So I’m in the lift travelling up to the fifteenth floor. Two elderly ladies are standing there discussing the weather, their taste in socks and the state of today’s youth (obviously terrible, misbehaved and no idea about discipline). The younger of the two (I came to this conclusion due to the fact that she had a less droopy bottom lip and less of an inclination to shoot daggers at me with her eyes) asked the other one where her dog was. The elder replied, “Well, my little doggy-woggy is so clever it knew that I wanted to take it to the vet and refused to leave the house. She’s so clever”.
She then added, “If they could talk we’d have so much more intelligent conversation, wouldn’t we?”
Now I thought about this and I reached three conclusions. Firstly, the elderly woman was attempting to take a swipe at her fellow lift-travellers. Or secondly, the elderly woman had completely lost her marbles and has such an unfulfilled life that conversing with her non-conversant dog has become a habit. Thirdly, the woman had no idea how ridiculous it would be if dogs could talk. I mean what on earth would they say? Oh look, there’s an arse I’d like to sniff – bring it on or something like: I fancy a good ball-lick. Anyone for tennis?
No, I think I’m quite happy with the fact that animals can’t talk. However, our desire to see animals talk, what we might call the Doolittle Syndrome might stem from an ancient ability we had to communicate with animals (and commune with nature) that has long since been lost. We talk about a sixth sense that some people have, for example. This might also explain why so many films and cartoons feature talking animals. There is something very natural about animals talking which is very hard to pinpoint.