The Circus of Life
At home in July, as I’ve mentioned, things were a little bit crazy! Here in Mwanza now, things are a little bit crazy. I wonder, am I doomed always to live in total mayhem? I have asked myself if I create it, but I really don’t think I’m entirely to blame. I mean several of the situations happening at the moment are, sadly, to do with people coping with health issues in their family’s and thus needing to leap suddenly into action (this is something which is especially hard when you live far away from people you know and love – we talk about the world being a small place, but when you need to be with someone you love it can suddenly seem very big indeed and mobilizing is neither easy nor cheap). I’ll admit some of it is down to me though – I just can’t seem to do anything by half!
During my time in the UK a very good friend (soon to be bridesmaid!) took me to the circus as my birthday present. I haven’t been since I was a child and it was all big top and elephants – these days it is a seriously classy affair, harking back to glamorous days of tradition and running away!
As I sat in the audience laughing at the policeman we all loved seeing fail, the faithful dog who’d do anything for his cheeky master, the slightly bonkers woman with her birds and the tightrope walker so in love (metaphor anywhere?!). The band, the ring master, the acrobats who make it all look so easy… I couldn’t help thinking it isn’t all that far removed from life. These characters (not quite so characatured perhaps) are everywhere, and in an ex-pat community – which often attracts more extreme personalites anyway – where everyone tends to know each other fairly well, it becomes the spice of life. Bring on the clowns I say!
I guess I’ve been a juggler lately, tongue sticking out from the side of my mouth in concentration. Every few days I’ve dropped a ball (or a flaming baton!) and every time one of my friends, or my fiancé, has been there to catch it – just like those juggling teams at the circus.
But the more I got digging into this extended metaphor, the more I realised this has quite a reach. I mean it’s the Western World’s rat race, with your boss – the ring master – cracking the whip, and your mad commute to work (don’t tell me leaping onto a moving horse doesn’t compare to how you feel sometimes!) right through to the antics in the Serengeti where one chases the other who is chasing the other!
Which reminds me, I read a great little story the other day. It’s one you might well know but here it is just in case…
Every morning in Africa a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa a Lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death.
Now the lion that follows this is ‘It doesn’t matter if you are a Lion or a Gazelle, when you wake up you’d better be running!’ which is intended to inspire and motivate, and does to some extent, but you’ve got to admit the whole thing also just sounds slightly messed up in the bizarrely balanced world/circus we live in when you put it like that!
Eat or be eaten? Come on. I just wanna have a nice day, enjoy the scenery a little bit, stretch my legs maybe. I know I’ll have to go back in, but just for today I’m stepping out of the circus tent and off the metaphorical plains of the Serengeti! Anyone else feeling the same?