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We drove to Auburn Hills. On the way we went through Detroit. Both of us were prepared for graffiti, damaged roadways, burnt out cars and condemned houses, because this is what we'd seen two years ago when driving through. Instead we were pleasantly surprised...things aren't perfect, but there is obvious change. Keep it up Detroit, it ain't over until the fat lady sings.

To kill time after reaching Auburn Hills we walked around a mall. Jameson found a new backpack for the laptop he'll be getting soon. And I unexpectedly found a new laptop when we visited the Microsoft store! I have this weird history of owning Dell Inspiron laptops. At this point I've had four of them, each of which has lasted a minimum of five years (and even then they're still fully functional, just outdated). My poor Inspiron N5110 had its battery fried last year, and ever since I upgraded it to Windows 10 it's been a little laggy, having not been designed for that OS. Long story short, it's six years old and the time has come to replace it. The new one is an Inspiron 15, a combo of software/hardware sold exclusively by Microsoft (one great thing about this is no bloatware). Got it at a great price and so far I'm enjoying it!

Tuesday was a dark day. Didn't really do much...Jameson went to a movie while I stayed at home to set up the new computer and do chores. That night everyone was watching democracy at work. I think I went to bed around 2am when it became clear Trump would win.

Wednesday also a dark day, I borrowed Jameson's car to return the nice backpack I'd bought last week in Pittsburgh, turns out it was too small for the new laptop. Go figure!

Thursday was opening day. Not much was said about the election results...this is the circus, probably 2/3rds of the employees here can't vote. I just looked around, looked at my coworkers of all different colors and religions and nationalities, and at the circus kids who can't even speak the same language playing together without a care, and I did take a moment to appreciate the unbounded diversity here. What matters here is not where you're from, or what color you are. It matters that you do your work well, and stay true to yourself, and take pride in both your work and yourself. To be honest I wish everyone could experience this. I'm not sure what it will mean to have Mr. Trump as president...all I can say is, I hope the fears circulating across the web right now are unfounded.

Anyway, opening day came and went. We had a long rehearsal to work in some new changes for next year. Our new ringmaster sang part of the rehearsal with us, she sounded great! Can't wait to hear her in the show :)

Friday we had the first split we've had in a while. I was super tired so went to the train for a nap during the break. While waiting for the bus to leave the arena I happened to catch the camels headed inside for a midday rehearsal (just an FYI, if they weren't rehearsing they'd need to be exercised anyway, this is not extra camel labor :P)

Both shows were good. We got to play the National Anthem for Veteran's Day.

Saturday, three shows. I brought a lot of things to the arena to sell, mostly clothing and books, just trying to clear up some space in my room. End-of-tour cleanup, so to speak. Others had the same idea, Victor (tiger crew) was able to sell quite a few things and Lindsey (clown) sold some her artworks. It feels like the end of the tour, like we should be having our final show countdown, like we should be preparing for Winter Quarters. Just looking at the Palace of Auburn Hills brings back memories of "see you down the road" hugs and dressing room toasts. But this year is different. We will continue into the new year with the same show. It's strange. But things change, and hopefully this is a positive change.

(photo courtesy Detroit Free Press)

Sunday was a two show day. I wish I had exciting, fun things to share with you this week, but it was just a slow week. The arena is isolated next to a highway, and we had a full week of shows, and there just wasn't much happening. Next week is going to be downright weird: we have a solid THREE dark days in a row, followed by a SIX PACK in Youngstown OH, followed by a two week break for Thanksgiving. My goodness!

Other stuff:

Medusa the snake getting some hang time on an aerial orb.

(photo courtesy Jon M.)

Horse and camel trainer Robert Štipka working with Colonel during preshow.

Checking out the slomo setting during the cannon shot (one of few times I'm not playing).


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 15th, 2016 11:18 am (UTC)
Dear Megan, Thank you so very much for your stories from the circus. You are a wonderful writer and I enjoy what you have to say from a personal experience point of view. I always look forward to your next story and they are most appreciated. Always wishing you the best and have fun,
Nov. 15th, 2016 08:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks Howard! It makes me happy to know that you're enjoying my blog :) Sometimes things are not terribly exciting (like this week), but this being a true "story", there are always lulls in the action!

Thank you for reading!
Nov. 16th, 2016 04:10 am (UTC)
Dear Megan, thanks for your reply. Just hearing what goes on behind the scenes at Ringling Brothers is exciting to me and others who have no idea about a life like yours. The important thing is that obviously it takes you time and some effort to publish these wonderful stories. It is only human nature to enjoy being acknowledged and appreciated for your endeavours which you are and I also hope you get great personal satisfaction from this. Trust me, all your stories are exciting to those of us who have never been involved with the circus life and always look forward to your next chapter. Would love to know what got you started in music and what your long term goals are.
Always wishing you the best and have fun,
Nov. 17th, 2016 02:36 am (UTC)
Thank you again for your kind words. I wish that everyone could have the chance to experience what I've been privileged to here, but since that's not possible, I figure sharing as much as possible is the next best thing.

To answer your question, in my last year of middle school the band director had me take up the trombone as he needed more low brass and I could read bass clef (having taken piano lessons). I liked the trombone because it was different. When I got to high school, I liked it because I did well in competitions and was praised for doing a good job. But by the time I graduated I had come to appreciate the instrument itself, so went to college for music.

Up until this year my long-term goal has been "stick to this job like a leech on a leg". The circus is undergoing major changes, partially because of animal rights extremists making decisions for everyone else, and partly because the entertainment industry itself is in flux. So the plan right now is still to stay here for as long as I can, and do what I can to support the circus as an entity and Ringling in particular, and be prepared for anything to happen!

I am curious about you as well, though won't ask you to post personal details here! Please feel free to send me a private message on instagram or facebook any time you'd like to chat. I won't always answer right away but I WILL respond!

Take care :)
Nov. 17th, 2016 07:36 am (UTC)
Dear Megan, thank you for the response and it was quite interesting. I would be happy to tell you something about my life and discuss those damnable extremists etc. I would need your name to find you on Facebook and don't know how to message on Instagram. I would really appreciate it if you could tell me how. Thanks and always wishing you the best, be well.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )