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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

The Saturday before I got sick was a relatively warm day as far as winter is concerned. It was the kind of weather that makes people here head outside because it is January and they know in just a matter of days the weather will shift and there will be no sun for twenty days. And it will be cold. So cold. (Except not really, because global warming has actually made this winter the warmest winter on record). Knowing that it was going to be the kind day where we could be outside, we discussed the idea of going to the zoo. When Saturday rolled around and Michael ended up being down and out with the flu, I looked at the Cabbage and said "there's no way we're hanging around here all day in a house of ills!" The two of us went to the zoo. We packed a lunch and a backpack and marched right on into the zoo with no plan. I let the four year old be in charge of the map. 

We visited the polar bear. We sat on the floor in the new penguin house mesmerized by swimming penguins flying through the water. We had just decided to make our way to Africa when I looked up and noticed the Tropics. I said "why don't we go to the tropics first? It's right there." The Cabbage asked me what are the tropics and then I had to explain Brazil and rain forests. She didn't seem all too interested and asked me what we might see in there. I just had to mention monkeys to peek her interest. So we made our way through the tropics. As we reached the Gibbon habitat, I noticed a sign on the window: "We're sorry our exhibit is messy. We would not allow our Zookeepers to clean today" - The Gibbons. One of the Gibbons was sitting on a tree branch, it's shoulders hunched and a brooding cranky look on it's face. 

I couldn't help but laugh. I could just see the Gibbon looking at the Zookeeper's door with a squinty eye and handful of poop in one hand ready for throwing. I thought to myself "good for you Mr. Gibbon." How often have I felt like throwing poop on the next person to walk through my door to bug me about something? I think we can all relate. The Gibbon is just lucky enough to be able to act on those feelings. My next thought was "Shame on you, Zookeepers!" That sign is totally humiliating. For the Gibbons, of course. First of all, it's their house. It's bad enough that they've had to seriously move into this downsized dump compared to their original home. Now they have to put up with intruders coming in and "cleaning". OK, maybe that's not so much of a bother. It's really nice to have someone do the cleaning for you, but there are days where I'm sure the gibbons are like "leave me the f alone."  I bet they get tired of the constant bother. People tapping the glass all the damn time. Always being watched and photograph. The zookeeper is just one more aggravation.  

It was also tropical day at the zoo and all the habitats had been decorated luau style with grass skirts and leis draped over tree branches. It could be the Gibbons were just not into the idea of decorating their place in kitsch. Whatever, hooray to you Gibbons for taking a stand. Even if it meant you had to throw a little poop.