essential industry, I went to work at our factory every day. We have done a lot of takeout meals, and we get in the car and drive down to our local Chick-Fil-A to get takeout. We grocery-shop as normal, take drives when we want to. The local restaurants were open for inside dining for exactly four weeks before the Dictator decreed that they be closed again. Last Friday, I met my best girlfriend at our favorite place for a drink in the afternoon-they had been open exactly two weeks before they were required to close again. This is disgusting, and evil. The waiter said he was so glad to see us again! It made me so sad when they had to close.

    I changed the tagline on my blog back to “Defy Tyranny. Break the Lockdown”. If we can get over the mountains, we will drive 250 miles to Kennewick to eat at Koko’s Bartini, the restaurant that has been in the news for refusing to close for inside dining. They ask patrons to bring a protest sign with them, and I will make one.

    Go, Rushbabe!

    • #21
  22. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Did you watch the lemmings while you were there?

    No need. We’ve already got the network news and the White House Press Corps. 

    < Sarcasm… cynicism…you know the thing!>

    • #22
  23. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    The left wants us isolated like zoo animals alone in their enclosures. My guess is they want to desocialize us the way we are in order to resocialize us in the way they want us to be . . .

    I think you are right. I’m poorly socialized to begin with, so I wish them luck!

    You seem pretty sociable at the Pre-cruise Meetups!

    • #23