instant gratification

30 Sep

I’ve been training at the aviary all this week. It’s nice because it’s a change of pace, and it’s also nice to actually be almost fully trained for my job. But for the past three months I’ve been sequestered away at prop (the breeding facility) and I haven’t had any contact with the visitors. Now I see why my co-workers like days at prop.

I already hate it when I hear: “Where are all the birds?”

First of all, I’m already defensive about my exhibit/animals because I’m a bird keeper. People are usually only interested in big, impressive-looking animals or cute, furry ones. Freaking mammals get all the attention.

Visitor: Are there monkeys in here?

Me: No, just birds. It’s an aviary.

Visitor: Oh. Where are the monkeys?

Me: Just go out the doors and take a left. Why don’t you try looking in the mirror. Monkeys. Always the effing monkeys.

Secondly, people just expect to walk into the aviary and have all the birds fly down, stand in front of them, and do a tap-dance. The aviary is an amazing exhibit because it’s basically an indoor rainforest with all of the birds flying free inside. It’s actually one of the best parts of the zoo because it’s closer to being in the wild than any of the other exhibits (for the animals and for the people). Because of this, in order to see birds you have to actually take five minutes of your time to stand still and look in the trees. But people would rather plow through at a brisk walk with their gigantic four-wheel-drive stroller and three unruly kids whilst talking on their cell phone and giving off the stench of cigarette smoke….and then they complain that they didn’t see anything.

But there is a select group of people that seem to, in general, be model visitors: old people. Maybe it’s because they move more slowly so they have more time to look. Maybe it’s because old age breeds patience and appreciation. Whatever it is, I’ve never in my life been so happy to see the elderly. The other morning an older couple was in the aviary for probably twenty minutes taking everything in. The woman said to me as I put out the morning diets, “This place is wonderful.”

That woman made my day.

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One Response to “instant gratification”

  1. Heather October 2, 2006 at 16:07 #

    good to see that youre already loving the aviary…..my friend always made fun of me b/c whenever i took her to the zoo i’d end up ranting about the “damn charismatic megafauna”

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