Thursday, January 20, 2005


On Sunday, while Kaya and the twins were visiting our house, I was having tea and the kids were making their usual attempt to replicate the chaos that prevailed at the very beginning of the universe - before matter as we now know it began to coalesce into discrete substances that would one day comprise twins and toys, among other things - when I looked out the window (little kids don't readily look out windows, they tend to be their own world) and saw an alpha male monkey, kind of a big guy, amble into this cleared and cultivated patch of mountainside that was a mere smattering of his overall property holdings.

Being above his level of intelligence in some ways that we like to call sapience (there is some doubt as to our sapience in treetops, in addition to fundamental legal fuzziness as to who really "owns" what we call "property"), I knew that his wives and extended nuclear family, including grandkids, would soon be following, so I called Kaya and picked up the twins to look.

Kaya, already knowing about monkeys, stood staring out the big window as the marauding troupe ambled casually into the garden by twos and threes, till there were twenty or more monkeys wandering around out there looking distraught that I had gotten all the shiitake this year, that the deer had walked all over the spinach and what was worse, there were do you believe it zero onions; still, there were some old chestnuts and a couple weevily acorns for some forlorn nibbling.

It was the first time the twins had seen any non-human living thing out there in the actual world that wasn't a dog or a cat, they didn't know what to make of a red-faced, hairy horde picking up stuff from the ground and eating it just like they do; they stared out the window open-mouthed at these strange creatures walking on all fours, sitting up, chattering noisily and what not, very much like the twins themselves, the little monkeys even littler than the twins, and all covered in fur, it was clearly a watershed moment in the M and M consciousness.

There was an even bigger watershed a few moments later, when I stepped out onto the deck and in no uncertain monkey language told the big guy and his gang to get the hell out of my garden and they did so in great haste, with no backtalk.

Kaya and the twins were very impressed by this. Especially the twins. "Bob talks to monkeys," their look said, "and they do what he tells them!" Also it was the first time they ever saw me beat my chest. This will come in handy for future babysitting situations.

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