Two extremes on the fun scale – monkeys and colds

I’ve had a cold this week. Not a bad one – about a five out of ten. But it’s amazing how even a five out of ten on the congested/sore throat/headache/coughing scale can rob me of most of my energy and desire to do anything productive. I have accomplished things, but the whole week’s been an effort. I have to coach myself through these days, reminding myself after Mike leaves the house around 7:30 to get out of bed, and then eat breakfast, and then make a to-do list, and then make some sort of reasonable attempt to accomplish at least half of what’s on that list. On the fun scale, colds don’t rate.

By last night, however, I was feeling well enough to leave the house and venture out on a hot date with Mike to see a monkey.

Yup, a monkey.

Apparently our recent adventures in puppy ownership inspired someone we know in town, Ryan, to pick up a puppy of his own when he was out in a village recently. When we saw him on Sunday he mentioned that the most fun he’d had in ages was watching this puppy play with his monkey.

“You have a monkey?” I asked suspiciously.

Ryan is naturally deadpan in much of his delivery. This means that half the time we’re talking I (being Australian and thus culturally hardwired to suspect multi-layered straight-faced mocking is taking place whenever anyone speaks without noticeable emotion) suspect that he is making fun of me, or just flat out making things up. This is despite the fact that in the three months I’ve so far interacted with him, I think Ryan has only actually made fun of me once or twice and I don’t think he’s ever fabricated something like a pet monkey out of thin air. This leads me to believe that I am either: (a) a slow learner; (b) mildly paranoid; or (c) that Ryan has devious depths I have not yet glimpsed but can sense are there.

I’m still running with theory C for the time being – at least until I gather a critical mass of evidence to the contrary (which may take another year).

When it appeared that Ryan was not making up the existence of this monkey, or the amusing monkey-puppy antics, I promptly invited Mike and myself around to witness this fun and games.

“OK,” Ryan said, imperturbable, when I announced that we would be descending upon his house sometime that week armed with wine, cheese, and a camera. “Sounds good.”

So round we went last night, and it was great cold medicine. When we arrived the monkey, Abu, the size of a doll, was suffering a bath in the sink. But after he was all toweled off he put on a proper show for us while four of us sat on the porch and took in the sunset.

Abu hung upside down off the edge of the railing and taunted the puppy by flicking her ears, then dropped down and tussled with her (the puppy, even at only five weeks, has the advantage in terms of weight and teeth, even if not agility). He scampered up into my lap, clung to my arm, and chattered up into my face. He moved incredibly fast to steal skittles out of my hand, showed prurient interest in the wine, and begged shamelessly for cracker crumbs. Then, as night fell and Ryan was busy explaining why he shaved the sides of Abu’s head to give him a little monkey Mohawk, and exactly how much of a pain in the ass Abu could be when he got going, the little monkey settled down in the crook of my arm and to suck his thumb and sleep.

For me, monkey rate very highly indeed on the fun scale. Do animals rate on your fun scale? What’s the most fun you’ve had with an animal recently?

19 responses to “Two extremes on the fun scale – monkeys and colds

  1. i LOVE this. and them. best two wrestling pet friends. ever.

  2. Keep running with theory C. And come back whenever you’d like to experience “Monkey vs. Foxpig 2.0.”

    • Ha! I KNEW there may be some grounds for theory C – I’ll identify some firm evidence sooner or later. And we’ll be back. Fun hanging out with you guys last night, and the Indian afterwards was awesome too. Overall a winner of a night.

  3. Sorry, did I miss something? What is a foxpig?

    • Foxpig is Ryan’s nickname for his puppy (whose actual name is Phoyong I believe). I think they call her foxpig because she looks a little like a tiny cross between a fox and a pig.

  4. Let’s hope for Mike’s sake that this doesn’t mean that Lisa wants a monkey as a pet, too. 🙂

    • Ryan offered to sell him to us for 1000 kip (about 18 cents) but not even I was dumb enough to take him up on that offer when we can go around and see him regularly (the offer came after Ryan spent quite some time explaining how Abu got in these states where all he would do was run around making a really annoying noise like a squeaky toy… that was enough disincentive). Plus I think Zulu would accidentally kill him.

