Growing up, my mother constantly had to tell me not to touch things.
Don’t touch the cookie jar (too high), don’t touch the remote (too loud), don’t touch that counter (too unsanitary), don’t touch the stove (too hot), and don’t touch that mud puddle (oops, too late). In fact, I think it might’ve been easier for her to outline the things in life I was able to touch, as opposed to keeping up with my desire to stick my hands in places they didn’t belong.
Fast forward a decade or two, and I’m well into adulthood. Years of social conditioning have taught me that touching random stuff is generally frowned upon—I do it anyway.
I love poking things: buttons, soft leaves, the pristine surface of a newly opened jar of peanut butter. But my true addiction is poking animals. Fortunately for me, this isn’t usually an issue. In DC, the only animals close enough for me to poke on a daily basis are rats and pigeons (aka rats with wings). Ain’t nobody got time for that mess.
Then there’s the non-issue of pets. I’ve had pets my entire life: dogs, cats, birds, a chicken (once), and all of them were mostly OK with/didn’t hate a gentle tummy poke. (Hey, I said I’ve had pets my whole life, not that I was a particularly good or savvy pet owner.) The animals I live with right now, which include two cats and a tall, hairy man, are trained really well/trapped in a long-term Stockholm Syndrome-type situation. Both ways, it works for me.
Yup, things were going pretty well on the poking front, but then the Significant Other took me to Australia, the land of extremely poisonous, vicious, murderous and pokeable animals.
*We were there for two weeks. Now’s the time to place your bet. Exactly how many of my fingers ended up in some exotic animal’s digestive tract?
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