Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bruised fruit Mary.

Over time, several people have written to me saying that I treat the Monkeys like human children. I don’t take this as criticism because to an extent this is true. It is easy to see why, because often they act like children. Let me give you an example. MonaLisa, Rosita and Schatov sleep together in David’s room at night. They tuck themselves under the sheets just like human children. The only thing missing is the bedtime story. (I will get around to it). A few evenings ago, the tranquil bedtime scene was broken by a vocal disagreement coming from the bedroom. I investigated and there in full throat was Schatov, clearly unhappy and MonaLisa puffed up and ready for a fight. I don’t know what caused this quarrel but I suspect it was about Schatov wanting to sleep where MonaLisa had already chosen to be. Schatov was upset and ran towards me. I picked him up and cradled him in my arms to comfort him. Just as you would if a boy had stolen your son’s ball. He relaxed, he wanted that comfort and reassurance. That night he slept very close to me until the early hours. Then he left my room. In the morning, all forgiven, I found him snuggled up against MonaLisa. The small crisis had passed.

Mañiña is a monkey very used to constant human attention. He is very healthy and strong, plays vigorously on his ropes and swings for most of the day. Usually he sleeps in my room for part of the night. He wants the interaction with me but at the same time he loves to sleep in his own hammock. Quite often at night, he will look at me very seriously, and then his hand will touch my face. He will examine my nose and mouth with his hand. He will run his fingers over my ears. He is trying to identify me. The question is, do I treat them like children or do they treat me like a monkey?
Mañiña has one bad habit. When he has the free run of my room, he does an examination of my waste bin. Anything edible or smelling of food will attract his attention. Chances are it will end up in his mouth. He reminds me of the old women one often sees in fruit markets. You see them going around the back of all the stalls collecting bruised or substandard fruit and vegetables. I used to call them ‘Bruised fruit Mary’.

My bottom picture is of Schatov, from the set I took of the Champejak. The top one is Mañiña doing his 'bruise fruit Mary'.

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