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Sunday, January 26, 2014

When ...?

Life is good. We have good food. We have nice things. But chimpanzees do not live by bread alone. Bow does not talk about this much anymore, but today he broached the subject.

When Bow vocalizes in a high pitched voice, he sounds very agitated. It is usually also when he is trying to speak. He can make sounds in a lower pitch, of course, but they are not the sounds that he is trying to overlay with consonants and vowels. Do I understand what Bow says out loud? Sadly, I don't. That's why he has to spell things out for me.

Aya: ?מה  What?

Bow: שקר Lie.

Aya: ? שקר. מה
        A lie? What?

Bow: מתי קופה
        When a female-chimp

Aya: ?מתי תהיה לך קופה
         When will you have a female chimp?
        ?האם זה מה שאתה שואל, קשת
        Is that what you are asking, Bow?

Bow: כן

Aya: אני לא יודעת
        I don't know.
  ? אתה נותן לי את השטיח
You're giving me the rug?

Bow:  יש
           There is

Aya: ? יש מה
        There's what?
      (He persists in giving the rug to me.)
        טוב תודה
      Okay, thank you.

I just happened to be taking pictures when that exchange transpired. I know it looks as if I am holding Bow's hand, and with the way he is vocalizing in a high pitch, some naive viewers might think this exchange is happening against his will. Over and over again, people have commented that it looks as if I am holding Bow's hand and guiding it, but really it was his doing. I was just going to film him playing. He took my hand. It would have been very hard to withhold my hand from him. He insisted.

Bow is much stronger and more agile than I am. I cannot take his hand without his consent. And in this particular case, he was the one who was eager for the exchange.

Bow will turn twelve on February 16. I know what he wants for his birthday. It's not a rug or a cake or anything that I can afford to buy him. In fact, it's one of those things that people euphemistically say money can't buy.

I sure wish I could arrange a visit from a female chimpanzee, if only for a day.


  1. Hope Bow can get a girlfriend someday. Maybe you will find another chimp who needs a home?

    1. Thanks, Julia. That would be really nice. I hope so.