Today I miss the Museum. Any of ‘em really. The Guggenheim especially, and I never fancied myself as a museum kind of girl. But now I really miss long days of tea and umbrellas and spending an afternoon reading and ignoring gray paragraphs written on white walls. When I lived on the Upper West Side, I’d walk through the park to the MET, in running clothes, then pay the suggested fee and spend a few hours walking around, always finishing up in the statue garden. I felt like I was breaking some dress code. I was raised to wear a dress coat into Manhattan. Usually for Lincoln Center performances. For the theater, we always dressed. Museums were "smart casual" before there was such a term. The same rule went for airplanes. Just in case… I don’t know. But we weren’t to travel looking like "ragamuffins." So once I lived in the city and found myself traipsing into a museum in less than my Sunday best, I thought I was doing something wrong. I think one of the things I loved most about the museums in New York were all the European tourists, all dressed in camel-colored leather shoes, with shirts tucked behind sweaters, walking mannequins with too many layers.
The museum felt like home, in a way, perhaps because of all the field trips growing up. In high school (dork warning), I was president of the science club. On a Friday night (big dork), I scheduled a field trip to the Museum of Natural History, but really, to the Hayden Planetarium for a Pink Floyd laser light show. I just liked the idea of being in the dark with boys, I think. I also liked the mineral room, with all the glowing rocks. I liked to imagine it was my private collection, and if I wanted, I could ask a guard to turn any of the stones into a piece of jewelry for me to wear.
In college I took a Drawing In The Museum class, where we’d grab charcoals, pastels, pads, and brown drawing boards, then spend four hours drawing. I miss that time in my life, and it’s not age related. I still have the time to do those things, but instead I lie in bed reading blogs or playing Sudoku. I think I’m going to shower now, then make my way to a museum in my new fall clothes. I wish it were raining, but crispy fall air beats rain by a mile.
…Or maybe I should get some actual writing done. I spent all of yesterday combing through the diary I kept when I was nine years old. Then I re-read all the camp letters I received. Research. The museum, though, has a way of inspiring me to look at things differently, or of extracting memories. Though it’s hard to stay in summer with noctober here now. All I can think about is wearing knee-high boots and a blazer with suede elbow patches. Tights. Maybe I’ll head to the bookstore for a caramel apple cider and a stack of fall fashion magazines. Just as educational, no?