Monday, June 3, 2013

Hijinks at the DMA, or, How I Became an Art Thief

There is a girl, she is older than me so I should say "woman," at work that is not my co-worker. She works with Preggo so she's Preggo's co-worker. I do not claim her at all, though I have nicknamed her The Thing. Yes, that's a shocking nickname. What's even more shocking, at least to me, is that she answers to it. You may be wondering why, if she is such a non-entity, I am introducing her to you guys. The answer is simple; she made a thief out of me.

It all started on a relatively uneventful Monday when she mentioned she would be going to the DMA (Dallas Museum of Art) that Friday. Apparently, the museum would stay open late and she asked if I would like to go. Normally, I would have rebuked such a blatant attempt at attaining my friendship, but she mentioned that the exhibit was Greek themed and my determination wavered slightly. She added that there would also be a free lecture on the Greek Gods and Heroes. Once I heard that, all my protestations went out the window. I have been a fan of Greek mythology since I was a child. In fact, I was kicked out of ESL (English as a Second Language) classes after two and a half years because the teacher caught me reading The Odyssey. I am such a fan that I can still list the twelve Olympian gods from memory. Prove it, you say. Here goes: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Ares, Hermes, Apollo, Athena, Artemis, and Demeter. I swear to any god, though my favorite was always Athena, that I did not look that up. Also, the twelve Olympians changed from time to time and place to place. For example, I know some people, at some place or point in time, included Dionysus. I am not sure who was demoted or replaced I just know that it happened. I feel like I am digressing. Once I heard about the lecture, any qualms I had had about going were assuaged. I was actually very excited about it. There is nothing like a good lecture to start off your weekend. If you disagree with me, you are plainly, obviously, and unequivocally wrong. Despite all my excitement, I was not about to let The Thing know my true state so I told her that I would think about it and get back to her. I asked her who else was going and she said that another friend of hers was joining us. I was appalled at her assumption that we were friends. I quickly corrected her by telling her that it was not "another friend" that was joining us but just "a friend" as I was not to be considered her friend and that the use of the word "another" was inappropriate. She admitted her fault so now it was just a matter of waiting til Friday.

During the course of the week, we come to find out that the exhibit of Greek sculptures was a loan from London and thus had a cover charge of sixteen bucks. As much as I love the Greeks and their propensity for male nudes, I was not about to spend sixteen dollars when there are many free nudes on the internet. I am kidding... Yes, I am kidding. I had to think about that for a while but I decided I was kidding as there is a big difference between pornography and art (or pornographic art as Medea would call it). I did decide against paying for the exhibit though for two reasons: I had never been to the DMA before so there was plenty of stuff to enjoy that did not require purchasing a ticket, and I really did not want to spend any unnecessary money.

When Friday rolled around, I met The Thing in Highland Village and she drove the rest of the way. We had to stop in Irving to pick up her friend.  Unbeknownst to me, she had failed to mention to him that I was coming; therefore, I had to wait in the car while she went and knocked at his apartment. I felt like I could have called CPS (Child Protective Services) or at least animal protective services (if such an entity exists) because she left me in her car with the doors locked and the windows up. I started to see my life flash before my eyes but she came back so fast that I did not even get a chance to make it to puberty. Anyway, she introduced me to her friend and we were on our merry way. The drive there was only just a bit awkward due to the fact that I am uncomfortable with uncomfortable silences so I tend to fill the time with awkward comments and questions. I am not saying I felt like a third wheel; but, they were friends and I was the outsider. Other than that, the drive was uneventful. Well, I did have to look up directions because, even though The Thing offered to drive and had been there before, she did not know how to get there. She said that she usually would park at her sister's and take the, and I swear to the Flying Spaghetti Monster this was her word, trolley. I asked where her sister lived. She said Carrollton. By this time, we were already on I-35E close to the Medical Center Area. If you are unfamiliar with the geography of Dallas, we would have to drive about 20 minutes away from our destination from where we were to reach Carrollton. When I protested that this was not practical, The Thing said that she had meant to say that she would park at her sister's work. It was too bad that she did not make that clear earlier but she is not the great conversationalist that I am. Then again, few people are. Another hurdle we were not prepared for, due to The Thing's lack of un-trolley travel experience, was parking. We found one of those lots that you pay for at a machine a few blocks away. When we looked for the machine to pay, we noticed there was a line for people to pay. It turned out that the machine was malfunctioning so it took us about thirty minutes to be able to get a receipt to put in the car. All in all, what with the detour to Irving, the traffic of Dallas, the inconvenience of the parking lot, and a very needed bathroom break as soon as we got to the DMA, we were not ready to enjoy the museum experience until about seven thirty.

