Last week, I spontaneously booked tickets to a llama farm. Since then, for some reason, my loved ones (more accurately, the ten or so people I bother on occasion) had many questions, all of them some variant of “… Why?” The tone ranged from my friends’ curious “oh, why” to Mom’s pained “oh, WHY?” because, surprise, I’d signed her up, too. (My status as Default Favorite Daughter has its perks.)
Everyone: Why are you seeing llamas?
Me: Why aren’t you seeing llamas?
I was cagey with my reason for wanting to see llamas because I wasn’t sure it existed. Had I signed up for this event just for its name, “ShangriLlama?” Was I throwing myself into interesting situations to overcompensate for my personality? Honestly, who could say? I just planned to wait until after the visit to explain myself in hindsight and, until then, pretend I knew exactly what I was in for.
Admittedly, at first it was difficult to project my faith in imminent enjoyment through the overpowering smell of barn. Mom and I wandered into a random stall, where we watched, with trepidation, a deluge of what looked like coffee beans rain out of a cream-colored llama’s asshole. (To clarify, the llama was cream-colored, not the asshole.) I briefly considered the possibility that I might’ve made a slight mistake and hid behind my phone camera.
I liken trying to take pictures of llamas to attempting to capture photos of your dog, if your dog recoiled at human contact, looked down its nose at you with disdain, and constantly turned its back to the shutter. So, basically, if your dog was a cat.
But it didn’t take long for my sense of smell to recover, for the charm to take effect. Llamas are some of the weirdest-looking creatures I’ve ever seen up close, yet the more you look at them, the more adorable they get. I think it’s the necks.
The llamas’ names didn’t hurt, either. The owner of the barn, who calls herself Mama Llama, introduced the pack to us individually: Dalai Llama, Barack O. Llama, Como T. Llama, Bahama Llama, and Drama Llama.
Me: Barack O. Llama’s my favorite. Let’s sit with him.
Mom: How do you know which one’s Barack?
Me: Not to be racist, but I’m particularly good at seeing color.
The rest of the hour was an educational delight. Stroking Como T. Llama’s fur, I learned about llama stomachs. I decoded llama ear signals. I marveled at how llamas could make sitting down look like such a painstaking process—a rather uncanny impression of me, in fact. I differentiated between llamas and alpacas (the woolly ones that spit.)
And, leaving the barn, I was struck by the thought that thinking too much really does often put a damper on fun. Coming in, I hadn’t the faintest clue what I expected to gain from this experience. If I had, would I have considered ShangriLlama worth attending? Would I have showed up to my next event, my school’s summer alumni/intern networking session, smelling of eau de llama? Would I have spent said session rattling off llama fun facts to businesspeople? Would that one lady have stopped talking to me?
Me: When you greet llamas, you breathe directly into their face so they can file away information on your insides for future reference.
No, I don’t think so.
Please like my page on Facebook here for occasional life updates and posts! I blog on Sundays.
Last post: In Memory of a Spider’s Last Stand, in which I’m overdramatic as usual