Life Under the Big Top
The Circus is in town! The Circus is in town! The voice in my head sounded eerily similar to the voices I remembered from my one experience of visiting the circus as a kid! And, like with my previous experience, that voice filled my entire being with a sense of excitement! The Circus is in town!
It was late in the afternoon on a Friday. The end of a really difficult week. The beginning of a difficult weekend! I was pooped! The week had in fact been so exhausting that I was feeling pretty clueless about what the fare would be for dinner, let alone how I was going to keep an 8 year old occupied for the entire weekend. It's not that I usually shirk my parenting duties over the weekend, rather, the week in review had been especially dismal and I was just too tired to plan. And so, it was with welcome relief that I noticed the circus was in town! What little boy wouldn't be excited? Heck, I was excited! I found a place to park, ran over to the ticket window and purchased two tickets for Saturday afternoon's show! This was going to be fun!
Several years ago, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey joined forces and now, here they were, the biggest thing at the STAPLES Center that weekend. And what a show it looked like it was going to be. Saturday dawned sunny and hot with hardly a breeze to be found. Like many of the residents of my fair city, we don't have air-conditioning in our home and so, I counted the minutes until it was time to join the throngs of families as we headed off to see The Greatest Show on Earth!
It didn't take me long to realize that taking your kid to the Circus is much less about them getting to see the elephants and tigers and much more about the ability of those hawking cheap souvenirs to part you from your hard earned cash. First stop was the concession stand where I dropped my first cool $50 all the while comparing this trip to some dates I've had (hint - they've been cheaper, nicer and probably with better results). As we collected our mugs, nachos, hot dogs, pretzels and soda, I had a quick desire to bolt out the front door. What had I gotten myself into?
Finding our aisle, we waited for an attractive lady to point us to our seats. They were good ones!! Only a few rows up, dead center and right on the aisle. There would be no climbing over anyone for us!! It also meant that the Circus hawkers had us in their sites. And man, did they ever have a lot of crap to see. First up was the guy with all these little wands with flashing lights ($20). Then came the guy with the cotton candy. At $12 I declined causing Paris to shoot me a death stare. It was the first of many I'm afraid! Word of advice, don't get to the show too early...you'll end up loosing your shirt before the show has started.
Finally, several thousand dollars later, the announcement was made over the loud speakers. The show was about to begin. Not a sound was heard as a hush fell over the crowded arena. Then, bursting out of the curtains came the clowns. The action was constant and hard to focus on! In fact, I found my eyes bouncing all over the arena as different things were going on in different areas. My head started to hurt!
Without notice, the lights in the arena dimmed and the booming voice of Ringmaster Tyron McFarlan welcomed us to The Greatest Show on Earth (I know, I've said it before...but heck, it's the Circus...what do you expect). For the next three solid hours, in a nicely chilled arena, the action was non-stop, and all over the place. Taba had his Tigers dancing on hind legs while trained horses did the fox trot (keeping their pooper scoopers quite busy in the process). There were brothers on high-line wires and flying trapeze artists. There were contortionists doing their thing next to elephants dancing round the staging areas tail to tusk. And all the while the clowns were busy interjecting themselves into every little thing and, as usual, causing mayhem. And then, with great fanfare, a giant cannon was brought in and the Ringmaster declared that we were going to be witnessing history. With a loud BOOM, Brian and Tina came flying out of the canon, skillfully sailing through the air! Whew! What a show!
I'll be honest, I was a little bit exhausted as we exited STAPLES! Paris on the other head had to tell me about all the things that I missed! He insisted on doing mad dashes followed by handstands and somersaults. I wanted a glass of wine and bed! Eventually we found our car, got in and joined the throngs of those who, like us, were still just a little bit over amped from all we had seen! As we headed down Figueroa, I heard the soft sounds of contented sleep coming from a little boy who had just left his first Circus.
Life under the big top is controlled mayhem! Much like our own lives! There are a lot of things vying for our attention, time and pocketbooks. Usually, right in the big middle of everything are the clowns causing mayhem and mischief. If you are like me, you find it all just a little bit exhausting! But as I looked over at my little boy, head leaned up against the window of the car with a full moon shining on him, I felt strangely warmed. I was reminded that as we journey through this life with all it's distractions, our Father God is watching over our every move and that it's ok to crawl up into his arms and take a little breather once in a while.
I enjoyed our time under the big top! It reminded me of life...real life!