Monthly Archives: July 2014

Vacation part II ( or a lesson in self-restraint)

Its hard to write a post about your vacation – call it part one and the never follow up with anything else. It’s like waiting for additional Star Wars movies that we don’t really need anymore to come out. Actually, wait, its like the complete opposite of that… My grasp of analogies is on par with Alanis’s grasp of irony (and…I’ve lost my train of thought).

The point is that I had a wonderful vacation that now seems like it happened eight years ago but involved a lot more than a museum related nervous breakdown.  In addition to sweating our proverbial balls off in NYC we also took a side trip, weekend getaway, to the Poconos to a little town called Jim Thorpe that was so anti NYC there was literally nothing to do there. We checked into our quaint, turn of the century Inn with a room so small we couldn’t open the door all the way, we stopped for a bloody mary and walked the entire length of the town in the ten minute time span it took us to decide where to eat lunch. It was perfect.

In NYC we had felt compelled to do everything, see everything that we were so tired and exhausted we barely made it to 10:00pm, in Jim Thorpe were awake until 2:00am – sneaking out onto the balcony (closed at 9:00 – like everything else in the town) to drink cocktails in the cool night air and listen to far off fireworks.

Our second day there, having already wondered in to every store of interest we had breakfast and discussed what to do. He wanted to wander the town and take some pictures, I wanted ice cream and to tour the old jail. I might not like museums but I am fascinated by old prisons. Is that weird? Who knows. My BFF was slightly weary of me at this point and did point out several times that if we went to the jail we would be on a guided tour – with a tour guide, like where you would have to pay attention and stay with a group. I assured him that on my particular chart of crazy the X axis of my museum fear and the Y access of my fear of forced social interaction would not cross paths on this specific outing.

We spent several hours walking around trying to capture the beauty of the Poconos on our cameras, we bought large sugar cones full of ice cream and when it finally opened at noon we were one of the first tourists in line at the old jail. The tour itself was guided my a monotone liberal arts intern who had memorized her speech so robotically that the few questions she asked and the one joke she tried to make were completely lost on her audience. I loved it, it was awful and scary and reminded me fondly of my time touring Eastern State Penitentiary. I wandered round touching rusty locks and peering in tiny peep hole windows, wondering what Piper Chapman would have made of all of this, I bought a T-shirt on my way out through the gift store. It wasn’t until we were outside that I looked at my BFF, white as a sheet, breathing heavily, that I realized maybe we both didn’t enjoy it as much as I had thought.

Apparently, though we share a collective brain his reaction to old, damp, mold infested dilapidated prisons is the same sort of reaction I have to Modern Art – he’s just better at not making a public spectacle of himself. I admire his restraint I really really do.

Old Jail

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Uncultured swine (Vacation Part I)

Last week I took a vacation – a grown up vacation that did not include visiting grandparents or a single episode of Dora the Explorer. Crazy – I know.

It was necessary though because one half of my brain resides inside someone else’s brain – but that person lives really far away (in California) and every so often we have to get together so for a little while we can feel like a whole person – its like a mental health check.

I would say 96% of the time our thoughts/interests/ideas of superiority are perfectly simpatico but not always – he watches “Mad Men” while I’m all about “Game of Thrones.” (Idiot)

Part of this mental health check involves cocktails (many many cocktails) lots of sarcasm and often times trips to places we have never been before – to broaden our common mind. Last week we boarded an early morning bus and made our way to the Big Apple to buy souvenir t-shirts and search for the cash cab. I was all about taking avant guard photos of outside cafes and sweaty tourists but my BFF had a crazy notion that we should do more than walk around aimlessly searching for the most expensive bloody Mary in Manhattan – he convinced me we should check out the Museum of Modern Art. I took a great deal of time to explain to him that I would be happy to go but that I am not a good museum goer and have about a 40 minute window before I pool into a puddle of four-year-old crankiness. I was clear about this.

So, our second day in the city, after a wholesome croissant filled breakfast we took our fully charged cameras and descended upon MoMA and I was good… for awhile….

You see I like art and I want really hard to be able to appreciate it and when I first enter a museum I am at peace with the quiet and the hoards of slow gawkers standing around. MoMA is six stories tall and the first three floors are all ‘instillation’ art… I don’t get it but I can deal with it – I can deal with it until I end up watching a movie of a street performer tying a towel over the head of a monkey and making it dance until it dies of suffixation. At that point I was ready to leave, but we were still on the first floor and my BFF was going on and on about all the cool stuff that was ahead of us upstairs. I followed along wishing that I had been allowed to bring my back pack in with me so that at least I could have some water… or something.

We walked through two more floors of art that I imagined I could recreate if I was in prison and only had access to homemade ink, cheap muslin, heartache and rage.  By the time we finally ascended to the permanent exhibit I had gone through the twelve complete stages of internal melt down, suddenly I HATED everyone in that museum with the passion of a giant super nova. I couldn’t breathe, I could hardly contain my rage at being stuck in this seemingly endless white tunnel of quiet contemplation (my mind works in mysterious ways). I heard faintly through the pounding inside my own head my BFF remark in awe “look this is the Warhol room and over there is Picasso!” I  shrugged him off with a vague ‘yeah yeah’ as a pushed people out of my way to find the closest exit…. I tried really hard not to start screaming out loud while he stopped to photograph Van Gough and discuss how he never really liked Pollack’s color pallet… Finally, almost in tears I offered him the entire contents of my savings account if we could please exit this art filled purgatory and go get something to drink.

Because he is a good friend he didn’t argue (although he did stop to use the bathroom) and we proceeded out the closest exit and made our way to the nearest french bistro where I spent $30 for two glasses of Chardonnay and bad service.

It was the best $30 I ever spent.

About the time I started ripping my own hair out...
About the time I started ripping my own hair out…