Monday, July 19, 2010

Strange Allure: Pandas

Don’t get upset—I like them, too (although not as much as the people who ooh and aah around them for what seems like hours at a time, who come to the zoo apparently wanting to see nothing else, nothing more, than these bears).

I think the only reason that I don’t spend more time at the panda exhibit myself is because, if any panda is in evidence, there are almost always a ton of people around it, regardless of the time of day. So I usually take a quick look at (and maybe a picture or two of) the bears and then move on, both to avoid the crowds and to allow those people who are only visiting the city the chance to enjoy the best views without being blocked by me.

And yet I am somewhat baffled by our fascination with pandas. What makes them so great? Is it their striking coloring, at once clownish and dapper? Their rarity even in zoos? It can’t be their antics, since they tend to spend most of their time engaged in one of two activities: sleeping (or lying around in a state suggestive, to me, of either boredom or dejection) or eating.




I don’t know what lures other people in, but recently I was finally able to pinpoint what it is that really pleases me about them: the utter concentration and absolute gusto with which they eat. Eating is an activity I’m very fond of myself (I do pity those people who eat just because they have to, without getting any pleasure from it), and it’s a delight to observe an animal that really knows how to enjoy him/herself while chowing down on a branch of bamboo or a frozen treat (I never know what they are—maybe vegetable popsicles or something?).

[look at the happy anticipation of that bite!]

[and what is this? frozen bamboo slushee?]

[losing oneself in the moment]

[finally, time to floss]

The focus! The determination! The gustatory satisfaction! Yes; any good gourmand, human or animal, is a friend of mine.

1 comment:

Anca said...

Everyone likes them because they look like the adorable stuffed toys they had as children and were too silly to keep into adulthood.

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