Saturday, September 10, 2011

A BBCHAT Follow-Up With Joanna Volpe and Insane Baboons

I've had more than a few followers contact me about the Joanna Volpe BBCHAT, wanting to know the story behind the true fact that baboons created over $500 in damage to her car. Luckily for everyone, Joanna's a sport and agreed to share the tale!

So, it was about 8 years ago, at Six Flags, NJ. I went with a big group of friends from college--we had at least 6 cars with us. And we had gotten one of those specials where the Safari comes with the package for free. So we decided to drive through. At the time I drove an old, 1993 Grand Marquis. Pretty sturdy car, no?

The safari was going great--our windshield got licked by a giraffe, the ostriches ran along side us. All fun and good. Then we came to the baboon territory. Now, in the essence of full disclosure, there was a sign that gave us the option to by-pass this section. It also warned us not to enter if you had a convertible top. That is all I remember as far as warnings go. And I had a Grand Marquis. It was practically a police car, and those cars are built well. Plus, I am one for adventure. So I entered.

And so did the other 5 cars in my group.

I must admit. I did not get the brunt of the damage. One of our friend's cars literally got STRIPPED. I'm talking headlights bashed out. Siding stripped off. Antennae's yanked out and tossed to the ground.  These baboons were INSANE.

On my car, I thought they were so freaking cute, hanging from my mirrors...that is...until they RIPPED THE MIRROR off. And then the other. And then went after the antennae.

I didn't even see it coming.

I was in the car with one other girl, and we actually started crying because baboons were all over the car.  In front of it, on the hood and trunk. Hanging from the sides. I was afraid of running one over, and I sat there as they tore my car apart. One mother baboon even strategically placed her BABY on the ground just a couple of yards in front of me. It was like she KNEW it would stop me from driving.

Damn the baboons.

In the car next to us was a group of guy friends, and they watched it happen. Then one brave and chivalrous fellow jumped out of his car and attempted to salvage one of my mirrors. (Which, as I look back, was *seriously* dangerous.) Right before the baboon let it up, it punched the mirror right in the center, forming that star-effect on the glass. So much for that.

Then, very suddenly, they were gone. We looked behind us and they were attacking a minivan with a poor family inside. But the baby baboon had been picked up (and probably strategically placed in front of the minivan), and we knew it was then or never. So we floored it.

And I heard this deep, hollow sound from top of my car to the trunk like Da-dun, da-dun, da-dun. Two freaking baboons were still there and had rolled off. And they were fine. They just jumped right up and joined the mini-van frenzy behind us.

When we left the safari, all 6 cars pulled up next to one another in the parking lot. We all got out, and looked slightly pale, with mouths hanging open. We surveyed the damage. And there was a LOT.  Then someone ran and got a Six Flags employee. He came over and advised that we "Check that pile over there."

We looked "over there" and there was indeed a pile. In fact, there were 3 or 4 piles. Of car parts.

They gave us each a couple for 10% off to return.

Moral of the Story: Baboons are not to be trusted with cars.

9 comments:

Jo-Ann said...

I've been visiting your blog for a while, Mindy, and enjoy the content, but loved this story enough to delurk and comment.

That is one truly amazing story. Yep, baboons (and many other primates) are smart and learn all sorts of ways to combat boredom. Plus they have amazing strength in their arms - I would have been terrified that one might have wrenched the door open! But what's most amazing was that the safari owners hadn't had the cr*p sued out of them - you've just gone and destroyed my preconceptions about USAians.

Escape Artist said...

I can't stop laughing. Seriously funny! I loved the 'she'll be right' attitude as you passed the warning sign, and then 'pow' right in the kisser! Too funny!

Mindy McGinnis said...

Jo-Ann - So glad you decided to comment! Yes, when I was reading the story I was thinking to myself, "Good Lord, Joanna is lucky to be alive, really...."

And yes, not all of us are sue-happy! Promise!

Mindy McGinnis said...

EA - isn't it though? I had so many people contacting me, totally shocked that the baboon fact wasn't the lie, that I had to get the lowdown. Luckily Joanna is a fun gal and was happy to share.

Stephen L. Duncan said...

W....T....F? Seriously. I'm watching the Discovery Channel for now on with a new-found respect.

Joanna said...

It was seriously one of the weirdest and scariest moments of my life. You can't mess with nature, man.

And yeah. My insurance company laughed at me. Apparently having baboons steal my mirrors doesn't fall under my Theft coverage....

leighbardugo said...

Good gravy. This is totally terrifying. Even at their friendliest, I'm not fond of baboons. Or apes. Or gorillas. Humans are iffy at best.

Gem said...

I've never been on a drive-through safari, but I had always wanted to. However, this very scary story plus the fact that my car is pink (which practically screams 'come lay on my roof' and 'here, male gorilla's, please take my pink mirrors as presents for your wives') makes me now not want to do a safari. Ever :)

Mindy McGinnis said...

SLD - yeah... I generally keep a healthy distance between mammals that are stronger than I am. I think it's a good survival policy.

Leigh - Humans? Oh, don't get me started on humans!

Gem - Hmmm... a pink car + raging baboons. It's like some kind of math equation that I don't have the function for.

Joanna - Thanks so much for sharing your story and visiting the blog!