Tuesday, May 24, 2005

In medias res

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

After procrastinating for eight or nine months, I find this evening that I am in just the state of unhappy agitation necessary to begin my weblog. (Started on the evening of May 21, substantially written on the Fung Wah bus back to Cambridge, May 22, 2005.) Let me begin in the most obvious place: somewhere in the middle.

Today I made an effort of will to get myself out of G’s apartment and into the City. I was soon glad that I did. When I got to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, my first move was to go to the Membership counter, where a woman of a certain age inclined her head and invited me to sit down opposite her. She began to help me to renew my Associate’s membership. “Let me warn you,” she said, “I’m not all here today! I’m a little off!” Oh you’re doing fine, I replied.

After filling out the form and signing the credit card slip, she asked me how things were in Cambridge. Oh it’s still there, I said. Still keeping on. “Do you study there?” she asked. I always fumble this question, as often as it comes up. Oh, I… I’m writing a dissertation. And I teach there when I need the money. “It’s nice not to always need the money.” As we concluded the transaction, she smiled and said: “I think that you are the perfect person!” This was a surprise.

Once, years ago, another woman of a similar age – the mother of an acquaintance of mine who was getting married – said about me after meeting me at the reception, “I didn’t know that they still made boys like that!” This was not said to me directly but was reported to me later. In any case, the woman’s remark at the membership counter cheered me up a bit.

I took a look at the list of events for the day and found that I had not arrived too late to join a couple of guided tours in the afternoon. The first, of the Ancient Egyptian galleries, was to begin in a few minutes, at 2 pm....
(continued in the next entry)


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