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Saturday, January 27, 2007


When we watch nature programs, I side with the deer grazing innocently in the field, while my boyfriend Mark sides with the cheetah stalking it.

I identify with animals with eyes on both sides of their heads. They are peace loving. They lead lives without bloodshed, searching for food and water, creating burrows or living in herds. All they want to do is survive. Who could blame them? Then camera shifts back to the cheetah hungrily licking its toothy chops, and I hear Mark sighing with pity.

During the inevitable chase sequence, we are both gripped by the drama, each silently rooting for his (or her, much more deserving) team. I hide my face in my hands and shyly peek through my fingers, while Mark looks on fearlessly, devouring the graphic details.

‘Look!’ He cries out, pointing at the screen. ‘Oooh!’ and when the deer is torn brutally to shreds, he exclaims ‘Oh, wow!’ If the gods are merciful and deer somehow manages escape, he says nothing and looks down at his book or computer screen. No comment.

I, too, feel for the hungry cheetah and cheetah cubs. Nature is brutal – everyone needs to eat, and someone has to play the role of food. Often when the camera focuses on the cheetah, then pans to the innocent deer grazing nearby, Mark turns and blinks at me. ‘Do you really want to see this?’

Most of the time I shrug and cover my face. But on those hard days, when the battle to find space on the subway has been too much, or when my workload has been too demanding and the day too long, I pat him on the head and say, no. No sweetie, let’s see it another time, thanks.

Photo by Mnesterpics.