|Denny The Gorilla, 8.5 years old (8.6.23)|
Denny became a habit. I'm a bit obsessive about, well, everything, so when I decided that we would be friends, I adjusted my life accordingly. Not so much at first, but as I grew to "know" him and the rest of the gorillas at San Diego Zoo, and after the zoo reopened after COVID shutdowns, I was there as much as I could be. I mean, it has been a long time that I've been taking photos there or dragging my laptop around and plugging in to get work done, or dragging Darren so many times that he eventually decided to work for SDZWA, but suddenly I was compelled to be there at a particular time every day, or as many days as I could, to see him. Over time, this has meant gigs of videos and photos, but it has also meant meeting a whole group of interesting and diverse zoo friends, marginally better sleep and work habits, not as much drinking and fewer late nights. It has also meant fewer shows and participation in other life events, but the reality is I needed a little diversion from some things that weren't feeding my soul. I was burning the candle at both ends and it wasn't doing me any favors.
It has also been emotional. I was with Denny when my sister called to tell me that she was flying to New Mexico because our sister-in-law wasn't expected to make it through the night; that cancer had taken over her body. Denny was at the glass and put his hand to mine as tears rolled down my cheeks. When just a couple weeks later, on Easter Sunday, my sister called to tell me my dad took his last breath, Denny pulled his burlap sack over his head and put his forehead to mine through the glass before I left to join my family. Last week, I was watching him interact with his parents for the last real time as I was on the phone finding out my high school best friend's mom was placed in hospice, where she would pass just a couple days later. We were on the phone for awhile before Denny came over, and I ended the call. "I have to go, my gorilla is asking to see my phone."
And it's all so weird. Darren has COVID, so in an effort to let him get real rest in our house, I've been spending full days at the zoo as much as possible. Part of that has been watching Denny as he's been moved from his family troop with his mom and dad to the bachelor troop with his three silverback half brothers. It was gradual until it wasn't. We all knew it would happen, just not so suddenly, going from Monday with his brothers in the morning to his parents in the afternoon to Tuesday only with his brothers. Full-time. And it's funny, Denny has been so readily accepted by the bachelors (mostly. Ekuba will come around) that I haven't really been able to snap any great photos of him. This one I chose is from Sunday, the 12 year anniversary of the day Darren and I met!! (and no, Darren doesn't get a post because we'll postpone any celebration until he's well and back in the world of the COVID-free.)
I'm not trying to compare or conflate this gorilla growing up with losing my sister-in-law or dad or my best friend's mom, but it marks the passage of time. That we all get older. That time stops for nobody. That sometimes all we have is this very moment. But it's all this excitement about Denny and his life changes that makes it easier to accept changes in mine. So yes, Darren will get a full celebration. And I will mourn the loss of my friend's mom properly with her family. But for now, this little ape gets the love, because I'm a profoundly different human because of him.
Stay safe out there.
Tell your people you love them.
- The Virus is Learning New Tricks and We Humans Keep Falling Behind - Ground Truths/Eric Topol (8.6.23)
- With Small Increase in COVID-19 Hospitalizations, Sensible Protections Can Reduce Spread of Infection, Severe Illness - County of Public Health Los Angeles (8.3.23)
- test if exposed or experiencing symptoms such as fever or chills, coughing, runny nose, fatigue and body aches
- stay home and seek treatment as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms
- Updated Covid boosters could be authorized by end of month, Pfizer says. The drugmaker's prediction comes as Covid hospitalizations are once again on the rise. - NBC News (8.1.23)
- WHO adds Omicron EG.5 to variant monitoring as global COVID markers decline further - CIDRAP (7.20.23)
- What to know about COVID Eris: Variant spreading in the UK and US this summer - USA Today (8.7.23)
- District 4 Special Election Explainer - KPBS
- I endorse Monica Montgomery Steppe for this election, if you're asking.
- Fact Check: Did Montgomery Steppe Support Defunding the Police? Monica Montgomery Steppe has continuously voted to approve city budgets that increase the police department spending. However, she has proposed overtime cuts and sought opportunities to reallocate funding. - Voice of San Diego (8.3.23)
- FDA Approves First Oral Treatment for Postpartum Depression (8.4.23)
- San Diego City Council approves streetlight surveillance cameras - kpbs (8.1.23)
- Can't we start with actual *streetlights* before we're installing cameras???
- County on Pace to Meet 2030 Climate Action Goals - County News Center (8.7.23)
- Gun Control:
- Attorney General Bonta Urges Court to Overturn Dangerous Attempt to Invalidate Lifesaving Red Flag Laws - Rob Bonta, Attorney General (8.1.23)
- Other Reading:
- For the Love of God, Stop Microwaving Plastic. A study of baby-food containers shows that microwaving plastic releases millions upon millions of polymer bits. - Wired (7.31.23)
- Which States Are Contributing the Most to U.S. GDP? - Statista (8.7.23)
- "With 50 states in the Union and 100 percent to go around, the average state’s contribution to U.S. GDP would technically be two percent."
- "While 11.7 percent of Americans live in California, the state contributed 14.2 percent to GDP in Q1 of 2023."