Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saint Me

I am visiting my mother in New Jersey and we were talking about my sister and how she never likes to stay in her apartment; she always loves to go places. I decided that once I return to New York City, I will plan on going to a museum with her.The last time we did this was in January. On a Friday night, my sister, her friend and I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ostensibly to look at the Rauschenberg exhibit. As we waited and waited for her friend, Mary, my sister decided that the very first thing we were going to do was to have a drink before we quenched our need for art. When Mary arrived, I went with her to check our coats. A young man called out to us and in a singsong voice asked me if I wanted our coats to share the same ticket.

ALICE: Um. O.K. Sure.
YOUNG MAN *singsonging away*: AH, GOOD! Because it will be a happy thing! You two will be happy to share the same hanger, right?

Mary looks askance and I am not because . . . what the hell . . . I know what my role is and I do it.

ALICE: YES! We will share! We will be happy!
YOUNG MAN *inordinately pleased*: GOOD! When you come to get your coats you will be happy because you were together!
ALICE: Well, what if we break up before we come to get our coats?
YOUNG MAN *in a stern tone*: Then it will NOT be a happy thing, no?

Mary wants to leave -- quickly.

So before Rauschenberg, it’s off to the second floor, to the Great Hall balcony for wine (New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc) and live classical music. We talk. And talk. And talk. We drink. And drink. And drink. No food, except I ate all the olives. It turns out that we only had 40 minutes left before the museum closed so we paid and dashed off. Mary did not really want to see Rauschenberg anymore. She’d rather look at religious paintings.

So, do you know what it’s like to look at Fra Angelico’s work completely drunk? It’s the first comprehensive presentation of this Renaissance painter in half a century and I was so tipsy that I managed to walk into a wall. Mary was enraptured. She wanted to see everything. My sister was not enraptured. She muttered at one point, “Good grief, Fra Angelico definitely doesn’t know how to draw children. This baby looks atrocious!”

Sister was referring to the baby Jesus. Mary hushed her as if she expected thunderbolts to strike us down for our blasphemy. I almost fell down some stairs.

My sister has had it with the religious experience thing and we must go. As we try to find our way to the coat check place, Mary said that she hopes we don’t get that “unbalanced young man.” I assured her that he probably went home. He hadn't.


Of course, in my state of . . . well, you know . . . I could not find the stupid little ticket.

ALICE: Well, you must remember our coats?
ALICE: They are sharing, remember? The happy coats!
YOUNG MAN: Yes, your coats are happy but I would be happier with the ticket!

All gets sorted out, eventually. Time to head back downtown. Of course, my sister and Mary wanted to stop somewhere and get a drink!

I didn't do this. I go home. Happy. . .maybe too happy. . .and a whole lot of holy!