For one thing, on the drive in, we passed all the traveling trailers lined up in the parking lot. It was a massive amount of them— like an entire alternative city in the middle of Long Island. And even though this was Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth, the trailers were dated and dingy and not that dissimilar from something you'd find on the set of Like Water For Elephants.
Except the circus in Like Water For Elephants traveled by train, didn't they?
Never mind. You get the picture I'm trying to paint though, right?
Clothes lines and strands of lights and outdoor table set-ups— it was clear each one was owned by an acrobat, a clown, or an animal tamer and this was a way of life, not a day job.
Did the motorcyclists look down on the clowns? Were the trapeze artists sleeping together? Did the lion tamers get all the girls?
And then every once in awhile, I'd think something along the lines of…
The elephant clumbsily standing on one leg can't possibly be happy…
I really hope today is not the day the lion decides to enact revenge…
And the whips. The whips made me uneasy.
But pesky thoughts of animal cruelty aside, we all very much enjoyed the circus. It was just laden with a lot more context than I remembered.
I know what you're thinking!
You're thinking— how the hell did you have time to focus on CONTEXT when you were busy corralling a two-year-old so she didn't run straight into the ring, mount a horse and join up on the spot?
WELL. This is gonna be like when you watch an episode of The Simpsons and the episode starts out being about one thing and then midway through, you realize the episode is actually about something else entirely.
This post is actually about revealing THE GREATEST SECRET to "toddler-circus-going" EVER.
This is super specific. So specific, it might not pertain to anyone going to the circus at any place other than the Nassau Colleseum. And it's so good, I can't believe I'm sharing.
Last weekend, we discovered "BOX SEATS".
I'm talking about box seats masquerading as ROW M in the 200s section. They cost exactly the same as any of the other seats around it and we bought them totally by accident. In the seating diagram, they just look like the last row in the section.
We didn't know what we were getting until the usher pointed us to them. At which point, I might have screamed and did a little happy dance.
ROW M has cushy velvet seats, sits higher above the rest of the section and is almost totally enclosed by a wall. This means your toddler is free to run around, stand up, kick the wall, lay out her food stuffs on the ledge in front of her, etc. without bothering anybody.
PLUS— she can't get out!
I say this as a parent who took her child to see Sesame Street Live and was so traumatized by the experience that I have yet to write about it. Basically, Mazzy had a hard time understanding why the aisle leading up to the stage wasn't a direct invitation and we practically had to duct tape her to the seat to keep her from bumrushing Cookie Monster.
So the circus was a very nice change.
Even if the trapeze artist broke the ringmaster's heart and a lion attacked a clown (not really).
Mazzy was CONTAINED and that made for a very good time.
(Well, except for the part where she ran off with the motorcyclists…)