So, I kind of feel like we should really properly get to know each other now. I’ve told you what I think about Heidi Klum (she’s evil), German theatre (it’s ace) and birthday parties (they’re exhausting). But now I am gonna tell you about myself. And the two most important things you need to know are
A) I am a very paranoid person and
B) I was raised very politically correctly.
So. About my politische korrekte Erziehung. I might as well’ve been raised by vegan lesbians in an igloo, for the amount of fun I had growing up. I wasn’t allowed Barbies, My Little Ponies, Care Bears, guns or weapons of any kind, or chocolate. I went out with a Palestinian once and he said to me: “There are kids in Afghanistan who have more toys than you did.” Which is probably true, to be fair. Although, sometimes, especially as a teenager, I did so love my mother and her politically correct ways. She really confused the other girls in my class – they could never understand why we were allowed to say fuck in front of her, but never prozzie or tart.
“What’s a tart?” My mother would sniff disapprovingly. “A tart is a small cake you can get from Mr. Kipling. It’s not a word which describes a girl or a woman.”
Anyways, so the only circus I ever, ever, EVER went to was a PC-vegetarian-virgin-style one, with loads of acrobats swirling around in the air, a few clowns, and then some blokie dressed up like an elephant. It was fantastic.
Now we get to the paranoid side to me. What am I talking about, paranoid side? I don’t have any UNparanoid side. I am a Very Paranoid Person. You know what it’s like when you’re paranoid? It’s like your brain is working too fast, and it can’t slow down. People are talking to you, and you’re trying to listen to them, but you’re jumping ahead from them, racing away, spinning, spiralling, into paranoid thoughts and fantasies, like they’re a swimming pool, and you’re jumping in, naked, possibly in a shampoo/ice-cream advert or similar. It’s like you RUN to the bad thoughts, even though you invent them yourself. It’s pretty exhausting, to be honest.
Someone tells you’re intelligent, you think they mean ugly. Someone tells you you’re pretty, you think they mean stupid. Someone tells you you’re looking thin, you think they mean old. Someone asks you where your kid is, you think they mean: “Where the fuck is your fucking kid, you Rabenmütti-whorebag, sluts like you should be fucking sterilized, if only I had studied medicine and had my toolkit on me I’d do it my fucking self, I bet you don’t even know where his fucking Regenhose are, do you bitch.” Hmmmmnnn. You’re right about the last one, by the way. Just because you’re being paranoid, doesn’t mean that everyone doesn’t hate mothers.
But sometimes paranoia can work the other way, too. You see a poster for a circus. It’s a nice poster. Bright, cheerful colours. Well-designed. Appealing. Happy. Underneath the name of the circus are the words “Mitmachzirkus”. Erm. I mean, is the word. Your paranoid brain, so used to running away with itself, now runs away in a better direction, to a better place – to a world where some circus out in Hellersdorf is actually going to be a magical circus-based creative workshop acrobatics festival, where the kids will be taught how to do somersaults and/or get their faces painted for free.
“Shall we go to the Mitmachzirkus, Rico?” You suggest, happily. “They’ll teach you how to juggle! There’ll be clowns there, running workshops, and you’ll get your face painted for free.” For some reason – because you’re mad, basically – you temporarily suppress any memory or knowledge of the Animal Torture element of circuses. You know.
Which was how come I spent Friday afternoon in an old-skool. old-fashioned, olden-days Hellersdorf circus, watching dogs jump through hoops and stuff. The dogs weren’t too bad, you know, they were fairly fluffy and into it. But the elephant. The sad, lonely, skinny, old, elephant, lifting one leg up, wobbling a bit, and then blinking, sadly. Depressing. The horses, walking backward, and then curtseying. DEPRESSING. The geese, sliding down a slide, would’ve been depressing if they’d done it right, perhaps, rather than just flying half the way down. But still. Who puts geese in a circus? Don’t be weird. Even when they go over a small stick on the ground, they don’t do it in this kind of like, wow, amazing, circus trick way, they’re just like, geese, going over a stick coz the stick is in the way. The geese were crap, man. Even if I were more into animal torture, I would’ve been disappointed in that. That’s not a trick, man. That’s just geese going over a stick.
When I was a kid, a friend of mine, Katie, she used to get her dog to smoke. It looked cute. It looked funny. But we knew it was wrong. That’s how I felt about the circus, and I’m not a majorly animal rights type, despite the politically correct upbringing. I don’t mind a bit of Bodenhaltung, you know, even if I do generally try to stay clear of Concentration Camp Eggs. But this circus. I just knew it was wrong. The worst thing was that tragic, pitiful elephant. I watched him, with his baggy knees, finally, ultimately, getting up on to one leg, everyone cheering. And it was like the performer in me could just read his mind. He was thinking: “What the FUCK am I doing here?” I’m not saying he was an abused elephant, mind. But he wasn’t very happy.
And you know what I thought? I looked at him and I thought: “Okay, Mum. Maybe, maybe. Maybe, Mum. Maybe you were right about everything, after all. Maybe.”
By the way, if anyone wants to send me free tickets to Cirque du Soleil, I say YES yes YES yes YES.
Just so you know.