Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's the Remedy for Shyness? Gorilla Spit?

Yes, fellow bloggers, I was shy (I thought very shy), but I suspect most of us felt that way in our teens.  Of course, my teens were quite a few years in the past, beginning 52 years ago at age 13.  Of all the things you never, ever wanted to do when you were shy was draw attention to yourself, girls just wanted to be demure like Sandra Dee and Natalie Wood, guys wanted to be cool like James Dean, and Edd (Kooky) Byrnes.  Oh, those were the days, remember 77 Sunset Strip and asking Kooky to "lend me your comb"?  But I digress, we're talking about shyness here after all not shared dandruff.

It was a beautiful Spring day in Los Angeles and our high school was planning a field trip to the
Los Angeles Zoo.  We were all getting antsy because exams for the end of the semester were coming up, and following that was that most glorious of times, summer vacation.  This was a perfect way to get away from all of that high school stress.  My class (freshman, soon to be sophomore) weren't old enough, or popular enough, to be attending proms, so a day at the zoo was a perfect diversion.

"You've got to learn to assert yourself Nancy!" exclaimed my friends.  At this point in my life even a boy accidentally (or maybe not so accidentally) bumping into me turned my face bright red, all the way from the roots of my blond hair to the bottom of my neck, and maybe beyond, but I never checked my toes to see.  So I had the tendency to be very quiet, and yes demure.

Okay my dear friends, I'm going to be a different Nancy today (after all who at the zoo will know who I am), I can be anyone I want to be, you just watch me.

Just a little zoo background though, in those "good old days" zoos didn't have the wonderful natural habitats that they have today.  Most of the animals were in cages (it breaks my heart to remember this) and had only some swings and toys to entertainment them.)

So off I went, singing and dancing out loud, saying hello to everyone I met, the total opposite of the usual Nancy, suppressing my redness by saying I was sunburnt. HA!

What do I spot down on the rolling lawns but a huge building built of bars, four sides and top all bars, in other words a big cage.  Hanging from the top was a heavy rope with a tire tied to the bottom, big rubber balls to roll around on the floor, a fake tree built into one corner.  A large cattle trough filled with water, and another trough filled with fruit.  Inside this abode was the biggest, meanest looking, gorilla I had ever seen.  This was a magnificent animal, straight from the jungles of Africa.

It was time to show this crowd just how sophisticated and demure I was, and prove to my friends once and for all that I certainly was not shy. Walking around the cage I would look up and throw kisses through the bars at this big beast, put my fingers to my ears and wiggle them while making faces, crossing my eyes (soooo demure), and sticking my tongue out, after all, I wasn't shy.

All of this time this gigantic gorilla had his back turned to me, moving around his cage as I moved, ignoring this sophisticated blond.  Soon he tired of this game and sauntered over to his water trough, taking a big long drink of water, Ha, I thought, now these people will see my animal magnetism, that I can attract attention, just like the popular girls at school.  As my mind imagined my newfound popularity the gorilla turned and climbed up to the top of his tire rope, spun around, and spit all over me.  He then smiled the biggest gorilla grin you could ever imagine, green slimy teeth and all as I stood there covered in gorilla spit, blond hair handing wet and green across my very red face.

Oh well, one of us was the monkey, and it wasn't the gorilla.  To top it all off, I was called into the counselor's office the next day for "acting up" at the Los Angeles Zoo.

I think I'll cure my shyness in some other way.

Greetings, from Nancy of the Boat House, in Birch Bay

1 comment:

  1. "for acting up at the zoo." Oh!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I started teaching at Bishop Conaty H.S. back in the mid sixties. I remember!