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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Swinging Outside: Going Out on a Limb

This morning Bow and I went outside. I was hoping that he would enjoy playing on his new swing. Actually, it's an old swing, but he hasn't had the opportunity to use in a while. Yesterday, Rex the welder came by to reinforce one of our inner doors, and he also installed two iron rings in the outer pen so we could hang a swing. It was one of the swings Bow used to use regularly, before the sun room was converted into part of the pen system. It used to hang from the beam that is now inaccessible to those of us inside the pen.

Yesterday, Lawrence installed the swing for Bow after Rex left, and Bow had a good time with it. But this morning it was cold, and Bow didn't want to swing. He lay on the outer chair that is not intended for him, so much as for the human with him, and he wrapped himself up in his own body heat.
He did make a few cursory attempts at swinging to appease me, but he really wasn't into it.

Eventually, we went back inside, and soon thereafter Mark, the Schwan's delivery guy, came by to take our order. Bow and Mark are well acquainted, and Mark greeted Bow the usual way: "Hi, there buddy, how you doin'?"

"Could you keep talking to Bow while I get my purse?" I asked Mark. (Actually, my fanny pack was right there in the pen, but it was covered up, and I couldn't see it.) Mark dutifully kept up the chit-chat with Bow, but when I came back, he told me: "I think I said something that made him mad."

"What did you say?" I asked, going back in to get my wallet.

"I asked him wouldn't you like to go outside and swing from one of those trees?"

Apparently, this set Bow off and canceled all the good will that Mark had built up with him.

After Mark left, I asked Bow why he got mad. Bow spelled: "He's trying to kill Bow."

"You mean because he was trying to tempt you to leave the pen?"

"Yes," Bow spelled. "It's dangerous."

Bow is aware of what happens to chimpanzees who venture outside their homes. He has heard about recent events, and he wants nothing to do with it. He even objected to this line from one of my Debt Collector songs: "I would rather be free than live trapped in a cage." The cage is safer.

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