Billy emptied Heidi last night then howled and roared for milk that wasnâ€™t there. He is getting a fat head; heâ€™d better watch himself before he starts looking like a rugby player.
I mention this as it put me in a very tense state of mind, when he and Heidi had finally drifted off I needed something to calm me down. I got out my recently acquired Sister Wendy DVD. I donâ€™t know if you remember her, she was the art critic nun who was big around 1990. She also made an â€œAmerican Collectionâ€ in the late nineties. Last night I popped on the American episode about the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I find the way she smacks her lips over her teeth whilst rapturously holding her hands together almost as fascinating as the art she describes, she looks supremely odd. She is able to totally relax me whilst demonstrating a state of mind I rarely achieve these days: contemplation. She must spend hours mulling over each work; she talks about them with such voracious enthusiasm you feel you must make seeing them your lifeâ€™s sole purpose. This is life without sex and alcohol. (Hers I mean).
Iâ€™ve often thought Iâ€™d like to go to the MET on a regular basis but the suggested donation for entrance is $12. Heidi with her balls of steel puts down a quarter and boldly says â€˜One please!â€™ Not thinking twice about what she is doing. I pull out $7, say â€˜1 studentâ€™ and feel like Iâ€™m mugging a pensioner. I usually get a scornful look or a questioning â€˜Student?â€™ Heidi gets a smile. This is simply the way of things; I am not bitter.
Heidi has pointed out that they are fabulously rich with countless benefactors, that we go all the time, and that we have paid our $12 once before. There are a hundred other very reasonable arguments as to why I shouldnâ€™t feel guilty, but I still do. I canâ€™t give them a quarter.
The MET is 5 minutes from where I work and I really should visit it more often. When my hours were recently increased my lunch break was increased too and I now have an hour twiddling my thumbs every afternoon. Sister Wendy has inspired me to get my arse in gear and get cultured up. I have become an official bona-fide member of the MET at the bargain price of $55 a year. No more standing outside plucking up the courage to go in; now I just wave my pass and Iâ€™m hurried past the plebian hordes, caps lifted in gratitude as the great benefactor enters their midst.
Heidi doesnâ€™t know Iâ€™ve joined yet. Sheâ€™ll find out either when she reads this or when she gets hold of the credit card bill. Yikes, Iâ€™m in for hiding.
So, like a tragic autodidact, a Leonard Bast for the 21st century, on these scorching summer lunchtimes youâ€™ll find me skulking around the MET, attempting to enrich my tawdry little brain by means of fine masterpieces and cool dry air.