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It’s not supposed to be that way.
We’re the ones who are supposed to be outside. We stand there or move slowly past, ogling. Snickering, judging. We laugh, we wonder. When we look through the glass we find things about ourselves we hardly even knew. Traits that have always been there, no explanation, there’s been no need for one.

The more sensitive among us lament the need for these places, these zoos. They say we should find harmony in nature and no longer have the need for them. And we never they say that the practical respond by saying they’d rather have the tiger behind a solid enclosure wall.

It’s a game. A ruse. A zoo. It’s not even real to most people. They don’t see animals, they see pets.

That’s how it’s supposed to be.

This morning, that wasn’t how it was.

What happens when we are on the other side of the glass. People walking past, working, living, laughing. They peer into our lives. Some of them laugh with us, some of them cry, some of them judge. When those watching can identify with what they see, maybe they learn, maybe they’re better for it. Does it ever really matter to those of us under the glass?

We even make it easy for them. We play and fight in the open, performing for our spectators in the hopes of finding solidarity or friendship. We draw line after line in the sand and laugh as they are crossed one after the other.

We make a game of it. What else can we do? How many spectators can we get? Who can have the biggest following?

Why do we do it? Why do we perform when we’re under the glass. Do we care about the reactions from those watching? Do they matter? At work, at play, at rest. As we eat, as we learn. How often are they watching?

Just what are the hours of operation for the Human Zoo?

 

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