18 August 2013

When the Circus Came to Town

There is a small circus going on in the lot next to Ben's school so we got two free vouchers for the kids if we bought tickets.
Cool, we love all circuses so we're in.

Show was at 3.30pm.
We arrived at 3.40pm to a very long line at the ticket booth. Hmmmm...
Plenty of people arrived after us.
There was another line for people who had groupon tickets or something so there was confusion and annoyance and plenty of those pesky people who can't accept being livestock in a line so insist on marching to the front to try to figure it out. They are the worst.

The lines kept changing as people realized they were in the wrong one but we stayed firmly in place.
Eventually another line started accepting cash-only sales so we lost more people from our line.
Then they called for more groupon or whatever to another place so even more defected.
At some point, we somehow became the last people in our line.
We absolutely can not figure out how this happened - there were no cutters (I'm from Tennessee, where we will perform a citizen's arrest if we spot line cutting) so we assume plenty of folks just gave up on this podunk little sideshow.

Finally, as we could already hear the late-starting festivities kicking into full gear inside, we reached the ticket booth with our little vouchers and our eagerness to see some half-assed clowning.
"Okay, the 3.30 show is sold out but we can get you into the 7.30 show."
"Do you want the 7.30?"

I looked at my children who would be white hot messes by 7.30 and wonder what the hell just happened.
I looked around and there is NO ONE else waiting.
Every single other person has gotten tickets.
"No, that's too late."

We started to trudge away and my anger was at a steady simmer while I tried to explain to Ben why we were walking away from the circus with its heavenly popcorn smell and the come-hither call of dated techno music.

Now, I am a shady parent at the best of times but when we are literally THE ONLY FOUR PEOPLE to be turned away from a suddenly sold-out circus, what bit of parental magic I may have, fails me.
"Why don't they have any more tickets?"
"Why can't I go to the circus?"

Ben starts to wail.
Tears are welling up in my eyes too.
I'm not weepy because I want to see this particular second rate shit-show but because this circus has become a living metaphor for our life at the moment.
Now I want to cry because I've said that a circus is a metaphor. Blech.

My husband is sometimes a much smarter person than I.
While I took my defeat swiftly and with much concealed fury as I marched across the school parking lot because we were too cheap to pay $3 for parking, Marcel had gone to the cash-only line to see if there are any lingering tickets there.
Magically, there were!

After a little confusion because we didn't actually have cash so they had to figure out how to physically carry two tickets to another booth where we could use our card (I was right about this circus being run by idiots), we were in!
And it only cost us 60 freaking dollars.
(Please keep in mind both kids were free so this is $60 just for Marcel and me.)

An usher showed us to our little ragtag section of morons who obviously don't use groupon or have cash so got stuck with the crappiest $60 seats in the big top:

The worst of the line obsessors, who marched to the front to figure out what was going on four different times, was there (of course).
The odd early 20s couple with no kids who looked like they were in the middle of a fight were there.
The family who each filmed every act of the show on their separate iPads or smartphones were there.
We were there.
Sitting at an angle to a giant rigging pole so we could see about half of what was going on.

Evan was terrified of everything to begin with - the woman on the swing, her dramatic music, the "clown" that looked like Carmine from Laverne and Shirley.
He was having none of it.
So we moved to the back row where we had more room for them to squirm and distract Evan.
Now we were directly behind the rigging so could see maybe 25% of the action.
Ben wanted popcorn, cotton candy and a blinking plastic gun that shot bubbles so naturally we bought and shared a $3 bottle of water because that's all the cash we had.

Ben asked where everyone was going at intermission.
Having no money and no desire to give any more to these circus hoodlums anyway, I didn't want him to realize there was a whole world of overpriced food and souvenirs beyond the door so I panicked and said everyone was going to the bathroom.
I think you know what happened next.
"I have to go to the bathroom too."
He did not need to go to the bathroom and I did not want to stand in a long line with a restless four year old for a port-a-potty experience so I held my ground.
Needless to say, we left the circus in a huff before intermission had even ended.

We are not doing this right.

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