Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Not as Smart as a Baboon

Hanging around with anthropologists in my uni days left interesting facotids lodged in my brain. Among them, that baboons can count to five. Apparently this was determined by sending men into a field and then having them leave one by one while baboons watched safely from the shelter of the trees. When 5 men left, apparently the baboons thought all the men were gone--or, perhaps they got bored waiting for the men to leave. At any rate, I'll take as a good working hypothesis that our primate cousins can count to five. Apparently I cannot count to 8, even in multiples of 4 plus 4, ergo I am not as smart as a baboon.

I really do try to do what I am told. It is not in my nature to be a straight line compliant person, but I do try. I mention that to explain how it was that everyone else in yoga class knew that they did not need to be told to exhale. So I was lying left arm in air, lungs filled up like a puffer fish because I did not realize that I could count for myself up to 8 for the inhale-exhale cycle. I opened my eyes and discovered all the other arms going down gracefully and tried to look like everyone else knowing full well that I was not as smart as a baboon.

So my ego took another battering when I realized just how foolish I had been about hyacinths. Like breathing, you wouldn't think there could be that much that could go wrong, but I managed. First of all, I got in a hurry. Plants, small children, and computers we all know are not to be hurried. That was my first mistake. I put the bulbs perched precariously on top of some grit. I meant to get compost or some decorative material later, but as I should have known, later never comes when it comes to Christmas frenzy, so these bulbs grew like tryffids--as if they could walk out in the middle of the night or when your back was turned and devour you--well, not that bad, they are small after all and they did still smell good.

But I gave those tryiffid-like bulbs to a friend who not only enters and wins bulb competitions but judges them.

Now I can relate these ego-busting events because they happened with folks who are nice enough not to call to your attention that you are an idiot. In part, this is kindness; in part this is acceptance of what is self-evident. In either case, it gives me time to practice counting all the way to 8 and forego making hyacinths into tryffid-lookalikes. No doubt there are other ways of playing the fool and I will find at least some of them.


At 9:53 PM, Blogger Ruan Peat said...

I like to think of these as life enhancing moments, you learn that your true friends don't mention these moments or treat them with gentle humour which helps. you find out that the phrase 'smile it could be worse' applys to you too. And they also mean you can think 'well, tomorrow will be an improvement' but most of all you rarely make the same mistake twice! which has to be good :-D

At 12:31 PM, Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

Sadly, I have found more than my share as well.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Oh, Ruan. definitely the same mistake twice would be boring. I have to think that if you're not maiking mistakes you're not pushing the boundaries enough. It doe snot feel like it at the time perhaps, but up here I have been very self conscious and worried about making mistakes so it was almost a relief to say oh yeah there's a couple biggies and you're still OK.

At 9:37 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Well, Cur, I do think mistakes or gaffes are par tof the price of being---well, let's say creative, shall we?


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