Last monday night I received a text message from a friend of mine that read:
"I rode an elephant today!"
Normally this would be either worrying or confusing (or both) but in this case this specific friend is on a vacation to Thailand, which apparently is a country where elephants are a normal means of transportation.
As most of my friends now, me and nature do not co-exist all too pleasantly: I scream like a girl when bugs or spiders appear in my bathroom, I do not enjoy getting my hands dirty and the next time I see a meerkoet with a limp wing I'll walk the other way. But like I do with dogs and cats, I just have a thing for elephants.
The reason for that, is that elephants remind me of human beings. Their memory is absolutely amazing. For example if I leave my parents place and return an hour later, my dog is excited. If I leave my parents house and return two weeks later, my dog is just as excited. I don't know if elephants have a sense of time, but if I go to an elephant and give her an apple, then return a year later she will use her nose to frisk you for apples; that's smart! But even more so, elephants remind me of my mom.
Not because she looks like an elephant of course, a) she doesn't and b) she'd have me killed for saying that.
This realization started during my visit to Kenya last year. During a one day safari we made through one of the reservations, we saw several wonderful animals including a bunch of elephants. Those elephants can be tricky to find (they hide in the bushes most of the time) but we managed to see a few throughout the day.
Then, just when we were off to leave the park, a baby elephant crossed the road behind us. While me, the son of my dad's collegue and my dad all stood in amazement (and yes, I did go "Aaaaww!", stop judging me!), the driver of the truck started speeding away towards the gates (think Jurassic Park). He later told us that he did not so much hate baby elephants, he was just afraid of the mother elephant that had to be walking around there somewhere too.
Although elephants are generally not too violent (just clumsy, big and heavy - you do the math), mother elephants are absolutely lethal: they have the same way of dealing with the world my mom had when I was little: "Don't touch my kid. Touch my kid, and you die".
See, just like an elephant.