Thursday, August 18, 2005

H E double-hockey sticks

So, as MKD so thoughtfully put it, where the hell have I been?

I have been excruciatingly not busy and then wow, so busy!, and then topped it off with an extra extra christian wedding.

The non-busy was a time of deep meditation, reflection and thought-gathering. I was one with my tv, and sat on my ass in great long sessions of non-participation with the world. Work was work, commuting was commuting, home was home and then there was tv again. I really and very simply had nothing to blog about. I even thought maybe this blog was done, that maybe I am tired of making little not-quite-truthful stories about my life and its time to retire.

Luckily, before I could do anything about it, the next week I had class. And we are not talking about your normal sit-in-a-classroom-and-doodle kinda class, this was an institute on museum libraries and archives. Basically, we spent every day at different museums, one in the morning, another in the afternoon, cramming a whole semester's worth of learning into six full days. See, if I lived in Ohio and said I went to museums all day, that would be one thing- but I live in DC and when I say "museums" you should go "Oooohh!"

All week, we met at 8:30 AM, talked about our museum-ly insights for half an hour, and then at 9:15 tally-hoed to the bus for that day's destinations. We had lectures from the museum staff and personal tours and the chance to see all the cool things that you suckers never get to see. Then we gulped down our lunches in 30 minutes or less, jumped back on the bus, got to the next place, rinse and repeat, until around 5 PM when we rode back to campus and dragged our asses home.

What did I do for ten hours a day at these museums? Oh, I saw a sixteenth century book illustrated by DaVinci. And original photos from the Civil War. And a fetus in a jar-- ok, that was just an exhibit at a medical museum, nothing to do with the library sciences. But we all rushed over to look at it, like every other single person who goes there. Seriously, the number one question for the info desk is, "where are the fetuses in the jars?". For awhile, they took the fetus exhibit away, during some pro-life craziness downtown, and visitors complained. COMPLAINED about not getting to see FETUSES, people. It is cool though.

I spent the whole day at the swankiest library in the world where the head librarian said it was really too declasse for her to tell us her budget, meaning 'millions'. To juxtapose- some federal museum libraries (rhymes with Pithmonian) get only $2,500 a year. I saw the most perfectly arranged archives in the world. All the boxes matched and every label looked like the next, there were no piles of work that has never been caught up with or boxes yet to be put away, which is so atypical the whole class hushed like we were in some sacred grotto dedicated to St Shmolo*. We went to a museum not even open to the public yet, a posh rich lady's house-turned-museum filled with countless treasures (except it was all china and vases and shit, which does nothing for me) and the storage area for the American Indian Museum. They have totem poles in there. I'm talking real-ass 45 feet tall fucking totem pools. And canoes. And tee pees. Drawers held not boxes of old stuffy paper records, but moccasins, baskets, arrows, tools, and real seal-skin outfits from the 1800s, which stank like poo.

Hands down, last week ranks one of the best classes I have taken so far, and even as one of the best in my life.** After all of this, I was so tired, I desperately wanted to sleep for the entire weekend. But then I had to go to my cousin's wedding.

Yes, the last legally-able-to-marry cousin has gone and got hitched, leaving me and the babies in singledom. I am officially the family old maid. This side of the family, not being quietly Swedish, is loudly born-again Christian. A little awkward, with my mom being a goddess worshipping pagan and me, trying really hard not to argue theology or bring up the medieval christian church.

I can't handle these people. Someone complemented the flowers-- "These flowers are so pretty-thank-you-God." One bearded dude looked "just like John the Baptist."*** A fellow standing in line at the buffet said, "What's this? Is this stuffing? Praise Him!" And during the ceremony we learned that my cousin and his fiance were practicing "no touch love". We learned a lot about how great it was not to touch and how much Jesus appreciates non-touching. A woman behind me kept saying "yay God!". Not "Amen", not "Hallelujah!", but seriously pep-rally style "YAY GOD!"

I thought the whole "let's brag about not having sex!" thing was terribly tacky. I mean, if you played that situation in reverse, its totally wedding-inappropriate--

Minister: "Marriage is God's union, holy and pure. On the night they met, our dear couple consummated their love in the most holy of ways, doggy-style. And it pleaseth the lord to note that this blessed union of souls was not without oral copulation and mutual masturbation."

Hallelujah.



*St Shmolo, Saint of Archivists, is known for miraculously arranging piles of paper into acid-free folders. He blesses us with original order and wherever he goes, provenance follows.

**Better than that time I won the lottery and blew it on rock n roll.

*** You know, from that photo taken of him that one time, when he and Jesus were hanging out in Nazareth? Yeah, that one.