I’m such a weenie, I was wishing I had a zoom function on my phone’s camera so I wouldn’t have to stand so close to the cage to snap this picture. I could scarcely believe the secretary was leaving me alone and defenseless in the Carlin Combined Zoo all day.
Actually, it was 7:20 AM at Carlin High School. This dude (real name: “Dude”) greeted my arrival in a biology classroom today. The class also housed a turtle, 2 chinchillas, a ferret (another reason Nevada is waaaayyyy cooler than California), and a snake. The kids told me the snake had gotten out of its cage and was lost, but their teacher hadn’t told anyone because he didn’t want to freak them out.
“Did he ever find the snake?”
“Oh ,yeah, it’s back now,” they said.
“Good, because if it wasn’t, they’d be looking for a new sub right now.”
The furry animals were cute. The ferret put his little ferret feet on the thin bars of the cage, quivering his whiskers and hoping a student would poke their finger through the bars so he could rub against it like a cat or lick the salt off with his little ferret tongue.
The chinchilla hunkered in the corner of his cage, nose twitching wildly. When a person slithered a hand through the cage door to pet his downy soft fur, he clsoed one eye, flattened his bowl-shaped ears and dodged the hand, looking pissed off.
The kids said, “Oh, it’s fine – you can pet him.” After watching 2 high school girls successfully pet the chinchilla, I worked up my courage. Yes, I will put the first ride on a colt and tie down an 8-weight steer outside, but I get trembly when petting a small indoor pet in a cage.
The chinchilla ducked my hand and darted across the cage. I snapped my hand back so quickly it hit the door frame and rocked the cage. I laughed, then made myself stick my hand back in for one good, solid pet on the back. I couldn’t show fear; it would ruin my image as a strict disciplinarian.
Actually, I’m pretty positive my propensity to blush 18 times per day has already done that.
Yesterday, I spent a day with zoo animals of the bipedal variety. The Spanish and English classes I taught were impressively disorganized and chaotic. The teacher left a sub note dated 11/13 (yeah, that was definitely a Sunday) and had written “Dear Bev” at the top.
After a day of handing out worksheets only to have the kids tell me, “We’ve already done this one. We turned it in 2 weeks ago. Our teacher is crazy,” I did what I had to do. I had them put away their papers, stack their textbooks, and we watched cartoons. The animated Rio rocks!
Some of the boys wrote a message in Spanish on the whiteboard for the next class. Literally translated, it read, “Hello, class. You love me because you are poor and white.” Then they drew a ninja.
Thanks for reading,