09 October 2016

Rainy Day in the Windy City

Nothing today has really gone according to plan.  For example - about ten seconds ago, the post I'd spent the last two hours working on (while watching Bringing Up Baby, I wasn't totally focussed) disappeared completely.  No idea where it went.  The app I used to compose the thing is now in the garbage can of my iPad and I'm back to composing the old fashioned way.  This post will probably be shorter and more sarcastic (if such a thing is possible. . .)

As I mentioned yesterday, we started off today by going to church.  Or, rather, we attempted to.  The address I found on lds.org took us who knows where.  As it was, we did get a rather fascinating conversation with our Uber driver, a man named Ali who was born in Iraq but came to the US via a Saudi Arabian refugee camp.  His life story was amazing - his determination to make the best of situations, the way he has been able to build his life from $350 a month to a solid accounting job at Boston University (and into a car that's way nicer than mine).  He spoke about the way he believes that our spirits are drawn to different places and people, how he picked our trip because, while he wouldn't normally go this way, it felt like the right thing.  I'm glad he did.

The whole drive reminded me of what a charmed life I've led - to have lived forever in cities where I could have the run of the neighborhood on my bike.  I remember riding my bike a mile away to the grocery store to go pick up donuts - or walking a few miles to school back when I was in elementary school.  I've had opportunity and grown up in a relatively just world.  It's easy to take that for granted and to sit on your laurels when so much of the world is in great need.  I don't know what the solution to that problem is - the imperialist solution that came about in the early 1900s is less than ideal, but dropping off food and supplies and running away seems heartless.  For the time being, I'm going to use my vote to support those who want to help bring refugees into the country to make better lives for themselves.  The process of getting into our country as a refugee is so complicated and difficult that I don't think there is any need to latch onto the fear that so many want to spread about those coming into the United States.  And you know what?  If someone did come into our country that did want to do harm, then fine.  Given everything else that's going on right now, they'd have to get in line with everyone else who is already doing harm.  That shouldn't stop us from doing good, especially to those who are asking for it.

We ended up napping instead of going to church before heading back out into the rain to the Museum of Fine Art.  Mom spent most of the ride there talking religion with our Uber driver, which I found pretty impressive because small talk is not my strong suit, but my mom has a fantastic way of sharing her thoughts without coming off as either pushy or weak.  She's a marvel.

The MFA is fantastic.  We had a great time wandering the different exhibits, particularly the American and European exhibits.  The quality of light and color in the impressionist paintings was particularly impressive to me.  Something about seeing such exquisite creation reminds me of the great potential humans have.  I also enjoyed a hallway that paralleled the cultural, political, and religious development in London and a city in China.  Museums that are well organized remind me of how much we have in common, and the beauty of what makes us different.

The Contemporary exhibit was unique - I have to remind myself in contemporary exhibits that it's a bit like wandering into the new fiction section of a bookstore - no one has any idea, yet, what books that have been published will have any kind of staying power in the long run so the whole area is pretty hit and miss.  Today there was a podium with speeches on it that you could read from as a commentary on the effect that a speaker has on the power of words (no one took the artist up on the challenge while we were there but the idea was cool).  In the same room there was a video of what appeared to be a woman eating something from her breast with a spoon.  I didn't get close enough to that one to figure out what the heck it was supposed to mean.  Also, ew.

We stayed at the museum until just before it closed, then walked through the rain to the T to catch a train home.  After years and years of public transportation exploring all around the world, I think I can comfortably tell you that I have seen a more interesting variety of personalities on trains in Boston in the last day than I have in all the other places I've been, with the possible exception of that drunken train ride we took in Germany a few years ago (we weren't drunk, the football fans were.)

We decided to catch a cab back home instead of walking the rest of the way in the rain - the cab we caught may not have actually been a cab. . .but the driver got us where we needed to go so. . . No harm no foul? Yay for adventures!  Not everything went as planned, but the day has still been delightful.  Tomorrow we head into old Boston in search of pastries, books, and history.

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