08 May 2019

The Author Again Assails Cell Phone Use But Extolls Museums, Exercise and Books

A photo the author took at the de Young yesterday that was painted by Gauguin

I wonder if before there were cell phones some people wouldn’t go to the gym because they might miss a phone call. I also wonder if these same people wouldn’t go to the gym because while there they couldn’t make a phone call. I further wonder why the actual fuck people feel compelled to answer and make phone calls at the gym. I continue to be amazed at how so much of some people’s workouts are punctuated and interrupted by talking into or looking at their goddamned cell phones. I wonder how much better my work outs are than people who bring and use their phones to the gym. You see, I actually go to the gym to workout. Old fashioned, I know, but that’s me.

I don’t only complain about people. The missus and I went to the de Young Museum yesterday. I love museums. They make me happy and relaxed and I feel smarter and more cultured just being in one. I learn and am inspired and become more creative. I appreciate the people who curate museums, the people who work at museums and the people whose contributions make museums possible. I also appreciate my fellow museum-goers.

Speaking of people who work at museums…How about those folks who have to stand around all day, mostly just making sure that nobody gets too close to the exhibits. Occasionally they get asked a question, usually about directions to other exhibits. You talk about thankless jobs. Standing for hours on end usually without a damn thing to do. They’re like well-dressed security guards. Bless them.

Whenever we go to a museum I always make a beeline for the gift shop. Museum gift shops are ridiculously over-priced and rarely have anything I’ve the slightest interest in. One exception is bookmarks. Most museums sell or give away bookmarks and some are very nice. Those I’ll buy. I bought a tee shirt at MOMA in New York but that was an exception. They had a really cool tee shirt at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC but none in my size. Yesterday at the de Young there was nothing of interest in the gift shop. They had free bookmarks which were a value at the price. The thing is there were two more gift shops in the museum and excitedly went into both of them. Why? Beats me.

I’ve written a lot about running on this blog but I haven’t written anything about not running. I should explain. I’d been having pain in my knee whilst running for a few months. I went to the doctor and was sent for an X-ray then I saw an orthopedist. This was in March. I was told that the ligaments in my left knee were wearing away and if I continued to run I’d eventually need knee replacement surgery. So I’m not running anymore. Ever again. I always thought that I would be devastated if told I couldn’t run but when I actually got the news I shrugged and got on with my life. I’m like that. The good news is I can do everything else. I started lifting weights and still get in 40 minutes of cardio on the elliptical. I can also use the stair master and the stationary bike. (A stationery bike is one that you can write and send letters on.) I feel fantastic since I started using weights. And I don’t miss running. I also don’t miss teaching anymore. I just move on, whatever happen. (Full disclosure: I may return to teaching on a part-time basis to pick up a little extra cash.)

In casual conversation recently someone said to me that nobody reads books anymore. “I do.” I responded. It seems so do a helluva lot of other people (albeit not to the extent that they used to). Two Saturdays ago was Independent Bookstore Day. I noted that two local bookshops had big doings going on and both were packed with book buyers, enticed by special deals and their on-going support of indy book stores. Last Saturday the Bay Area Book Festival was held in Berkeley and their were hordes of people in town to see the various speakers — all with books to promote — discussing their books and related topics. There were also people buying books from the many sellers who set up shop. It’s a big annual event that shows that reading books has not quite yet faded into history. This coming Saturday the public library is going to have its annual book sale and judging by the past few years, the joint will be picked. Nobody reads books indeed.

No comments: