First off, have you voted? No. Go do that before reading on.
Truth: I once ran away to join the circus, trapeze is hard and clowns are freaky as hell.
It was 8 years ago, it was my friend’s birthday, and he wanted to go to circus school to celebrate. Sounded like a great idea to me. A group of us signed up to go to a weekend thing at a local circus school (who knew that was even a thing?!).
We did all sorts of stuff like tumbling, trapeze, some hoop thing, etc. It was a lot of fun but holy shit was it hard. I felt so awkward. Kind of like a baby horse. Legs and arms everywhere.
Trapeze was by far my favourite thing. Not that we really got to do anything crazy. We basically just practiced the moves that real trapeze artist do when they are swinging and catching each other way above the ground. For us the bar was only about 5′-6′ off the ground and mostly not swinging. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be doing all that while moving and actually going from bar to bar. So hard!
And yes, it’s sad (and slightly embarrassing) but true, I do think clowns are freaky. They fall into the same category as those people dressed up in character suits at theme parks. I once had a Yogi Bear chase me around at Wonderland trying to hug me. Now that my friends is some scary shit. It was also the start of my mild phobia that also extends to magicians in restaurants (I’m looking at you Boston Pizza).
Truth: I’ve out-roared lions on countless occasions.
This experience is attached to the best summer job ever. After I finished my veterinary science program in 2003 I worked in the Education Department at the Toronto Zoo for a summer. Me and 3 other girls planned and then ran the overnight Bush Camp.
Guests would arrive and we’d take the Zoomobile out to the bush camp. On the ride we’d pretend that we were real guides from Africa and that we were actually travelling from the Americas to Africa (conveniently we went through that section of the zoo to get to where we needed to go). We even gave ourselves African names (I can’t remember how mine was spelt but I think it was something like Nia).
Once guests were settled we went on a very fast hike and a behind the scenes tour with the elephants and then the baboons and cheetahs. Next was dinner and some sort of activity that we’d drag out until it got dark. Once it was dark we’d head back out into Kesho Park for a night hike. And this my friends is where it gets more interesting.
Most zoo visitors don’t get to see this side of the zoo, most don’t ever look past the live animals. The Toronto Zoo has done a pretty good job of simulating a real African Savannah with baobab tress, red rock outcrops, mud huts, termite mounds, a leopard kill way up in the trees, etc. We point all these things out and then begin to approach the lion den.
We tell everyone that we need to be silent and we approach from downwind. And then we stop and wait. I let out the deepest roar I can make, from deep down in the back of my lungs. The visitors quietly laugh and joke that I sound more like a strange dog cow then a lion. Sometimes I need to make a second call followed by little grunts. And then everyone’s face lights up because we’ve gotten a response. We’re interlopers and this territory belongs to another pride. The lions sing and it’s amazing. And I just smile because for a fraction of a second I was singing that wild song with them.
Lie: I may be a big AA wimp now but I used to consistently ride and compete at the 3’3″-3’6″ level.
I may have been slightly braver when I was younger but I’ve maybe only jumped that high once. It was right after I got my first horse. My coach and I wanted to see how high she’d jump so she kept raising a single vertical. Shortly after that I started to lose my nerve for all things resembling a rhythm and height. As for competing, I’ve only done one full season on the Trillium circuit and one summer doing open schooling shows (both with Tucker). Other than that, I’ve only done a couple shows here or there.
Thanks again Amanda from Bel Joeor for the post idea.