I don't believe in God, but if I did — and if I were feeling so bold as to make requests — I would ask our allegedly omnipresent entity to grant me the patience of the Bronx Zoo lion featured in the below Instagram posts. This lion did not appear to even flinch, really, when an overconfident zoo-goer invaded its domain on Saturday. Having stormed the barrier around the African lion exhibit, this woman proceeded to waggle her hands at the cat king, as if to elicit some kind of reaction. But the lion just stood there like, "Sorry why are you in my house? Did someone leave the door open, or — ?"
Now, it could be that the lion was just doing what lions sometimes do: waiting to charge until prey comes within reasonably close range and then turns away, leaving itself vulnerable to attack. The woman did not expose her back to the lion, but instead started doing a little dance, maybe for its entertainment or maybe in a bid for viral fame. Either way, the lion just stared directly at the person filming as if to say, "Can you believe this shit?"
The lion didn't even need to roll its eyes as it broke the fourth wall; the sigh was written all over its hairy face.
There are, of course, many more natural reactions you might expect a lion to have, when a human-sized meal wanders into its den and starts goading it. Roaring is one; pouncing and proceeding to destroy is another. This lion demonstrated impeccable subtlety, and commendable restraint.
The woman does not seem to have been hurt. The Bronx Zoo — which is aware of the breach — did not clarify whether or not she was removed from the premises, or whether or not any other action has been taken against her. The zoo did, however, issue a statement warning others against emulating the stunt: "This action was a serious violation and unlawful trespass that could have resulted in serious injury or death. Barriers and rules are in place to keep both visitors, staff, and animals safe. We have a zero tolerance policy on trespass and violation of barriers."
Fair! But, back to the lion: just imagine what you could do, if you too possessed its steely patience. A calendar notification pops up in your email, informing you of the two-hour PowerPoint looming in your future when you're already on deadline? Whatever; in your mind, you've already fish tubed yourself over this odious obligation and into your pajamas for a Fleabag binge. A garbled message sifts through the subway speakers, informing you that your rush hour C train is now an F train but will soon become an A train? There's you, standing by unruffled, maybe mildly confused but largely unconcerned. Oh, Rudy Giuliani is opening his turtle mouth for some reason? Not today, Satan! You simply can't be bothered.
To be very clear, we cannot and do not condone the deliberate provocation of big cats. Do not ambush the lion in its home! You can admire its cool forbearance from afar.