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The Family Circus

We took our kids to the circus yesterday and I have to say, not many people seem to be pursuing careers in that competitive field anymore. It seems like the circus we saw was made up of families who have been passing down their acrobatic talents from generation to generation and unfortunately, some of these families need to clean up their act. There were all kinds of performers on hand to entertain us, including the Flying Wallendas who are this well-known circus family who can ride bicycles in tandem across a tight rope with their dad balancing on another wire that his sons carry on their shoulders; and then they had this motorcycle family (don't know their last name) - who race through a circular contraption and even had their five year old son show off on his motorcycle too...note to the motorcycle family - shouldn't you wait until your kid is 18 before you stick him on a motorized vehicle and have him perform for strangers? There was even this old married illusionist couple who I'm sure have been in the circus for like 50 years, who kept on changing costumes right before our eyes - drape a red scarf around her and sudddenly, she's in a red dress, cover her up in a green cone, and yup, you guessed it, she's wearing a green outfit. I can do the same thing at Ann Taylor Loft, but I prefer not to have spectators watching my every move as I try to shove myself into 5 pair of pants from the sale rack in less than 10 minutes.
Next were the miniature ponies - who ran around in a circle as a man tried to whip them into shape - but the ponies had no use for him - as he tried to force them run around in tandem, they pretty much did their own thing and ignored most of his commands. Then there were the elephants - the highlight of the show - but they all looked pretty sad - as if this was the most tired circus they had ever participated in in years. I bet when they went back to their tents, they probably waxed nostalgic about how great it was in the old days, when they were on the circus fast track. Now they're reduced to sitting on each other for laughs or giving rides to ungrateful kids whose parents had to shell out 10 bucks for them to take them around the circle for approximately a minute and a half. Hmmm...not such a bad deal - maybe I should strap on an elephant suit and start giving rides myself. There were also aerialists who were actually in need of practice, a juggler who dropped the hoops he was spinning and a ring leader who made us feel guilty for not purchasing the electronic rip off spinning toys they were selling to keep the kids entertained during intermission. There were some highlights - the hula hoop lady - who spun like 50 hula hoops around her waist that was incredible, the face painting - which only cost $5 per kid was totally reasonable and we really did like the elephants even though we felt bad for them; and there was this amazing family of drummers from Peru or New Mexico I think...they were really good and had my kids bouncing right along in their seats...unless that was the soda talking...because 30 seconds later, I was escorting both of them to the bathroom.
Aside from the circus in the center ring...there were also some performers right next to us in the audience. There was the coughing seal behind me - a kid who proceeded to cough up whatever virus was coarsing through his body onto the rows in front of him (yup - that would be me); or the swashbuckler next to my husband - a three year old boy who kept poking him with the plastic sword his parents bought to keep him entertained; there was the crier - a boy who really didn't want to be at the circus; the muncher - the girl who sat next to me who pretty much noshed on food throughout the performance - my personal favorite moment was when she tried to fold away her tin foil and plastic container and the noise was so loud it interfered with the family of drummers from Peru. All in all, we did have a fun time - sure it seemed like a throwback to another era, but sometimes, it's nice to step back in time and get away from technology for a change. Maybe next week we'll see if Vaudeville is making a comeback.

Posted in: Blog, Undercover Mom on 02/19/2007


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