October 02, 2007

What we talk about at lunch

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I eat lunch in the snack bar on campus so that I can hang out with colleagues and students in a relaxed setting. When I sat down today at my usual table, Scientist Guy and his newest grad student, WorksWithPrimates, were talking about the drill, one of Africa's most endangered primates. WorksWithPrimates was describing some of the field work he had done with various primates. "Chimpanzees are so intelligent," he said. "It's just incredible."

Then he was telling me about how he used to work with rehabilitated chimps and mandrills that were going to be released back to the wild. I was remembering Jane Goodall's stories about how social the animals were. The grooming rituals that chimps do seem to me not much different than the grooming rituals the women in my family will do up at camp, brushing each other's hair and such as we sit in the sun.

"Well, it feels good," said WorksWithPrimates, in complete seriousness. He described how he'd just sit still while a chimp or mandrill ran fingers over his short-cropped hair. "Really, there's nothing more relaxing than having a monkey pick bugs out of your hair."

13 comments:

billie said...

Indeed. :-)

Artist Friend said...

It's such an intriguing idea that I'd be willing to put a few in there just to have a mandrill pull them out.

TC said...

When I was a kid, my stepmother used to ask me to pull gray hairs from her head, and I'd do it for hours, combing through with my fingers, finding one, pulling it out at its roots. She would get so relaxed, she's fall asleep. I found it absolutely and utterly fascinating and deeply satisfying. It's my only even vaguely pleasant memory of her, but that's neither here nor there.

amypalko said...

Even at the age of almost 29, if you pulled all the grey hairs from my head, I would be close to bald!
By the way, Jo(e), I've tagged you over at my blog. You can check it out here, and join in if you like. I don't know if you participate in memes, but let me know if you decide to do this one.

Busymomma66 said...

My daughter and I will occasionally take turns brushing each other's hair. We both love it and argue as to who's hair will be brushed last because we both find it very relaxing.

Cathy said...

When our students go down for a nap (see how I avoid the lie, lay, lain, etc thing?), we have those we have to (lay, lie -- I think it is lie) down with so they can settle down (this is a special education class 00 preshchool). One in particular will go to sleep if you run your hands in his hair. And he likes twirling someone else's hair.

YourFireAnt said...

My next date is definitely going to be a mandrill.

'-)

FA

Yankee T said...

I fall asleep at the hairdresser when I go for a cut and they wash my hair first. My stylist knows I only go for the cut so I can get him to wash my hair. I make him wash it twice.

Mona Buonanotte said...

Oh yeah...the hairdressers, for a lovely luxurious shampoo and condition and head massage, and the cut and highlighting...all of it, every last bit of it, makes me sleepy and content (and sometimes a bit, well, tingly).

kathy a. said...

so interesting what people will say if they feel free to talk about their own interests! that's such an exciting thing about academic life [or, the in-between-classes, sit and have lunch part of it], with so many people doing completely different things.

the thing i still desperately miss about my freshman dorm [1975-6] is that bunches of us used to trade shoulder-rubs. sometimes there would be 10-15-more of us sitting in a line in the hallway, each massaging the shoulders of the person ahead, all of us chattering away in utter contentment. after a few minutes, the person at the front had to go to the back. sigh. heaven.

Bridget said...

amen

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

It does feel good. My monkey, Mr Grim, was great at grooming and Biker Buddy and I carry on the tradition.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I miss those conversations--it's one of the things I miss about not being at Little Green School.