Still sick but I'm at work today. Got that sudafed ephedrine coursing through my veins. I don't like being sick, but I do.
Yesterday I got bored of lying in bed coughing, so I went to the zoo. It was me and a bunch of moms with their little kids. Most of the animals were hiding out, but I saw some pink flamingos, kangaroos and seals. Then I got bored and I sat on a bench and read "Affliction". This is my standard modus operandi: go to a place, museum or zoo, and then completely ignore its intended purpose and just sit there reading my book instead. It feels so decadent and lovely. When I was temporarily unemployed after Microsoft UK, I liked going to the natural history museum and sitting under the shadow of the life sized blue whale, reading and watching people go by. It's too bad you have to be sick or unemployed to do things like that.
Why do people go to zoos? Grown-ups, I mean. Maybe because space is so vast that we'll never be able to meet aliens in our lifetime, and exotic animals are as close as we can get to that sensation. When you look at a kangaroo you can imagine it being conscious, and yet its mode of being is so different from yours. I remember taking some philosophy class in school where we talked about the argument that no theory of psychology, no matter how vast, would ever be able to capture what's it like exactly to be a bat. "qualia" was the term for what gets left out. You can describe the physiological mechanism of color perception but you can't really convey what it's like to see red.
So maybe we go to the zoo to get outside ourselves a little bit. Or maybe we go because we're bored and it sounds like a fun thing to do. There's a train you can ride through the outback and the rainforest building. I liked listening to the whistle fade in and out at periodic intervals.
It would be nice if there was a People Zoo where we could put exotic humans. I would populate mine with David Bowie, Judy Tenuta and that chinese guy in the nba who's 27 feet tall.
Oh wait, there's a term for this "people zoo". It's called a freak show.