Friday, February 13, 2009

Ferris Bueller ain’t got shit on me!

In these turbulent days in America, when the economy is going down the toilet faster than a watery dump, and our social identity is reflective of Popeye’s friend Wimpy (I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a bailout/stimulus package today!) it’s no surprise that I have joined the ever expanding throng of jobless Americans. Of course, unlike the rest of the Great Unemployed Unwashed, I purposely don’t want a job. It gives me a chance to work on my nunchuck skills.

On the other hand, all of the free time I have threatens to drown me in a wave of ennui. I can watch cartoons and sit around in my boxers only so much before my mind starts to shut down from lack of use. I’ve gotten used to being productive and I’m having a hard time getting back to my old slacker self.

That’s when it hit me. Having no job isn’t a punishment, it’s a blessing! This is my opportunity to go out and live! When Ferris Bueller took his day off, he didn’t just hang out in his place surfing the internets for clown porn, he went out and had a wonderful day in Chicago, impersonating sausage magnates and singing falsetto on convenient parade floats. That’s every high school kid’s dream!

So I’ve decided to turn my boredom into excitement! Or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Sadly, I’m in my frugal phase, so I can’t really go out and make it rain on some middle of the day, C Squad strippers. I’m limited to doing things that don’t really cost that much, like terrorizing campers with crudely tied bundles of sticks a la Blair Witch, or sitting on the street corner begging for change.

Luckily I live in the D.C. metro area so there are oodles of cheap entertainment options for me to take advantage of, (oops, I shouldn’t let that dangle like that. Let me rephrase: “Oodles of cheap entertainment options of which I can take advantage.) Like slashing the tires of the cars in the Chuck E. Cheese parking lot, or loitering outside of the Quickstop with my hetro lifemate.

Yesterday I hoped on the metro. And after a long, convoluted journey, which involved me jumping on and off trains like my name is Jason Bourne, I found myself downtown on the National Mall. My plan: a luxuriously slow-paced examination of the various museums that make up the Smithsonian.

You see, even though I’m local, every time I’ve gone to the museums it’s been with at least one other person. When people go to museums in groups of two or more, they don’t really take the time to peruse* the many exhibits there for our edutainment. Everybody just kind of blows by the exhibits as if it’s a race to get through the museum superfast while retaining as little information as possible.

So I decided to go to my favorite museum, (Air & Space represent!) to finally learn how man was able to break the surly bonds of gravity to ascend to the heavens, (turns out it involves helium and toothpicks. Who knew?). There’s a certain level of kick assitude to the Air & Space museum. It’s got big ole planes hanging from the ceiling, that were installed in the early 70s and threaten to fall and crush you at any moment. It’s got old, yellowed Russian documents that are purported to be about the 1960s space race, but could also be a recipe for borsht, for all I know. It has installations that tackle head on the fact that we are all insignificant specks on a stupid ball of dirt in an ever expanding and unloving universe. It’s got astronaut ice cream!

I stepped into the lobby of the museum a little after 11. Though there were metal detectors and x-Ray machines in the entrance, I was waved through without any fuss. Which was great because I was packing my special going-to-downtown-D.C. Luger and I didn’t want to have to make a scene at the museum, capping inept security guards left and right. It would have hindered the learning experience.

When I left the museum, a little over three and a half hours later, I hadn’t even finished the first floor. I had been overcome by all of the knowledge there for me to absorb. I had wandered, childlike, eyes full of awe and wonderment, from exhibit to exhibit trying to make sense of the deluge of aeronautical information.
I was particularly fascinated by the Russian spaceship toilets installation. These were intimidating machines, full of tubes and nozzles that in no way looked comfortable to use. Ivan sure is crazy!

As I walked out of the museum, into the gale-force winds that we had yesterday, I realized that my original plan of hitting up two museums that day was too naïve. I hadn’t even finished looking at all the exhibits on one floor of one of the dozen or so museums that liter the mall, (not counting the ones located elsewhere in the city.) So, it looks like I’m gonna make Thursdays my museum day. Each Thursday I’ll make my way down town and spend a few hours at a museum before winging my way back home before rush hour is in full effect. If you live in the DC area and are jobless, (like myself) or just want to play hooky for a day, then join me next Thurs at the mall, and we’ll enjoy a day of edutainment fit for the whole family!

But bring a bag lunch, those DC McDonalds prices are no joke. Seriously, I don’t even have a joke for how unnecessarily expensive that food can be. It’s stupefying.

*In its original definition, meaning to study intently. It’s odd how the meaning of that word has evolved over the centuries. Go ahead, look it up.

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