  5. ONE CAN ACTUALLY HAVE A MONKEY AS A PET?????? I am moving to Laos immediately. Oh, but wait . . . having a monkey *and* a toddler would probably be too much work . . . (dramiatic siiiiigh)

    • Yes, having a monkey and a toddler would be… like having mismatched twins I think (one of whom can swing over railings, venture out on the roof, refuse to come when called, climb up on the bench and take one bite out of every banana in the bunch, and other get up to many other antics).

  6. This is terrific! I love animals more than I like a lot of people (irony of ironies being my job is dealing with the public) and would have several pets if I could. When I read this and saw the pictures I couldn’t help but think of an abused rabbit I rescued several years ago when I still lived at home on my parents farm. As it turned out, Scruffy (I know, not very creative) was more like a dog, even riding around in my truck and visiting other friends’ farms. Everyday I’d let him out of his cage and he would spend the day on unsupervised adventures. Every night I’d holler for him to come to bed and out of the darkness he came hopping and into his cage he’d go. It wasn’t until a particular bad snow storm kept me home that I realized what Scruffy did all day: torment my old dog. I was shoveling off the front steps when I stopped to watch Scruffy who was nearby popping in and out of the snow, generally having a grand old time amusing us both. Eventually he grew tired and came to sit on the porch next to our aging dog and I thought, “how cute that the two get along so well, nuzzling on each other.” I continued to shovel until I heard the distinct snap of teeth and out of the corner of my eye I saw the dog lunge at Scruff. I immediately hollered and Scruffy thumped his back feet in irritation, but I was surprised he didn’t run off. The dog gave me apologetic eyes so I went back to shoveling. Don’t you know, I hear the same snap of teeth and when I spin around my dog is already giving me her pitiful sad eyes and Scruffy is sitting just out of reach. Curious now I turn my back and pretend to shovel. Lo and behold, I watch as my smart-ass little bunny hops up to my dear old dog as if for a nuzzle and then proceeds to bite her nose and then hopping, quite literally, quick-like-a-bunny out of the way, thumping his feet as if HE’S the victim. I didn’t know whether to laugh incredulous at this act or toss Scruff into the snowbank for being mean. I guess I never expected such a devious act from a rabbit – I knew he was a smarty, but I guess I didn’t give him enough credit. I did end up tossing Scruff off the porch, telling him to go find some wild bunnies to play with and for goodness sakes, give the senior citizen dog some peace! They were a fun pair to watch for they did get along most of the time. I often found them sharing a sun spot in the grass catching a nap after their romps around the yard. They are both gone now, but I hope someday to have another pair like them, for it is so true that animals can provide some serious stress-relieving entertainment.
    Thanks for sharing pics of your new mohawk-sporting friend!

    • This story was awesome. A rabbit tormenting a dog. Seriously, who would have thought. That must have been one bold & fearless and/or silly rabbit. Thanks for sharing, made me smile. Animal stories are so much fun!

  7. Monkeys!! I adore monkeys! So what does one need to do to pick up and move to Laos? Maybe a semester transfer, where I can study with my monkey companion? (Just kidding. Kind of.) 😀

    • Semester transfer’s not a bad idea, though I have no idea whether Laos has any reciprocal exchange programs. There’s always the tried and true one month tourist visa extended twice 🙂

  8. SO CUTE. My other fav fun animal is an otter,but little monkeys top them.

    • I adore otters too!!! They are SO CUTE – I just want to snuggle up to them and kiss their alert little faces. But did you know they’re apparently quite vicious little creatures? A zoo-keeper told me once that it’s the only enclosure apart from the big cats and they like they go into with full protective gear.

  9. Pingback: Koi maan luuk (or, “I am pregnant”) | Wandering. Wondering. Writing.

  10. Pingback: 30 great gifts for pregnant women and new parents | Lisa McKay Writing

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