Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Field Trip!
I have to admit it was my idea. I knew that each month every museum in Los Angeles County (maybe everywhere) has one day a month which has free admission. So I suggested to my case managers, the lovely Erin and Paul, that we should go on a field trip to both the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the Museum of Natural History, here downtown. Erin and Paul decided to go to the art museum first, and that day was yesterday.
It all began near ten in the morning in my lobby. Those who wished to go congregated down there, Patricia, Watson, Jose, Robert, about ten of us. I came down a little early to water the plants in our garden before leaving. Then we stood around waiting for Erin and Paul.
They soon emerged from their office.
"That's a pretty dress you're wearing, Erin," I told her. It was a pretty dress. A red-orangish slip kind of thing, that came down to just above her knees, with a black decorative trim at the bottom. She wears dresses to work so infrequently it is worth commenting on.
"Thank you," she replied. "It's my hot day, going to the museum dress."
It is important to have the appropriate apparel for specific occasions such as these.
We gathered everyone, then walked to the nearby bus stop on Central.
The Metro Transit Authority has done something unusual recently. They did something that made sense.
For years I've been frustrated that the 720 Rapid, the huge new buses that are actually like two buses stuck together, completely ignored the skid row area of downtown Los Angeles, with no stops anywhere between downtown, all the way into East LA, or Whittier. Within the last month the MTA has finally placed a stop for the 720 at Sixth and Central. So that is where we began our adventure.
Of course the bus, as big as it was, was very crowded, standing room only for the first part of our journey. Eventually, as passengers exited, I managed to grab a seat near the back, as did Erin and Patricia up front. Robert and Paul were not so fortunate and stood all the way to the museum.
It was a one shot trip that only took about thirty minutes. We exited at Wilshire and Fairfax, where chance would have it, the museum resided.
But we were an hour and fifteen minutes early as the museum did not open until noon. We knew we would be early, but had decided to visit the famous La Brea Tar Pits first, which are adjacent to the museum.
For just a cluster of tar pits in the middle of Los Angeles, they have gained much world renown for all of the fossils that have been collected from excavating them throughout the years. It seems that since the last ice age, about fourteen thousand years ago, poor unsuspecting mammoths, saber toothed cats, sloths, and a whole bunch of other animals have visited the pits to get a drink of water. They were thirsty! They did not know that a few feet under the water that covered the pits there was sticky tar which they got stuck in, where the sank down and eventually died, leaving their bones for later discovery. Poor ice age animals (and one woman, who got stuck about nine thousand years ago)!
We walked east on Wilshire to the big tar pit they have there. As soon as we got there everyone wanted to leave. Or at least Erin, Jose, Watson, Candice, and myself decided to take the long walk up Fairfax to the Framers Market to get something nice to eat. The rest didn't feel like walking that far. We had about an hour.
We arrived at the market at 11:20, and circumnavigated the interior until Erin decided on what she wanted to eat, which turned out to be something called a lamb gyro, meat on flat-bread with various seasonings. Candice and Jose took Erin's lead and had one as well. I had already eaten, so I abstained.
We were running out of time so those who bought gyros had to eat them while walking back. Erin was nice enough to give me a bite of her sandwich, which was very good, although I cry for the poor lambs who gave their lives for our nutritional needs.
Poor little lambies!
We made it back right on time and entered the museum, and out of the heat of the bright sunny day.
LACMA is actually a collection of buildings holding different kinds of art in each. The first building we entered had the tremendous sculpture pictured above, "Smoke," by Tony Smith, filling up the entire atrium.
"We need one of these for our garden," I told Paul. He agreed.
We then entered the "Pompeii, and the Roman Villa," exhibit. They had a whole bunch of Roman statues, jewelery, paintings and artifacts in there. I pretty much kept near Erin throughout the trip to make sure no one kidnaped her, or something, but lost sight of her in the villa for about twenty minutes. I walked through the entire exhibit twice without seeing her, and was about to call 911 when she popped up out of nowhere.
"I've been watching a video," she told me.
Paul, Jose, and I returned with Erin to the video room. The video she had been watching was a documentary about a photographer making a series of prints depicting the decadence, sensuality, and brutality of Roman culture before God punished them with a big volcano in the year 79. Very interesting.
We soon tired of decadence, sensuality, and brutality, and wandered throughout the rest of the museum seeing various forms of art. We saw Islamic art, European art, modern art... all kinds of art. It was a damn museum for Christ's sake!
Erin was deeply disappointed that the building housing photographs was closed. I sencerly hope that she gets over it one day.
At about 2:15 our core little group decided to leave. Erin, Paul, Jose, Watson, and I caught another completely packed 720 for the return trip (I don't know what happened to the others as they had wandered off). I instructed Erin and Paul on the ways of bus etiquette, who only take the bus on field trips such as these. And after another thirty minutes the bus let us off back at Sixth and Central.
I discovered something very interesting about my case manager on the short walk back to our place concerning her fiery hot temper.
Dear Erin, I will make this statement now for all future occasions.
You are always right.
So please don't hurt me.

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