Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Circus

We went to the circus with the kids for the first time on MLK day.  The last time Michael and I had been to the circus was when we were dating.  This was the Shiner's Circus, so while a three ring act, it was smaller and more intimate than a Ringling Brothers production.

My kids knew nothing about the circus or what they would see.  I guess it has been too long since Jo Jo's Circus was on Disney, though the older two really did love that show back in the day.  We still have the lunch box to prove it.  The funny thing was the week before the circus, before we even knew we were going, Eliza Claire had bought a Playmobil dog circus act.  I had to explain to her what dogs did in the circus so she knew what all the pieces were for.  The figures in the Playmobil set have much more modest costumes than the ones we saw at this circus.  Speaking of which, is it really necessary to have every female in the show in as few of clothes as possible?  I mean really, what is the point?

Our seats were great we were on the third row of risers.  The arena is not huge - big enough to be home of a local minor league hockey team and to host concerts and Disney on ice but only really one tier of seating.  We were dead center facing the center ring.  It was perfect.

While on the whole I like the circus, there are aspects I don't like or that make me nervous.  I really, really don't like the large cat acts, this circus had tigers.  I have too vivid an imagination and I was sitting there watching the tigers and thinking about what I'd do if they decided they didn't like their handler.  Or what I'd do if one got out.  I mean, I took my kids to the circus to make lifetime memories but what if our show was the one you hear about every so often where someone got mauled.  Those are not the kind of memories I want to make with my children.  I like the elephants, the acrobats, the clowns.  None of them make me too nervous.  But I don't like the tigers, and motor cycles and human canons.  I know they all do this stuff everyday, but it just makes me nervous that I'll be watching the one time they screw it up. And yes, I realize that sometimes it is the elephants that go crazy.

Don't all animal handlers look like this?  Through the whole cat act I kept thinking "she's herding cats" and almost giggling at the absurdity of it
Doesn't look to thrilled about the whole process

As the show started, I had the thought "So how do you end up working at the circus? I've never heard anyone say 'when I grow up I want to be in the circus!'"  So who decides to choose the circus as a career? Or do you choose the circus as a career?  Or do you wake up one day and wonder how you ended up as a circus entertainer?  That then led to wondering how long they work there? And, what they think about the constant travel? And, what they do when the retire from the circus?

All of this got me thinking about the animals and what they think of being in the circus.  And what kind of conditions they live it.  I'll be honest, I pretty much assume they are well treated and don't mind.  I like to think they are treated like my pets, as part of the family and that they enjoy what they do.  I know that is probably not accurate but I also know these animals have never know any other life.  They were not stolen out of the wild and then brought to this life.  They were born to it.  I truly hope they are treated with love and kindness and as much affection as I treat my pets. 

This thought process of course took some of the joy out of the circus for me.  But my kids, of course, were not thinking any of these things and they loved almost every minute of it.  Eliza Claire's favorite was the Elephants.  Ruby's favorite was the dancers (this thrilled me to no end given the wardrobe and the nature of some of the dancing).  Rehm's favorite was the human canon and Charlotte loved it all execpt the human canon.  In fact the three girls were so freaked out by the idea of the human canon that I had to take them out of the arena before the act. Part of me was sad to miss it.  But part of me was glad I didn't have to convince myself I wasn't going to see the dude smash his head into a rafter or something.

Eliza Claire looked like this through most of the show. A little uncertain but OK.

Ruby spent most of the show on her Daddy's lap.  Charlotte was sitting on the other side of our friends that went with us so I don't have any pictures of her but I promise she really was there.

The really "big" excitement of the entire three hour event was the elephant that pooped right in the middle of its act without ever pausing in its performance.  Of course this part of the act was when the elephant was facing the opposite side of the arena so we had a very up close and personal view of the elephant backside while it was doing its business.  Did I mention we had really good seats?  Did I mention this was not a quick or small occurrence?   The kids were thoroughly amused and grossed out at the same time.  And with it being twenty feet away there was no way to not watch it.  Be warned, if you see my children and ask them about the circus this is what you are likely to hear about.

This is not the pooping elephant but this gives you an idea of the view we had for the "show"

All in all it was a fun afternoon and a fun family event (minus the scantily clad acrobats and dancers). 

Jenn - The Nervous Nellie

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