The lecture I mentioned earlier, the one that convinced me to attend the museum with people who were not my friends, started at seven. The restrooms were right next to the lecture hall so we asked a lady that was sitting at a desk if we could still go in. She told us that the lecture would probably only last about fifteen more minutes but that we were welcome to go in. We went in and The Thing's friend found three seats together for us to have a seat. However, the seats were not aisle adjacent and they were theater seats. I knew I would not be able to sit in one comfortably if I had a person on each side of me. As I was not close enough to The Thing yet for us to invade each others' personal space, I found an aisle seat two rows down and, with an apologetic hand gesture, motioned that I was going to sit there instead. Once situated, I was able to enjoy the droning monotonous voice of the lecturer whose soporific quality caused the gentleman behind to doze into a restful slumber. How do I know? I could hear his subtle snoring over my shoulder. His nap did not prove too distracting though as the lecturer was really only covering the basics and her lecture, or the last end of it which was all I caught, was very Heracles-centric.

After the lecture, we decided to roam around through the galleries in a meandering manner as we did not really know the layout of the place. At least, I did not know the layout as I had never been there before. We entered a gallery that contained myriad tribal art statues. I am not gonna accuse those cultures of being phallocentric but I lost count of how many penises I saw. However, I did learn that it is not polite to point them out to your fellow museum-goers since that is seen as "immature." It's not like they were realistic anyway. I thought of taking a picture but I did not know if that was against the rules and I did not want to get kicked out.

During our trajectory, we crossed Africa, South America, India and parts of Asia. We finally made it to Europe and went through Impressionism, Cubism and Renaissance. In the area between Cubism and Renaissance, we saw some stairs going down into another exhibit of which we could see a blown up picture of a very creepy clown. We decided against venturing into the nightmare gallery and decided instead for the more formal Renaissance paintings. However, we learned that the Renaissance gallery looped around to the Impressionist area. Since we did not know where else to go, we decided to go back and venture into the nightmare gallery.

We walked back to where we saw the stairs and descended into the clown photograph gallery. We soon realized that this gallery was showcasing different photographs by the same artist. I would tell you her name but, to be honest, I can't remember it. There were different rooms with different motifs. The creepy clown room contained about four or five blown up pictures of clowns. There was another room with the artist dressed in many different costumes. The most disturbing room contained pictures that were sexual but morbid and macabre at the same time. It was very entertaining if a bit unsettling. We walked through all the rooms; each of us taking as long as we wanted with each piece. Because of this, I found myself ahead of the group as I entered the last room we had to see. I was looking at the few last pieces of the exhibit when something peculiar caught my eye. First, one of the two main entrances from the outside to that first room was cordoned off sending all traffic through only one entrance. Second, I noticed that there was a pedestal letter board that showcased different prices for adults, seniors, children and students. Third, there was a gentleman at the entrance that had a handheld scanner and kept asking people for tickets. It was then that I started to think that we may have stumbled into a gallery that was not free. I re-joined The Thing and her friend and informed them of my suspicions. We then walked back into the room where my suspicions were confirmed and the first onset of panic began. What did we have to do? Should we go to the front, admit our mistake and pay our belated admission? We were not willing to do that. The admission fee was sixteen dollars and, if I was going to pay that much money, I was going to pay it to see some sculpted penises in the Greek sculpture exhibition.  We decided then to quickly, yet nonchalantly, trace our steps back and leave the way we came in. We headed back to the stairs and, as we were ascending back to the Renaissance area, we noticed there was an "Exit Only" sign written on the wall that stipulated the stairs should not be used to gain entrance into the priced gallery. We had not seen the sign when we went in and there was no one there to stop us. There is no excuse however and we unwittingly became art thieves. We remained paranoid for the rest of our stay at the museum, constantly looking over our shoulder and scanning the walls for cryptic messages that would incriminate us in any way.

The rest of the stay was uneventful. Come to think of it, the rest of the night was uneventful if you don't count the two times The Thing almost got in a car wreck and which made me decide I was not riding anywhere else with her if she was to be the driver. As for now, all three of us are still at large. I don't think police crack down on people who shirk their admission for an exhibit they stumbled upon inadvertently. Still, I believe I am now a seasoned criminal. Perhaps even more so than those who've spent time because I was smart enough not to get caught. Then again, bragging online about not being caught is how some real criminals have been apprehended so I better not admit anything offhand. For all you know, I made this story up. After all, my life is terribly boring and I am always looking for new stuff to post so I could have, and quite possibly did, make it up. That's for me to know. Well, me and The Thing and her friend.

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So What if I am not Typical? I'm Still Fun. by Not Typical, Yet Fun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.