Monday, November 07, 2011

Sunday Afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum

Picking up where I left off...

I didn't stay in the room long. I grabbed my coat this time, and my watch, and walked out again. This time, in the opposite direction.

In a few steps, I was at Times Square. There were tables set out right in the middle of the square, and people were walking around and there were those gigantic LED signs and it was lovely weather and the pigeons sauntered around in the middle of it all. I hate crowds, normally, but there was little noise here, and no one invaded my personal space, and everyone looked happy. I got a cup of coffee and sat down and just took in the sights. I walked into a store, but there was nothing I really wanted to buy. It seemed enough that I was there.

I walked back because it was nearly time for my boss to get in, and waited for her. When we met, it didn't feel like we were meeting after so long. We went out again, and she got me my first hot dog off the streets. We sat at the fountain in front of Rockefeller Center and ate happily. Then we got a cab to our destination, the one place in New York that I felt I definitely had to visit: the Met.

We walked into the Met, all planned that we were going to focus on the "European Paintings" section. Both of us are huge fans of Impressionist art, and Monet and Van Gogh are favorite artists. (One of my gifts to her when we met was a recreation of a Van Gogh painting: as I'd expected, she loved it. I have a print of the same in my house.) Anyway, we couldn't seem to find the place. There weren't any directions or maps that we could find at first, and I asked a nice-looking security guy where the European Paintings section was. Second floor, he said. We were thanking him and turning away before I asked "How do we get there?" "Oh, you want to get there?" he said. And pointed us in the right direction. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, and we had a few more similar encounters with museum staff and walked through more rooms featuring less-interesting European artists before I glimpsed through the far door of a room I was walking by, a painting I recognized.

My back and feet were killing me by then. I had had a few hours of fitful sleep on the flight, but that was 24 hours ago, and my back had just had more than it could handle. Sitting down every few rooms, hobbling painfully along, I looked at the Van Goghs and Monets and Pissaros and Cezannes and other artists whose work I have pored over in my books. I wish I had more energy then, and pain wasn't distracting me from the art. But even so, oh even so, it was amazing. We stood in front of one of Monet's lilies paintings, and I turned to Kelly and said, "Thank you. For bringing me here." I had crossed the biggest item of my bucket list. 

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