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Posted: February 21, 2013 7:57 p.m.

The circus, camel conundrum

I’m usually a planner, and I actually get a little twitchy when I don’t know what’s happening when. If there’s an event happening and I plan to attend, I make those plans early on and follow through. But Tuesday, I got all impromptu and crazy and decided Colin and I should go to the little circus being held at the armory.

I haven’t been to the circus in forever and Colin has never been, so why not? We live close, so we decided to go and got there with about 15 minutes to spare. His admission was free; my ticket was $15. Seriously? This had better be some impressive entertainment for that. I don’t mind paying for things, but I don’t like to swipe my debit card unless I know I’m going to enjoy myself. I thought this was the same group that came a few weeks ago, with elephants and tigers and clowns galore. I was wrong. Ringling Brothers they were not, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

There were plenty of seats so I got happy about that; we got a good spot on the bleachers. There were camel rides beforehand and they gave Colin one for free. Not sure why exactly, but I like free, so we said thank you and I shoved him up the stairs toward the really big camel, hoping he didn’t fall off and crack something.

Despite the ridiculously loud music, I had hope. It didn’t have to be too impressive for Colin to like it. And let’s be honest, it wouldn’t have to be too impressive for me to enjoy it either. I’m like a cat with a paper bag.

I think Colin did like it. I would have preferred the paper bag. The fire eater burned his hand a little. I could tell because I was close enough to read his lips when he grabbed too closely to the flame. The juggler was a little weird. He was in a little spandex-circus outfit but was wearing New Balances sneakers, which threw me off a little. And he kept dropping things! I mean, he was still impressive. The most I can juggle is my life, and that doesn’t involve throwing pins and fire into the air. At least not yet. He did seem very keen on dancing to the really loud pop music, which was somewhat amusing.

Colin fell in love with the aerialist who looked kind of like a sixth Kardashian sister, and she was solid. But the lady who was herding the animals — I’m sure there’s a name for her, but I don’t know it — was a little off-putting. Mostly because you could tell the horses and camels were terrified of her little whip. It reminded me of the kids you see with their parents in Walmart who flinch every time their mom raises her hand. You know they get beaten a lot.

The camel had apparently had enough though. At one point, this giant camel decided he was done playing this little game and was going to peace out. In our direction. As the camel barrels toward us, Colin is making noises of joy and I am flipping out and trying to clutch him closer. The camel was quickly caught; otherwise we might have ended up in the hospital. Those things are massive in real life.

The camel was not actually as awful as the four kids sitting behind, and at times in front, of us. They probably wouldn’t have been awful if their parents weren’t being inattentive jerks. One of the boys got in trouble for throwing a basketball he found under the bleachers; the mother yelled at the camel girl because she wanted to dictate which kid rode where on the camel’s lumps; the girls kept laying down on the bleachers and knocking into me. At one point, they turned around and were telling Colin how the sword trick worked. These are the types of kids who will ruin Santa Claus for someone one day. When they spilled our popcorn and knocked my purse into the floor, I may have nudged one of them with my foot. Purely on accident and in a very maternal way.

The circus folk are total junk pimps too. Popcorn, face-painting, coloring books, cotton candy, glow sticks, pictures with snakes — you name it. By the time it was over, we’d seen a clumsy juggler, a Peruvian clown who danced to "Gangnam Style," two camels, two llamas, a snake, several ponies and one horse. Colin was not pleased. After years of reading "If I Ran the Circus" by Dr. Seuss, he was looking for a tent and some tigers. I gave him stale popcorn and a rouge camel. This is what happens when I don’t use my planner.

Amber Pittman is a reporter for The Covington News. She can be reached at apittman@covnews.com com.

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