My husband and I took our grandsons to the Shrine circus in Madison this past February. Benjamin, three years old, fell asleep on the way there. We had just gotten inside the huge coliseum when a 6-foot creature with fuzzy orange hair, a chalk-white face, big red nose, and floppy shoes strode toward him. Arm outstretched, the clown boomed, “Welcome to the circus.”
Benjamin shrank back. We led him and his older brother Glen through the door. The show had started, and the auditorium was dark. After letting our eyes adjust, we searched for four seats. Spiderman, one of Benjamin’s all-time favorites, performed, swinging and diving from great heights. Even though we called Benjamin’s name to follow us, he was too riveted on his hero. We had to lift him and carry him to his seat.
After Spiderman’s act ended, Benjamin and Glen’s attention turned to the hawkers who waved flashing laser lights, balloons, slushies, and cotton candy. The boys’ mom had given us orders, and we resisted buying anything. Souvenirs and treats were easily forgotten anyway when a rumbling noise in center ring drew our attention.
A full-sized car actually transformed into a moving robot. We had barely recovered from that when a gargantuan King Kong appeared. A woman climbed up the gorilla’s body and sat in his palm. Glen, being older, handled the giant, but Benjamin crawled onto my husband’s lap.
Concerned, I thought it best to leave before the final act when a man is shot from a canon.
Minutes after we returned the boys to their house and helped Benjamin out of his jacket, he crawled under a table. He faced the ground, curling up contentedly in what yogi’s call the child’s pose. “Stimulation overload,” I explained to my daughter. We left him alone in the cozy quiet.
What a wise grandson. There are times when I, too, have “wanted to crawl under a table.” I’m sure you’ve had those moments, too. Mine are most often caused by the news or from technology overload. I recently had to buy a new printer and set it up. An easy task for many people who understand things like where to locate their router’s WPS button, but I felt like I was facing a monster with fuzzy orange hair and oversized shoes.
Similarly, I feel overwhelmed with marketing blasts and information. Text messages. Alerts. Pop-ups on websites. E-mail blasts. I realize there are apps that help manage these, but I can’t download anything more. My phone, like my brain at times, is out of storage.
The technology naggers don’t help, either. My Fitbit nags me if I’ve been sitting too long. Facebook scolds me with messages such as “Your Facebook fans haven’t heard from you in a while.” I try to ignore them and curl up with my puppy dog and a book only to have the telemarketers call.
I’m not alone. More and more I hear friends say they’re taking a hiatus from watching the news or engaging on social media sites such as Facebook. I think this is wise. In this age of technology, I doubt the intimidating chalk-faced clown will go away. So take a break now and again. Escape and find a comfy spot under the table.