This week I conducted a training during a birds of prey show. Owls, specifically.
The earthy, long haired presenter held a library full of second graders in rapt attention as she hooted loudly and educationally into the microphone. Different kinds of owls have different kinds of hoots. I learned that. Even I was bored by me, compared to the awesome birds.
I found myself wondering about the owl lady. She was a total professional and very comfortable as the birds perched on her arm. Some looked like fuzzy baby owls, and one was gigantic and only had one eye. For some reason I have a huge soft spot for one eyed animals. They make me want to cry and hug — although I think this guy could have clawed up my face if he wanted to.
I loved the Q & A session the best:
Kid: Can you buy them for pets?
Owl Lady: Oh, no. Next question.
Kid #2: Why can’t you have them for pets?
Owl Lady: Because they’re wild animals! You can’t have wild animals for pets. Next question.
Kid #3: Why can’t you have wild animals for pets?
Owl Lady: Because they belong in nature! They are wild! Next question.
Kid #4: I have a big yard…
The children were so into it. I was there for another purpose entirely and even I was so into it. I’ve had to do many, many school shows before in my comedy life, and there’s always the terrifying element of – what if these little people hate us and call us out on being adult fools? Because sometimes improv is profoundly stupid, even for second graders.
Owl lady had nothing to worry about. Seeing those animals out of context, in a regular old library, was magical. Even more magical than adults in black pants and lav mics.
Solution: ImprovBoston Zoo-on-Wheels division. You’re welcome.
In writing news, all I’ve really completed in the past week is a short story, totally unrelated to Thelma. I’m waiting to hear from a number of people for that girl! The new story is YA – from the perspective of a 17 year old, which is a total change of pace for me, but it was fun. Thinking about maybe expanding it…we’ll see!