Saturday, May 06, 2006

Another day, Another Museum

Given my current locale, I do feel a sense of guilt sitting here in my hostel at 11:30 in the morning, typing away on my laptop. I can hear all sorts of New York-ian noises outside, but am happily ensconced here on my computer, bemoaning that all my friends at home are in bed.

Yesterday I got myself happily lost in SoHo. Actually I didn't mean to be there, I was walking around trying to find a Subway station - are they hidden or what? - and then realised that the streets were different - for a start there were no numbers in the street names. It's bohemian feel reminded me a little of home. Eventually I located a Subway, and with the help of a friendly Transit worker (no, really), and made my way to the Guggenheim - which was closed. Of course it was, like I even know what day it is to take notice of things like closures.

Anyway, I moved on quickly, and ended up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was a little hesitant about it, not that I didn't think that it's collection would be good, but when a museum franchises its stores around the world (hell, Melbourne has one), it concerns me. But those concerns aside - it is an amazing place. It is beyond a museum, and no mere gallery. Whole rooms have been recreated within the complex, one minute you are in an Egyptian tomb, the next, a French provincial chateau. Frankly, it was so over-whelming that a lifetime would not be enough to enjoy all its wonders adequately.

So I did what any overwhelmed tourist would do. I had lunch. I found a rather pretentious cafe at the rear of the Met Museum, which faced onto Central Park, and enjoyed a rather ludicrously priced salad and wine. Nevertheless, I enjoyed. Beside me, was another solo diner, a woman in her 70's, chortling over the book "Eats, Shoots and Leaves". I commented to her about my discovery of my poor use of the comma after reading that book. And so began a delightful encounter.

She stood about 4 and a half feet tall, with a cane, but with a wit and intellect that was inspiring. A former chemist, opera-lover and wanna-be art fan, I felt like I was looking at myself, forty years from now. Collette and I discussed what we liked about certain operas, the state of US politics, and her recently deceased sister. It was amazing and interesting to meet such a woman.

As we left the cafe, and headed back out to our next discoveries within the museum, we stood in a courtyard filled with amazing Greek statues. She and I embraced, each heading for opposing directions of the gallery. But as we parted, she looked upon a statue to my left - the rear of a majestic Greek athlete - and she commented, "Now that is beautiful." I looked, and saw only a rather delicious bottom on the statue. I returned my gaze to Collette, and said, "Are you talking about his arse?". She laughed and said, "Of course!". I giggled, and responded, "Well, you aren't dead yet!".

Perving on statues with a woman old enough to be my grandmother - now that is an interesting life experience.


Donna said...

Is it just me that finds that last sentence just a little alarming?!

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic story!