Sunday, March 21, 2004

back from kinderhaus

We had a fun time. I slept most of the time on the way there, so it seemed like the total drive time was only half an hour, but having stayed awake on the return trip, I know it was closer to four. We saw family, horsed around with kids, went to the circus, and then drove back home, all in one day. Talk about power weekends. Now I'm all tired, and we have to go back to work tomorrow. I wonder if I can get some gig where I can work from home. You know, examine babies with a remote-controlled robotic arm while watching from video camera relay. What, not a good idea?

I realized it's been years since I've been to the circus--maybe something like 9 or 10 years, now that I think of it. I stopped going to them because I realized the circuses I preferred were the smaller one-ring affairs like The Big Apple Circus, but I'm allergic to horses, and being that close to the ring with the horses kicking up dirt and shedding their horsey dander all up in my craw sent me into bronchospasm, so I started avoiding the ringside. I know, I know, next time, Cirque du Soleil, right?

Anyway, the circus we went to yesterday was Ringling Brothers, which I really haven't been to for a long time, probably on the order of 16 or 18 years. Wow, I'm old. I think the last one I saw may have been that one that featured the "Unicorn." I remember being really disturbed when I read later on that it was just a goat with a transplanted horn bud (Warning: link page plays annoying music). And even at the time, watching the show, I was like, "what? He's just going to ride around the ring on a float? The fuck? I thought the unicorn was going to run around and do tricks and shit. Gyp!"

Anyway, the circus yesterday was unicorn-free. It was fun and all, but the action was really far away, and it was a little scary-Vegas style with all the lights and pyrotechnics. Also, I feel bad for the animals at these big circuses. Ringling Brothers have all these flyers out saying how good they are to their elephants and tigers and whatnot, like, "oh, we have this full-time vet that travels with us, we give them massages and aromatherapy every day, blah blah blah," but whatever, you know they're poking them with some cattle prod in the back every time they don't grab the tail of the elephant in front of them like they're supposed to.

Also, the merchandising at these things is totally out of control. We were placing bets to see who could most closely estimate the cost of one bag of cotton candy. Jen (Joe's sister) won with her guess of $7. It was actually $6 for a small bag (and trust me, we mean small) and $10 for a "large" bag with "souvenier hat" in the shape of a tiger head. And then of course there's the Sno Kones and popcorn and magic wands and swords and glow-in-the-dark-light-up-flashing things, all of which we bought (for the kids) and secretly cringed over. A $9 Sno Kone? Christ.

Well, they had a good time, and so did we. We left early because the natives were getting restless and it was approaching the bedtime hour, but I could have easily stayed for the whole thing. It was all very flashy and attention-grabbing, so I was entertained enough. My favorite act were the Chinese acrobats. I feel a kindship with my people. I just hope they weren't getting poked with the cattle prods in the back too. Hey chinky, this one's for dropping the ball on that last act! ZAP!

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