The Circle Of Life, Or Something Like That


This past weekend, the first weekend of December 2015, my girlfriend decided that we were spending too much time at home. We needed to go do something and get out of the house. The something, ended up being going to Sights and Sounds of Christmas in San Marcos.

The event is at Sewell Park in downtown San Marcos, so Michelle, her daughter, her niece and her niece’s son and I all loaded up into Michelle’s SUV and took the short drive down I-35 to San Marcos. After sharking around for a few minutes at one of the Texas State University parking lots, we found a pretty nice parking spot and walked from there over to the where the shuttle was picking people up from the lot to take them over to the event venue.

That’s where we should’ve picked up on our first hint at how the evening was going to go.

Instead of making a straight line from one point to a point where you can get on the bus and go, the line snaked around an island and basically made a figure 8. After arguing among ourselves, we decided that we’d get to the venue faster if we just walked, specially since the entrance to the park was less than a mile away and there were about 150 people in front of us.

It was a brisk night, but not too cold so we figured why not? We walked over to the entrance.

At the entrance was clue #2.

It was a zoo.

The shuttle busses, dropped off right at the front gate, which is where the lines to buy tickets were, which is also where people were lining up to get a photo in front of the christmas tree with the artificial snow and where everyone was just sort of, milling about trying to figure out what was going on.

After about 20 minutes, we figured out that we were waiting in the wrong line and we made our way up to the ticket booth. Clue #3, the tickets were cash only at the gate, but we would’ve bought them online with a credit card, just that they were sold out of the tickets online.

Yeah, I don’t see how that makes sense either.

Fortunately, I had a $20 bill so we were able to buy our 4 “adult” tickets and go inside.

Clue #4 was once we were inside.

All of the vendors would only accept tokens. The token machines, did not take credit cards, they were cash only. There is only 1 ATM station, with 2 machines and about 20 people waiting to use them.

At first, we decided to walk around for a bit and see what was what. There were lots of food vendors and lots of people selling trinkets, but all for tokens only.

Before I forget, there was a stage!

There was a musical group from one of the local dance studios up there performing. It was a group of about 10-15 probably middle school aged girls, decked out in christmas outfits singing and dancing to christmas tunes. It was live, so the girls were actually singing while they were dancing, none of that Milli Vanilli stuff. Hats off to those girls, they were really the best part of the whole thing for me.

Eventually, we figured that we were hungry and decided to bite the bullet and go wait in line for the ATM. 20 minutes later, we were at the front. The ATM charged a $4.99 fee in addition to the $3 that the bank charges for not using one of the bank’s ATM machines. Grrr.

Le sigh.

The only thing that I always want to eat at a carnival, are funnel cakes. They are my biggest weakness. I love, love, lurv me some funnel cakes. If I had had a funnel cake, I would have been happy. Alas, the line for the funnel cakes looked to be at least 20-30 minutes long and I was all out of waiting in line patience.

That’s when I realized that those girls were still singing and dancing on stage. At least 40 minutes had gone by since I left, and I had watched them sing about 2-3 songs before I left to go wait in the ATM line with Michelle. Those girls learned a lot of choreography for that performance. Hats off for real specially since the crowd was, in my opinion, not very friendly that night.

We found a vendor that had no wait and ended up getting from brats. At some point, maybe while I was eating my Bratwurst on a stick, it hit me. The whole circle of life thing.

As I was standing there, watching as some kids ran past me and some parents struggled with their strollers in the crowd and grand parents attempted to control their grand kids in the crowds and young childless couples making their way through the throngs of people. I found myself missing my kids and wishing that they were little again. I understood how this whole circle thing works.

You start off as a baby in a stroller, not able to take care of yourself. You gain a little independence and you go off running about, then you find a mate. That’s when you repeat the cycle that your parents started with you and you have your own kids. Meanwhile, your parents transition and right around the time they start to miss having babies around, boom, you give them grand kids and problem solved.

So the cycle goes baby > kid > young adult > parent > grand parent > kid.

Yeah, kid is at the end again because there comes a point where you live long enough that you are no longer able to take care of yourself and so you become a kid again.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

For now.

Oh yeah, my final opinion on Sights and Sounds is that it was not what I was expecting. Yes, the crowds were huge, but if you’re expecting a crowd and you know to bring cash and are patient, you will have an OK time. I don’t know that I’ll be back next year, but if I do go back, I know what to expect.


Rafael is an aviation geek, a consumer advocate, a dad, a multiple personality blogger, a photographer, politically opinionated, a videographer and many other things as well.