Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cossacks to be you.

LaHipster and I had been planning a trip to the circus, but she had to bow out and was afraid she had depraved me of the circus-going experience I so rightly deserved. "Don't worry," I said. "I'll take SmartyPants with me, she's from out of town and will have no say in the matter." I wrote to SmartyPants to ask her if she was one of those people who are deathly afraid of clowns so I think she was already suspicious. On Friday night, as I was going over plans for the next day, I asked her, "Have you guessed where we're going?" I was a little nervous she would not feel the inherent joy that a trip to the Big Top can bring.

"Is it the circus?" she asked.

"It is," I said and then Smarty started screaming and jumping up and down. Which, come to think of it, was exactly how I reacted when Smarty asked me to be her Maid of Honor and about 50% more excited than Smarty had been when FribsinCharge asked her to marry him. Sorry Fribs, but this is the circus we're talking about here. And not just some podunk circus, this was the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus is Madison Square Garden.

When I was a young child, maybe 5 years old, my family was going to the circus with another family of friends. I remember that I had a headache, which I realize now was probably a migrane. I was afraid that if I told my mother that I had a headache, she wouldn't let me go to the circus. So I didn't say anything. The only thing that I remember from that big night is that we had taken our seats, the circus was starting and my father and just bought me a toy, a stuffed bunny. And then I threw up. All over myself. All over the bunny. And possibly all over my mother and/or father. My father, in his characteristic way, responded by yelling, "That's it, no more circus!" and I hadn't been back since.

It was my first time at Madison Square Garden, and it is big. As soon as we walked in, Smarty and I were bombarded by people selling brightly colored circus crap. Like plastic toys that light up and spin around and are truly bitchin' but not quite bitchin' enough to warrant their $18 price tag. Circus prices are funny! A box of popcorn costs $7. A soda costs $9. A soda in a "souvenir cup" (giant plastic mold of scary tiger or elephant) costs $12. See, the circus is entertaining already!

As the lights dimmed and we waited for the circus to start Smarty asked me, "Is there going to be a Ringmaster?"

"Yes. Are we going to be sexually attracted to him? Probably." Smarty nodded her head. "Because he controls the circus!"

The circus could not get started until we all saluted and the National Anthem was played. "Oh give me a break," I said. "We're at the freakin' circus." But Smarty told me we needed to stand up.

The the circus started. There were clowns, jugglers, stilt-walkers, horse-back riders, acrobats, aerealists, motor cycle drivers, elephants, dancers, a Strong Man and a llama that made a cameo appearance. There was probably some other stuff, but I forget.

Smarty's favorite act was Madam Shamsheeva, the animal trainer who worked with cats. Not big cats mind you, no tigers or lions in sight. We're talking about house cats. And doves, and later, in the second act, dogs. Oh, Madam Shamsheeva held those cats above her head and danced around the ring. The cats did pretty humiliating tricks, so I found some entertainment value in it. Smarty was laughing so hard, I thought she was going to die. When we watched a cat ride a dog who was dancing on his hind legs, I had to laugh too. Our least favorite was the clowns. Clowns are not funny, but sometimes they are sad. All the clowns were white, except for one Black clown whose name was something like "Funkmaster Giggles". I cringed.

Smarty and I have a new ambition, to become Herkulettes, the back up dancers that hang on Herkules (sic) the Strongest Man in the World. Actually, this is not our ambition, but I would like to write that class note for the Smith Alumnae Magazine.

One of my favorite acts was the Cossacks on horseback. This guy thinks he saw a Cossack but clearly he is mistaken, because his Cossack does not have long flowing hair or large upper arms. Also he is riding on top of his horse instead of underneath the horse like our Circus Cossacks. And would the circus lie to you? I don't think so. In fact, after we left the circus I asked Smarty if she wanted to find the stage door so that we could try to pick up a Cossack. But of course, Smarty said no because she is engaged to be married and therefore has no use for a spare Cossack.

Of course, one of the best things about the circus is circus food. Sweet, sticky, over-priced circus food. Of course, I already ate a cupcake the size of my head earlier that day, so I just had a pretzel and a few of Smarty's Twizzlers. I did seriously think about a Sno Cone (the negative "w" makes it extra delicious) and some Cotton Candy. Although I am 25 years old, I still consider Cotton Candy a viable option even considering everything I know about sugar and tooth enamel. However I just couldn't bear to be that sticky. Last night I bought some wet-wipes just in case I am ever in a Cotton Candy-ready situation again.

Here's the last thing I want to say about the circus although God knows I could go on forever. Looking around, Smarty and I were pretty much the only pale faces in our section and the neighboring section too. Perhaps one explanation is that all the white families sprung for the more expensive seats or opted for a matinee? I'm going to try to believe this theory, because I'm telling you right now White America, if you think you're too good for the circus, then I am handing in my last "flesh" colored Band-Aid and walking away from this whole sorry race.

The next day, when I talked to my father on the phone I told him I went to the circus. "But you're not allowed to go to the circus!" he said. And then, after a pause, "Did you throw up?" I swear, that man has a memory like an elephant but only for the history of Cupcake and puke (which I must admit is long and colorful. Not the puke, the history).


Cupcake said...

Hmm, aparently there are no circus lovers in the Cupcake Mafia. Possible PETA fiends? Note to self: lay off the three ring material.

Lord of the Barnyard said...

circuses (possibly circi?) are bad bad bad. almost amish bad. *shudder*

Policate said...

Oh come on! Ya gotta love the circus! I grew up in a really small town (10,000 people) and we had the
Shrine Circus in the high school gym. This was a REALLY small gym. You haven't lived until you have sat so close you can smell the elephant shit. That's all I can say!

Beta said...

My favorite part is the title. I love a good pun! (I'm not ashamed to admit that I had to look up the word cossack)

Joshua said...

Cossacks are bad, bad, bad. They're why I have so many blonde relatives...

LaHip said...

Your readers are either morons or liars. Everyone loves a circus. Everyone.

There was nary a cupcake in Trinidad, sad to say.