Trip to the Safari
Tell us about a time you went to a zoo, aquarium, pet store, or animal shelter. What did you notice about the animals who were inside the cages? How do you think they felt about being there?
“When I was younger, um, my grandma lived in Texas, and I’ve been born and raised in Chicago, I’ve lived my whole life in Chicago. So with my grandma, I went to visit her, and we went to an open safari. And, I was like, ya know, I love The Lion King, I was like, all the animals are gonna be like, running rampant, it’s gonna be great, and you just drive through. And even though it’s an open safari, there’s still gates, obviously, because animals can’t interact with certain animals. But, uh, I was expecting it to just be a lot of movement, a lot of chaos, a lot of ya know, and it wasn’t. Um, all of the animals, were, uh, they were… uh, they were tired, and uh, lackadaisical, and like lazy, or what I thought was lazy, but it really was just they were… uh… Uh, If you ever go to the zoo and if you like, look in a lion’s eyes you can see like, the glazed over of just having spent its’ entire life in captivity. And I really expected like, it not to be like going to Lincoln Park Zoo, like the animals, like I was like, scared, like there’s gonna be lions like running up to the car. But they didn’t. They didn’t go anywhere near the car. They’re used, like… Even though they’re in an open safari, they’re used to, um, being, um, still trained puppets for us driving in the car. So I was really sad. Uh, I later got into like, an encounter with an ostrich, so I don’t… I don’t really do things like that. I have a huge fear of ostriches now, uh, like a really big fear. But, all I thought when I left was, um, how do… I wasn’t really as serious about writing then… But I’ve never forgot feeling so sad for so many animals that I thought were free. And it took me a while to realize that even though they’re in an open safari, they’re in an open safari in Texas, ya know. They’re not in Africa, they’re not in Asia, they’re not where they belong. We brought them here, and they were still puppets, in a bigger, ya know, they have a lot more space than they have in Lincoln Park Zoo, but um, all I felt was the sadness that I thought they felt. I mean, it could have been that I just came on an off day and they really were really excited animals, but I’ll never know. But, when I left the safari, I never wanted to go to something like – and I haven’t been to a zoo since, unless it’s been – um, I’m a… I’m a kindergarten teacher, so I’ll go on trips with my kids. But I don’t exactly, um, enjoy, like zoos, aquariums, or things like that, because I just feel, uh you’re looking at the sadness of an animal that can’t experience the freedom that you have. So, you know, they’re stuck there and you just go and gawk at them, and I think that’s horrible. And I’m not like, an animal rights activist or anything like that, but I think it’s a lot of sadness in a zoo, that I wish – ya know, it’s great when you’re a kid, but once you like, that really stuck out to me. Um, so, uh, that’s the number one thing I see, um – and it’s like the complete opposite in like a pet store. Like in a pet store, the puppies know that they’re – you’re here to get them. Like you can feel it like when a puppy is like excited and ready, like, you’re going to take me home. When you go to the zoo, they know that you’re going to leave. You probably might not come back for another year. So how do you tell that story? There’s two different types of captivity. The captivity of waiting, um, just to be. Or the captivity of waiting to go home… to some home.”