When the circus is in town, people go in droves to see the trained performers, both human and animal. I was taken to the circus as a small child, and the only thing I remember well is getting to sit on an elephant. Even today, I would be more interested in the animal acts, but why pay when I can see animal performances for free?
One place I never expected to see such an act was a gas station. I don’t enjoy filling up the car, as the sources of contamination are legion, so I certainly don’t need some rogue animal making the process more difficult. One particular day, standing there by the car, I noticed a dog lurking around the station. Then the thing started coming toward my car. I was nervous at first – I am wary of strange dogs – but after watching him, he appeared to be harmless. And here I made a mistake: I let down my guard. I turned away for a moment to look at the gas pump, and the creature climbed right in my car! There was another mistake: leaving my car door ajar. And the dog didn’t just plant itself in the driver’s seat. No, it had to contaminate as much of my car as possible; it kept going until it reached the passenger’s seat. I could not believe my eyes. This was another example of something that could not be planned for. I walked around, opened the door, and scolded my wannabe passenger until he decided that he should exit.
I wanted to have a meltdown right there, but it was a public place with cameras, so I held myself together. I walked around to the pump to finish my transaction, and that’s when I discovered that I was dealing with a well-trained circus dog. Well, maybe not, but he definitely had a trick up his canine sleeve. He walked right around the vehicle and hopped in again! He was determined that we were going to take a ride together. The damage had already been done, so the second invasion didn’t make matters worse, but I didn’t want to spend all day chasing a dog either. So before going to scold him again, I closed the driver’s side door. (He probably got excited, thinking he had won.) I didn’t want to get in the car to drive home in my filthy car, but what choice did I have? Naturally, the car had to be super-cleaned and I had to take a super-shower that night.
Another time I was in a grocery store, and I encountered a much smaller creature. This creature had a tiny trick of its own – it appeared out of thin air. I was standing in the checkout line, when I saw a strange movement in the cart. It was something on my purse, which was sitting in the kiddie seat. I looked closer, and there was a black spider crawling out of my purse! As I have arachnophobia, I was panicked and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to make a scene, and somehow, while trying to decide my next move, I lost track of the spider. I don’t know if I was looking at the other people to see if they could sense my panic, or if I was moving forward in the line, but for a brief moment I wasn’t paying attention, and it disappeared. That really was a circus spider, appearing and disappearing right in front of me. I unloaded my groceries onto the counter, but every time I touched something, I was afraid I was going to pick up the spider. I didn’t see it anywhere, so I was worried that it had dropped back down into my purse. How I was able to get money out of my purse to pay is a blur. I was paranoid all the way home. I had placed my purse on the passenger’s seat, but I had to glance at it every five seconds to see if the spider was crawling out again. It didn’t. I took my purse in the house and set it on a counter. I put on gloves and dumped everything out of my purse, poised to jump back away from the spider at any moment. I looked over the contents. No spider. I moved things around. No spider. I tentatively looked inside the purse. Still no spider. That was a great disappearing act. I never found it, but I ended up throwing out the purse. It’s a good thing I had a backup purse.
I think I will stay home the next time the circus is in town. I’m not such a fan of performing animals after all.