How to Behave Like an Animal at the Zoo

Today’s post comes from Verily Sherrilee

One of the places that Young Adult and I like to visit together is the Zoo. We like all kinds of zoos and animal parks, but our favorite is what I still refer to as “the new zoo”, meaning the Apple Valley Zoo. Even as a small child, YA loved the zoo and was always well behaved as well as pretty flexible about changing schedules, mealtimes and even nap time.  I wish I could take credit for her great behavior, but I think it was all about her!

Unfortunately many babies and toddlers aren’t up to a long hot day at the zoo. I feel a lot of sympathy for these families that are melting down and I stay out of everybody’s business. Nobody needs a stranger telling their children how to behave.  I even keep my mouth shut when people nearby are spouting nonsense like when we were standing at the moose exhibit and the woman next to me said to her child “Look at the reindeer.”  (I’m not making that up.)

ZooBehavior2

So it surprised me when an adult started knocking on the glass of the Amur Leopard enclosure and I immediately turned and said “Don’t do that!” in a loud voice. It just flew out of me and when he immediately said “OK” I felt bad that I’d been so quick and loud. Then he turned to the group he was with and groused “There aren’t any signs saying not to do that” in a voice just loud enough that it carried over to where YA and I were standing. My bad feeling evaporated immediately and my behavior started to circle the drain.  As we walked out of the area I said “What kind of ADULT needs a sign to keep him from knocking on the glass and disturbing the animals?”  Of course I raised my voice for all to hear.

As we walked back down the Grizzly Coast, I wondered if Young Adult would give me grief, but as she always does, she took the stranger’s AND my bad behavior in stride!

When do YOU want to correct the behavior of others?

55 thoughts on “How to Behave Like an Animal at the Zoo”

        1. It will be hard for him to claim “sarcasm” or “just kidding” when he pushes the button that starts a nuclear war.

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  1. DRIVERS and people walking in males and stores. “Lady, I was not holding the door open for you. I was holding it open for my wife whom you just forced to back her walker out of the door so you could go through. There are two doors. You could have opened used the other one right n front of you.” Sandy was embarrasses.

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  2. Meetings where people feel the need to be the Smartest Person in the Room (vs. listening and participating in actual conversation). Especially frustrating when it’s a dude and there is a woman who has something to say and she is ignored or talked over. I shushed my old boss a couple of times and have been known to raise my hand like a school child to get a word in (former boss was actually grateful that I was correcting him – he knows he talks too much sometimes). I know I have been guilty of the Smartest Person in the Room syndrome – which is galling to me when I realize what I’m doing – and I hope I have gotten better about finding the balance between sharing knowledge, speaking up to be heard, and really listening. Because it sucks all the collaboration and productive work out of the room when that nonsense happens.

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      1. There is an element here of a pot calling the kettle black. I will own that. 🙂 I cast no aspersions on anyone else on the Trail. (Side note: as a “talker” I find it equally frustrating to be in a meeting where 90% attendees remain mute even when prompted to provide their thoughts and ideas…)

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        1. I quit attending a morning discussion group because of the behavior of *one person*. My son made the comment when he was a stay-at-home dad of an infant that when I got out he talked too much. That happens to me from being isolated in the house.

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  3. Several trends in modern culture distress me, especially the willingness of so many people to confront strangers to criticize their behavior. That act, for me, represents two errors: it starts with a snap judgment about other people (judgments that are often bogus) and morphs into public shaming (which I usually find rude).

    A massively popular singer recently singled out a journalist at her press conference, shaming him for staring at his smart phone. She told him he should “live in the now.” She didn’t notice he was a Chinese writer who was using an app on his phone to understand her comments. He was doing his best to live in the now.

    My mother was carrying her first grandson in a grocery store. David, then close to two years old, had discovered the fun of pushing off her, bending at the waist so he could flop backward. He did that over and over, although my mother struggled to hold him back. A woman approached her to point and hiss, “That’s no way to carry a baby!”

    I can imagine myself speaking up to defend a vulnerable person or animal, but it would require circumstances that were impossible to misread. I have an innate reluctance to judge others and an even greater reluctance to confront.

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  4. And everybody should appreciate the YA photo today. I had to pay her (in dog-sitting time – that’s the only currency at our house) to put it on the blog!

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      1. No worries – the reason I wrote the piece was because I felt bad for my behavior. My initial outburst stopped the behavior; I didn’t need to sink to his level w/ my subsequent snarky comment!

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  5. Driving situations. Needlessly aggressive, insular or innattentive drivers that make the highway more dangerous and stressful than it ought to be. The operative words here are WANT to correct, not that I have any means to do so.

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    1. I correct them all the time, for my own benefit. When making a left hand turn you now apparently own the first two car lengths of the right hand lane.

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  6. I agree with Clyde about wanting to correct walkers and drivers and also some bicycle riders. Almost every time I go out in public I encounter people who seem to think everyone should get out f their way and that it is okay to block the movement of other people. I almost always keep my mouth shut when I see this. I would really like to tell those people that gather together in groups completely or almost complete blocking walk ways that they should move aside so others can use the walks. Also, why do some people continue to walk side by side as you approach them on narrow walk ways forcing you off the walk?

