Friday night we took the boys to the circus!! Oh yes, and it was quite a sight to see. Unfortunately, we were right by the speakers so it was even more a sound to hear!
Dandy, our sensory overload kid, began to panic when the Ringmaster started in with his first of many "chance of a lifetime" deafening announcements, and immediately smacked his hands over his ears preparing to block out all surroundings. I knew when I glanced back at him crumpled over his daddy and descending into the blank stare of self preservation, that I'd better get him engaged in the action of what was in front of him or he'd forever be terrified of striped vests and cotton candy.
So I snagged my little 40 pounder and put him on my lap, clasping my hands into suction cups on both sides of his ears and that seemed to help his comfort level enough to take in the visuals.
And now on with the show! They started right in with the big cats and up until I began squeezing Dandy's head in a vice grip, I had been happily filming tiny snippets of what I was seeing while they readied the animals. Here's a peek at how close we were to the action.
Oopsie. I quietly turned off the camera and lowered it down whistling guiltily at this point. Jamey said later that he thought the announcer man was looking right at me while he mentioned that no digital cameras were allowed at all (Yes, excited lady stuck on the gum covered bleacher end, that means you!!). Who had anything else? I wondered, looking around. Were we supposed to bring sketch pads and rapidly draw all of these "chance of a lifetime" experiences they kept reminding us of. What year is this again? I did actually see the lion tamer using a Polaroid at one point and it made me wish I still had my early 80's version with the handle crank that brought forth the white magical square of captured time.
Ahh, but I understood. I just didn't think I was in a fancy enough experience to leave to the professionals to film. But, for sure they don't want PETA in there with digital videos of those poor tired animals getting poked and prodded three hours a night. No way, no how.
I did think about how they were treating their animals and I was keeping a close eye on the way the workers interacted with them and cracked the whips toward them. I never care for that part of wild animal training. I don't like how the giant cats look mad and ashamed when a lion tamer is making them maneuver over metal frames and each other for tiny chunks of meat. Something about that seems so wrong. At the same time though it is fascinating to watch and I had happily paid to see it all myself.
I was worried for a particular doggie entertainer though. He was wearing a plush elephant suit and walking around like a wind up toy. It was one of the cutest things I've seen in a while, naturally, but the little poochkie had to have been burning up in that extra fur suit! It didn't help that he was acting like he was collapsing over and over for the clown who had repeatedly wound him up with a huge foil looking cardboard key. It just went on way too long for my comfort levels knowing I myself (who since jr.high has had very little body hair) was practically sweating pools from the heat in that place while this elephant dog was blindly running around and then collapsing over and over for crowds of shouting people's amusement.
But then the clown "revived" him finally and in one swift move had the costume off the scotty type dog, who then proceeded to bolt around the ring with the hi-pro glow of a champion- totally proud of his toylike performance!
I don't know what to think about any of that. I was mostly just so relieved that I myself wouldn't have to grow old wearing a sequined leotard and slogging through elephant dung most nights of the week. I mean there is just no way I am cut out for that stuff! We could see three generations of circus entertainers out there doing what they've always done with their lives and it really seemed so so... tiring and unglamorous.
Yet, it was good old fashioned entertainment in every sense of the word. The boys had a great time and even Jamey thanked me for making him go (hee hee). It was indeed a marvel of stunts and folly that only the Greatest Show On Earth is capable of. One might even go so far as to call it a chance of a lifetime.