ZimmyDSH had taken me and One-Plate to a game reserve during my time in Kenya. One-Plate had been living in Nairobi for as long as Zimmy had, but it was my first Safari. Zimmy went in to pay our fee to drive through the park and left me and One-Plate to watch the Land Rover. Since we were still outside the park, the online animals in sight were the vervet monkeys. They watched Zimmy go into the ranger’s office, and as soon as he was out of sight they started to circle.
Their cuteness kept them from seeming too threatening, but as an Eagle Scout I knew to be prepared. Number one rule with dealing with small mammals is to be wary if they get too close, but also remember that they are more afraid of you than you are of them. This turns out not to be the case when safariing in East Africa.
The monkeys run towards us to test our resolve and then run off. I reach through the Land Rover window to grab something to brandish at them, and find a handy water bottle. I brandish it at them and bang it against the hood of the Land Rover to make a good, threatening “bang”. After all, I’m not going to actually try and whack one of them in the head!
They all backed off at this gesture, but what I didn’t realize was that one had snuck around to the back, jumped up on the hood, and wanted to face off against me!
I brandish the water bottle again and he responds by grabbing it out of my hands, jumping onto the roof of the car, dropping down the sunroof, grabbing a bag of nuts, and running off to share the bounty with his friends.
I realize that we shouldn’t necessarily ascribe human feelings to animal actions, but I swear that after I had locked myself in the car and he had passed out our nuts to his friends…I swear that he was brandishing the bottle mockingly back at us.