Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lucy

I've been trying to write a big, long update about a fabulous day I had downtown with my good friend, Jo, but my heart just isn't into it. It was fun at first, but once it takes me longer than one session to write an update, I completely lose interest. I know, it's childish and mildly retarded, but those are generally two words used to describe me, so I'm going to embrace it and just let that day live on in my memory.

Just to let you know: it was fucking epic.

The Olympics are still at it, and dear god, Canada lost to the US last night, 5-3. Sooo painful. I was at work, and we brought the radio up front into the deli to listen it. It was terrible. Within the first 30 seconds, the US scored their first goal. And to be honest, I foresaw the end there. The US played really hard, and they beat us, and it was sad. Losing to any other country would have been okay, but whenever we lose to the US in anything, it always feels like a slap in the face. They're like the older sibling that we just can't beat, and we try so hard! So, a disappointing evening. The mood downtown was considerably dismayed.

Honestly, not much else has been going on. It's kind of lame. I work. I sleep. I wonder what the hell I'm going to do with my life. I worry about my future. I worry about my weight. I listen to some Radiolab. I try to write. I breeze on by.

Speaking of Radiolab (again), I am listening to the most amazing story as I write this. It's the story of how Maurice and Jane Temerlin adopted a female chimp baby just as it was born, named it Lucy, and tried to raise it as a human. And they were freakishly successful. Lucy could dress herself, use utensils, sign language, boil water and brew tea (yes! This is for fucking real!), and was attracted to human males, and was seen masturbating as she looked through a Playgirl. She could recognize emotions, and she was capable of lying. By all that counts, she was human.
But Lucy got big, and chimps get amazingly strong, so the Temerlin's decided that the experiment was over. And they pretty much dumped her in Gambia. There's a little more to Lucy's end than that, but finally, her skeleton was found in 1987, and it was suspected that poachers had killed her. Since she was always very comfortable around humans, it was likely that she approached them, and the poachers took advantage of this.

That's all very sad, but to me, the saddest part it Lucy's very life. She was a chimpanzee, and raised as a human, but she could never fully identify with one or the other. She was stuck somewhere in the middle, neither human nor animal. Now, given the level of Lucy's intelligence, I would bet money that she realized this, on some deep, primal level, and felt... I don't even know the word for it. What must it be like to realize that you are the only person out there like this. You act like them, you eat and feel and talk (almost) like them, but no matter what happens, you aren't them. The first time Lucy met another chimp, she was terrified. What did this make her? An animal that was really a human, or a human that was really an animal? Now I just can't stop thinking about what a tortured experience this would be, to be caught in between two places and belonging to neither of them. What kind of deep, internal conflicts did Lucy experience?

This is why everyone should listen to Radiolab. This episode was simply called "Lucy".

And that's all for now, folks. I'm waiting up super late for the boyfriend to come home. He was in San Diego for a week, and I actually really miss him. I thought he was coming back yesterday, but turns out I was incorrect, and he's coming home sometime within the next few hours. It's 2 am on a Tuesday night (morning?) now.

PS. An odd comment from a customer the other day.

CUSTOMER: Why, hi! How are you?
ME: Good thanks, yourself?
CUSTOMER: Great!

There was silence as I rang through his groceries for a moment, but I could feel him staring at me. Now, this was no young 20-something. He was middle-aged, fat and just overall yucky.

CUSTOMER: Boy, do you look like you're from the country!
ME: ...what? How do I look like I'm from the country? What does that even mean?
CUSTOMER: I dunno. You just look... healthy!

Goodnight, ladies and gentlemen.

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