Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Circus

We took our girls to the circus last night.  It was so fun to be with them seeing all the animals.  Eldest hated the tigers, but loved everything else.  She was most intrigued by the camels and zebras.  Baby was terrified of the tigers but really loved the 6 motorcycles in the globe of death and the elephants.  We all loved the elephants.  I enjoyed the horses particularly.  The worst part of the whole evening was trying to convince the Eldest that she didn't need a $16 twirly light toy.  I hated to disappoint her, but I can't justify spending $16 on a toy that I have actually purchased for $7.  I'm half Jewish and half Scottish.  Sue me. 

The girls are what made the circus fun.  If I had gone by myself, I would have been disappointed.  The first time I went to the circus was when I was about 6 or 7.  I went with my Brownie troop to see Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus' Wild West show.  Perhaps it's because I'm remembering it through my child eyes that it seemed so wonderful.  In my memory it seemed much more glittery.  All the costumes had sequins sewn onto them so that they would reflect the stage lights and they were bright bold colors like red and blue and green and white.  This show was all blacklight and flourescence.  Pretty, but kind of done to death. 

The acts weren't as good either.  They just didn't seem death-defying.  In the circus of my memory, when someone would do something spectacular, the ringmaster would bellow, "IS-HE-ALLRIGHT?  And you would wait with baited breath, biting off the ends of your fingers until the performer would reappear with his arms outstretched and his chest thrust out, upon which you would cheer wildly wondering what else could possibly top it. 

This edition of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus boasts the first black ringmaster.  He isn't bad, but he reminded me forcefully of Wayne Brady.  He also seemed like too fine a singer to be wasting his talent in a stunt show, but then again, talented singers are often out of work, so I guess he takes what he can get.  Very sensible.  My only real beef with him was that he didn't sound like he believed a thing that was coming out of his mouth.  It seems like a small thing, but the ringmaster's job is to sell you a bill of goods.  I won't believe him, but I expect him to make me try. 

Another thing related to the ringmaster was the talk about saving endangered species.  It is a very trivial point, but from a purely nostalgic view, it is annoying to have real-life problems horn their way into a fantasy world.  The circus always seemed to have operated on the fringes of society.  The preformers were so mysterious, the animal trainers were so commanding, and the whole circus seemed to be a life force of its own - its own community with its own set of rules.  I know animals shouldn't be treated cruelly and I know that endangered animals should be taken care of.  It reflects upon us as a society.  Us though, not them.  I kind of selfishly felt that the circus should only comply silently with the animal protection laws and not discuss them with anyone else.  But their bringing up a political issue during the circus made it lose a little of the mystery, and made it seem ordinary.   On a larger scale, it just exemplifies my weariness with political correctness.  I am so tired of being lectured to by any political group that has managed to grab a little political leverage.

Related to this is the theme of this circus.  It was very Asiatic.  Like it was trying to be Cirque du Soleil.  I'm sorry, but I want The Greatest Show On Earth to be pure Americana.  They can do an Asian theme, but I want it full of American stereotypes (nice ones, not mean ones).  If I wanted Cirque du Soleil, I could watch the Sundance Channel, but I wanted the cotton candy, peanut, popcorn, and elephant driven circus that I remembered.   And the almost nude ladies.  The new costumes were downright conservative.  No I'm not bi.

The highlight of the night for me, was during the intermission when Jeth and I went to get the girls cotton candy (we left them with their aunt).  While we were waiting in line, a lady lost her kid and started screaming "AVERY! AVERY! AVERY!" at the top of her lungs.  Everyone just stood there like morons staring at her.  I did too, but then thought that perhaps security should be notified.  I was making my way to the nearest security guard, when the little girl ran crying up to her mom, who screamed, "WHERE WERE YOU??!!!!"  The poor kid started crying harder as her mom smothered her in hugs and kisses. It was moving, but I was torn between contempt for the mom whose logic had totally fled, the memory of my mother doing the exact same thing when I disappeared in a department store when I was 4, and the uncomfortable realization that I had done the same exact thing when Eldest had run away from me (deliberately) at Target.  But my screams were angry and theirs were manic. Regardless,  that mom's cries will give me nightmares for years to come.


Vadergrrrl said...

You sound like such a good mom, and a great person.

Ahh the circus!

Zelda said...

{Sigh} I hope I'm a good mom, but it is the only thing that I am really unsure about. I am pretty confident about everything but that. Thanks though.

jp said...

I hate clowns. :)

Zelda said...

I used to collect clowns. Harlequins to be exact.

Greg said...

I was always disappointed when the Bearded Lady refused my advances.