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Sunday 1st April 2007

I spent the sunny afternoon with friends looking round London Zoo. The last time I came here was with number 27 as part of my dating marathon, three years ago. I wonder what 27 is up to now. She never calls. Though to be fair, that doesn't particularly mark her out from the other 49. Why do these women all find commitment such a problem? The 50 idiots.
It was nice to be back, if only because I got to see my beloved okapi again. She still looks as good as ever (I am making out it was definitely a female okapi, because I don't want to look gay. Imagine what people would think of me then) and as I was pointing out her spectacular rear-end to my companions, the okapi flicked out a long and impressive tongue and gave her own hind-quarters a lick. If I hadn't been truly in love with her before, I was now. I had to sit down for a while. What a girl!
Having been on safari since my last visit here, it was a less impressive experience. Having seen giraffes cantering across the African plains means that seeing one shut up in a big barn is a little sad. However I did get to stand two feet away from a sleeping tiger and make fun of its furry testicles, which isn't something that I could have done in Africa. There was a glass partition between me and the tiger, but it was still scary. It's a tiger. It could cut that glass with its tiger claws as easily as if it were paper (the glass, not the tiger. Who ever heard of a paper tiger?)
Earlier in the day at the gorilla enclosure, one of the big apes had smashed himself against the glass and made everyone jump and laugh. It was funny in a way, though one wonders how frustrating this life must be for the animals. Also I was sort of rooting for the gorillas. I'd quite like it if they managed to smash through the glass and punch a few of the gawping human idiots in the face.
How would you like it if an alien captured you and took you back to its planet and locked you in a cage with some people you didn't know and then fed you and made you have sex as much as possible?
Not a bit, is the answer you're looking for.
Being at the zoo is a bit like being at an art gallery for me, in that it makes you start looking at the world in a different way. I spent a lot of my time looking at the other people in the zoo and thinking how much like animals we all are, for all our pretence of being something different, or better. Babies particularly, become fascinating to observe, perhaps because they have not yet learned to hide their natural instincts, or possibly because there is something a bit freaky about them, or maybe it's just because they are small. I think if they locked a few babies up in a cage and let them get on with it, that that might be one of the most popular exhibits at the attraction (possibly also one of the least popular, a few people might complain, but who wants to listen to the complainers? Let the majority decide. Feral Baby World would be a smash. You could just put any kids that got lost or left behind by their parents in there. And once they got too big to be cute anymore you could either use them for food for the other animals or train them up to be zoo keepers (but if they didn't prove to be very good at that, they'd get used as food. It could be a daily show, the toddlers released into the tiger cage to see who comes off best in the battle between big cat and child.) I am sure it would get people through the turnstiles.



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