Natural History

Currently wearing: white button-down shirt, blank pants, kitten heels, groovy faux-turquoise necklace, huge diamond.
Currently reading: Just finished the Long Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson and am now perusing the May O Magazine
Currently listening to: The Vince Guaraldi Trio
Currently anticipating: Evil Dead & laundry.
Currently debating: How my adoration for Lisa Marie Presley affects my cool rating.
Currently grateful for: My husband, my work.

Stuffy, stuffy, stuffy. Tylenol Cold&#174 is not helping. Kleenex &#174 with lotion is somewhat, but even so my nose is shiny and red. At least I’m going home to a nice man. And a nice bed. And nice unconsciousness.

Yesterday I received approval to attend a seminar on direct marketing for non-profits. That means a day out of the office, possibly even learning something new. I always dig that. But, my friends, this gets even better.

My seminar is not in a nondescript hotel boardroom in some nondescript hotel conveniently situated near an airport with bad parking and worse traffic. Oh no. This sweet, sweet seminar is being held in the Montgomery Ward Hall at The Field Museum!

The Field is arguably my favorite place in the entire world that doesn’t have thrill rides. Every time I visit, I come away with something memorable – a trinket, some knowledge about Hopi Indians, or self-esteem. I swear, there is magic in that building.

My first visit was in 1988, a year I was just beginning to find a precarious foothold in those rocky adolescent years. It was the spring of eighth grade: Brian Boitano had captured the gold medal (and my hormonal little heart) the previous March, Expose�s latest 45 was in heavy rotation on my turntable, my class was going to Chicago, and my parents wouldn’t split for another year. Life was good.

I think the biggest problem I faced that spring was Bryan S. He was new to my school, nice enough, and he really liked me – in, you know, THAT way – a bit too earnestly and with little regard to how I felt about him. And I just didn’t like him back THAT way. I couldn’t seem to get rid of him in any humane way. To this day, I still haven�t mastered breaking The News to a guy gently and honestly. It seems I always end up a little too scathed in the end. I�m just too nice about it,and not nice enough to myself. But I digress.

Anyway, as luck would have it, Bryan was in a couple of my classes, and was also headed to The Field on my bus. As I recall, he even managed to talk his way into the seat beside me for a brief period of time, before my blunt friend Anitra kicked him out. At the museum, he tried to woo me all day long, showing up in nearly every exhibit Anitra & I visited, pleading with puppy dog eyes for me to hold his hand, to no avail. I was a holding-hands virgin, and would not compromise my standards for just any boy (that would come much later).

It was just outside the cafeteria when Bryan and the threat of his sweaty palms and even those cool Lions of Tsavo were forgotten completely. There, in a souvenir kiosk, I saw the guy who would become my constant companion and great comfort for the next fourteen years. He’s white and so soft, quiet and reassuring. I named him Jack. After all, boys come and go but Teddies are ever faithful.

Jack, Today.

And so, my love affair with The Field began.

Since then, I’ve been back to the Field numerous times, and every trip has had its wonder moments. There is simply something about that museum, with its roman columns and nineteenth-century interior that casts a spell on those who are willing to be enchanted.

I’ll never forget wandering mesmerized through the Gem room, lost in the light and the magic of the jewels, when an attractive young guy, with funky black glasses (before they were cool again) leaned into next to me. I glanced up at him, wondering if I knew him. When he saw he had my attention he looked me in the eye for a moment, then asked, “do you know you’re beautiful?�”

I stammered something, I don’t remember what, as he smiled and disappeared. I never saw him again.

There is magic in the Field Museum.

One thought on “Natural History

  1. As if I need more reasons to whine about being so far from Chicago. I have heard of this wonderful museum, and am now, before Meg and Everybody, vowing to go tehre one day soon. With you, even.


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