I joined the circus on Friday. A group of us went into town and performed on the large, open-air pedestrian Mall in Charlottesville. On Friday nights the area is alive with art openings, outdoor restraunts, and teenagers free from school for the weekend. We set up on a corner near the middle of the 5-block Mall, spreading out Anja’s homemade T-shirts, stenciled with “Life After Bush” and “Quit Your Job, Join the Circus”. John played the accordion, Hejira played the saw, Anja hula hooped, and I stood on my head. We drew crowds at times, children in awe of Anja’s graceful hula hooping and giggling teenage girls in adoration of John playing the theme from Amelie. After a couple hours we made $28 (not counting what Anja made selling her T-shirts), and the $7 that was my piece of the booty went to a well-earned post-performance beer.

Even after two years on the commune, I’m still amazed when I find myself in situations like this. I love to perform. An actress and a dancer, I’m always ready to be the center to attention. And yet, I’ve never busked before. It hasn’t fallen within the boundaries of what I accepted as possible for me. I grew up in the suburbs, and we didn’t have buskers on the street outside of Kroger’s or McDonalds. As I balanced inverted, my head on the cool brick and my toes wiggling in the air, I marveled at this unexpected manifestation of my life. I thought at 25 I’d be working for a non-profit in Washington DC — instead I’m living on a commune and getting money from strangers for standing on my head. And I love it.

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