Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Under the Big Top

All my life, I have loved the circus. Now, to be clear, when I say "circus" I mean the uber-professional Ringling Brothers circus that features lots of animals and acts and quality clowns that don't give you nightmares. So when a circus popped up in town in a parking lot, and I was gifted free tickets, I figured it was worth a shot. I came equipped with very low expectations. I pictured carnies in rags parading one pathetic, malnourished elephant around a tiny ring. Puff? Well, he was thrilled.
When we arrived, the line was about 20 people deep and the car lot was practically barren. A few llamas and camels were in a tiny pen where kids could partake in a "free petting zoo." I use that term loosely since you couldn't reach the camels and were not allowed in to actually touch the other animals. That one pathetic elephant was set up for rides in a far corner of the parking lot, but he was unattended and no one ever rode him.
We were supposed to have ringside seats, but the entire ringside area was full. I wasn't about to argue for my free tickets, so I found the only person who seemed to be in charge (who was totally rocking a bright gray mullet) and he handed Puff two folding chairs for us to place at our leisure. I knew we were in trouble when the "safety net" for the first act was held in place by two scrawny, coked-out carnies dressed in all black. One later dropped his cigarette from behind his ear on to the ground, where camel poo had just been swept, and he picked it back up and stuck it right back behind his ear for later.
These girls were the best act we saw. They actually weren't bad to look at and seemed to have honed their craft. The clown looked like they drug him out of an alley-way and the other acrobats were so chunky in their skin-tight outfits, their muffin tops were delectably tasty looking. Not to mention the leotards some had with flames on the crotch. Good message there, kids!
I'm not an animal person, as you know. So when they led a herd of camels into the ring and had them running in circles less than 5 feet from my personal space, I was thrown into sheer terror. I tried to snap a few photos, but feared the camera at my face would somehow make my inevitable escape from a runaway camel all that much slower. Death by camel is not how I envisioned my life ending.
Much to Puff's dismay, I had had enough by intermission. They had started 20 minutes late and with them clearly not having their act together, I figured we'd be there past midnight just to see that one pathetic elephant kneel on command. Choking on exhaust fumes from a super awesome (insert eye roll) motorcycle in the air performance, we made a bee-line for the exit. The whole way home, Puff bitched about missing the second act. I promised him tickets to see the Ringling Brothers circus next time it's in town.
I even promised him popcorn just to shut him up.

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