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    1. I find myself completely overwhelmed with the need to correct Trump’s rabid followers the last few months, even though I know full well that it’s a complete waste of time. Typically, they shout out his lies and I push back with real facts dispelling those lies. It took a while to realize that facts don’t matter once someone’s under his demagogic spell. At long last, I’m thoroughly enjoying Karma coming home to roost now.

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  7. I’m getting no baboon love so far for my post suggesting people are too quick to judge and criticize each other. Yesterday a man was shot and killed in a road rage incident in Florida. The amusing slant on that story is that he had just gotten out of prison for a road rage incident in which he shot and killed the other guy. I suppose there are several ways to read that story. For me, it reinforces my sense that people are too hot and reactive these days. Why is this phenomenon increasing? Maybe we live in difficult times when more people are crowded into a small space, with greater potential to offend each other.

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    1. I have my own theories as to why our society has gotten so hot and reactive and crowding plays just a small part. If I were to bloviate in detail, it would likely amount to a blog in itself. Two of the big elements, however, are the pace of change, where a significant percentage of people (especially men) believes that the change is for the worse and the unprecedented bifurcation of information, where it is now typical to only see opinions that confirm your prejudice and the people you see as “the other” are more sharply and threateningly perceived as “other” than was previously possible.

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      1. I had fun the other day. An AC repairman was here and saw my framed note from Obama, along with the letter I’d written to which he responded. That kicked off over an hour of singing to the choir on both of our parts. As he walked out, I pointed to my license plates as final confirmation of how passionately I respect our President. They read: GOBAMA, of course!

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    2. Seems to me that more folks have a heightened sense of entitlement these days which leads them to “not sweat the small stuff” as Chris says.

      Although I just finished a biography of John Adams and I’m sure they weren’t any more civil back then than we are now.

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      1. Rather than a heightened sense of entitlement, I suspect that more people feel like they are losing the entitlement they previously took for granted and are thus hypersensitive to anything they perceive as chipping away at their privileged status.

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        1. Agreed. It’s usually called, “white privilege” and my hunch is that the vitriol we see coming from Camp Trump is due to how threatened that demographic feels about losing its dominance.

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  8. It is hard for me to watch parents of out of control children. I usually say nothing, but give the children in question “the look” when they are naughty. I am very verbal in my praise while in public when I see very well behaved children, and I make a point of letting their parents know that i notice.

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    1. I also comment on the good behavior of a child when there is a sibling who is being a pill. These conversations usually tske place in lines at Walmart or the grocery store.

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  9. Most of the situations mentioned above, and family members when they are less than friendly and courteous – I am thinking of a nephew or two when they were of correctable age. Now I don’t have access, so I don’t know if they’ve improved…

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    1. Three of my daughter’s five kids are sickeningly entitled and disrespectful of adults. They’re her girls, not her boys. When I’ve occasionally brought this up to her, she just says, “Yeah, I know Mom”. I think “correctable” begins by age one.

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  10. I agree with many of the baboons above: people who drive, walk, bike, talk, etc. as if they were the only people in the world who matter.

    I used to embarrass my kids when I would verbally “correct” other drivers for their inconsiderate and bad driving. Now that they are all drivers themselves, they totally understand my feelings.

    One thing that seems to happen to me a lot when I’m in a crowded area: a group of people talking together and one person in the group will start to walk backwards without looking to see if anyone is behind them – I am often the person who is behind them. After a few painful encounters, I have started to loudly say, “Watch out!” and put up my arms to block them before they crash into me. They always seem amazed to find that, in a crowded area, there is someone behind them. As if I should have known that they were going to walk backwards and therefore chosen a different route.

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    1. …or those people who stop in a doorway to decide where they want to go, blocking everyone behind them. Or those people in a grocery who position their cart in an aisle directly opposite a floor display so that the whole aisle is impassable. I have always suspected that, consciously or unconsciously, it’s a passive-aggressive gesture.

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  11. At my credit union there is maybe twenty feet of space between the teller counter and the door. It drives me crazy that when a line forms, the first person in the line hangs back about twelve feet or more from the counter, which forces the rest of the line up against the door, so that people who are entering have to squeeze past the people at the end. Then the line has to bend to one side. The person at the front of the line always seems completely oblivious to everyone behind. Then that person goes up to a teller window, and the next person in line steps forward into the exact same spot.

    I keep my mouth shut about it, but when I get to the head of the line I march up to a point about four feet away from the tellers so that the people behind me will have a little space.

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  12. You tell me to be nice, that my occasional ill-temper is signs of being conservative, a old fuddy-duddy, a change hater. Then you tell me that being nice is just passive aggressiveness.
    I think, but then us dull old stilted farts cannot think clearly, P-A gets a bad rep. My, wife, the most beloved human on the planet, is the queen of P-A. Lots of bad cop moments would not happen if the cops used P-A skills to defuse situations.

    🙂

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  13. Can’t think of any action that had big consequences. But I’ve been a careful person all my life, so perhaps there have been any number of times I averted some catastrophe or another by being careful. You never know.

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