I went on a little journey today. Here’s me: bored late twenty-something on her day off. The one thing on my agenda other than a few scattered chores is a trip to a local esteemed art gallery. It is a small gallery which I have only been to during openings, but according to the ad, they have normal viewing hours Monday thru Friday 1pm to 4pm, and today is the last chance I’ll have to see the latest installment, sculptures made of heavy material but shaped to look weightless. The example I saw online was one made of four heavy slides of metal, two base pieces that were vaguely pear-shaped and sandwiched together to accentuate their slim sides, each with another wavy piece floating gracefully into the air. The whole thing reminded me of a whale: huge but graceful.
Little did I know however, that my journey would lead me far, far from the art gallery. The first thing I did was almost hit a child. Prompted to cross by the stop guard, he put his arms out and ran across the street at top speed, and without pausing, turned and crossed the adjacent street, right in front of my car. I stopped well within time, but the people at the corner and the cross guard were giving me demeaning, disapproving looks. I stared at them in shock for several minutes before continuing onto the next road. What was wrong with me? Why did I attempt to turn when a child was crossing the road? Children are damn well unpredictable. I shouldn’t have moved in any direction until the child was completely clear of the intersection.
Trying not to let this distract me, I headed in the direction Google Maps suggested, which looked completely wrong. Pretty soon I was in the East side, boarded-up-windows territory. Large, handsome architecture, half-collapsed and falling into disrepair.
I tried not to gape like a damn tourist, but my eyes zipped around. There was an arcade shop and a furniture store. I passed a dinky little burger drive-through. Knowing this was obviously the wrong way, I asked myself how far I should venture before turning around. And then, across the street from what was clearly the projects, over the hill came rows of stones, a monument, a mausoleum. It was the biggest graveyard I had seen in town–and I had no idea it was there. Like the people in the projects, it was stuffed off to the side; forgotten.
I found myself in the right lane at a red light, right in front of the entrance. I turned in. As I drove, I looked around in wonder. Rutheby. Gillepsy. Carmichael. Our resting ground. Our final destination. For a moment I was crossed with the indignation at how much people had to pay for such a privilege. Then, driving along the paved path, turning a corner, I gasped. The stones went on for acres, stretching much farther than I had originally realized. My breath was taken for a moment, but I resolved to leave, feeling like a trespasser. Pulling out of the Yard spit me right onto the street I needed to get home.
It was 3:40.
Passing a neighborhood of more large yet dilapidated houses, I finally saw the buildings of downtown. Giving up on Google, I realized I KNEW where the damn thing was–I had been there several times! Shaking my head, I headed North yet again and down toward the shops on 2nd North. Once in the area, I found a place to park. Only 50c for an hour! A nice man whose dogs were jumping on me directed me to the next block up. Reaching the next intersection, I found the familiar street lined with cafes and bars, but could not see the gallery. Turning the other direction, the mass of brick looked like more office buildings, but then, in the distance, I saw a paper taped to a window reading “art classes.” That’s it! I jogged across the street, past several blocked doors and window displays stuffed with student art, and finally reached the show room. The door was locked. It was probably just after 4. But through the window, I could see the sculpture. The metal one with the fins. And I was fantastically dissatisfied with it.
Smiling, I headed toward the cafe I passed, contemplating my very profound experience in the sculpture garden across from the projects.