This summer I will be in Washington, D.C. doing an internship at the National Air and Space Museum. Come with me on my big adventure!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Too much crazy for one metro to handle.

This town is full of nut cases. Here are three separate incidents that I personally witnessed. I can't wait till you read number three. I'm almost tempted to make it number one.

1. Last weekend Tree came out to visit me. As we hopped on the metro we noticed an obviously homeless dude with a polka-dotted piece of luggage (with a crumpled up tissue shoved underneath the handle) and a bath towel over his face and another one over his lap. I've seen this dude another time on the metro, and some random passenger lady asked me if his luggage belonged to me! "Do I look homeless to you, lady?!" I should have shouted. Well anyway, we believe the purpose of the towels were to clean up the blood that was coming out of the disgusting sores covering both of his legs. Don't they put lepers in colonies anymore?! Weird. He randomly started talking/complaining about how the metro drivers turn off the air conditioning. Just be grateful there is a roof over your head for the next 4 stops, and that your legs are still attached to your torso, dude. I'm only sounding so mean right now cause I don't know how to deal with feeling so sad for him.

2. Last night while waiting for the metro, on my way home from Dupont Circle where I spent the evening with my intern buddy Margaret and her friend, I saw a crazy ass half homeless dude in an old fashioned suit trying to be a smooth talking pimp. This man was obviously out of his mind. He went up to this girl leaning against a pole and started talking to her in a really soft voice while moving his arms all weird. I tried to walk further down the platform cause I had a feeling he was getting on my train, and sure enough he did. He proceeded to walk up and down the aisle doing a little jig until the next stop, at which point he got off the train, and walked back into it, the next car down. I watched him through the connecting doors. He picked up a newspaper and posed against one of the poles, until at the next stop he got off that car and entered back into mine. At this point he sat down in the empty chair next to the girl sitting behind me and I glanced over my shoulder just in time to see him grab her hand and kiss it, like a true creepy gentleman and say "Sorry I come off so strong, baby."

3. The best thing I've heard at the museum so far, came via a voicemail on our Welcome Center answering machine. I wish I just had a transcript of it, but I'll do my best to relay this. "Hello this is *George Bloom speaking. I just wanted to see if the children at the Space museum had any ideas about what to do to clean up this oil spill in the gulf of Mexico! Maybe nobody will listen to ya, but perhaps you're young and naive enough to believe that something can be done and make a difference. You know, I was one of those kids who 50 years ago believed we could put a man on the moon! ........ Well this has been *George Bloom. Over and out! Have a nice day!" *Name perhaps different, cause I can't really remember. Some of the best parts are definitely being omitted here due to my lack of memory, but this was the basic idea behind it. I guess he called during Hurricane Katrina a few years back, and that message is also still in our saved messages.

While I've been pondering a solution for the oil spill, I've also been hard at work entering in tour reservations, filing cancellations, answering visitor inquiries like "Where is the black hole on display?" and other ridiculous things, typing up comment cards from such visitors as this huge dude who was pissed at how big our museum is because it is exhausting to walk through, and I've been getting to know Margaret, whose dad turns out to be a magician. I found this out after she borrowed my phone one night and couldn't get a hold of her parents. So the next day I got a call from some lady (who I later found out is her mother) who asked me, "Did you call this number? Were you looking for a magician? Perhaps for a children's birthday party? Did your husband maybe call looking for a magician? Your number is most definitely on our caller ID." Needless to say we were both very confused until later Margaret cleared things up and referred me to her dad's magician website. If you're interested, it sounds like he really knows how to have a good time.

I'm reading more about Amelia Earhart, and I think I want to get my private pilot's license someday. Maybe I'll be the first woman to eat a tofurkey sandwich while flying upside down!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Don't put your hands in art exhibits, bastards.

I made it through my first week as an intern! I've quickly learned that my favorite thing to do there is work at the welcome desk, not because I love telling people where the nearest bathroom or metro stop is, but because I love working alongside really smart old dudes. Most of the volunteers that work at the desk are retired men who know incredible amounts of information about airplanes, either from being in the airforce, working as a pilot, or just loving planes. The other day a southern bell of a man came up to the desk and proceeded to tell us about his business plan for space tourism. The guy was a giant idiot with a stain on his shirt and a mouth full of garbage, but my favorite volunteer just sat there and politely nodded until the guy finally left and the volunteer proceeded to tell me exactly why that man was a moron. I am going to learn a lot of life lessons this summer, and hopefully snag me one of those old volunteers to be my husband. I love my fellow medieval-loving intern, I love learning more about aviation history (just bought myself a book about Amelia!) and I love being involved with an institution that is all about helping broaden people's knowledge.

I don't like hanging out with all the Utah interns. I've learned how to navigate my way through the city, make myself action plans, and be more independent. It's a lot easier to see and do all the things I want to do when I am by myself. For instance, this morning I went to the Eastern Market/flea market. I think I'll go back one weekend when I have more money and when I'm hungry. I then walked over to the Shakespear Museum but it didn't look like it was open yet so I took some pictures of the outside and hopefully I can go back for a tour in the near future. I also found another museum that i want to check out, that is the home of the National Women's Party and Susan B. Anthony's desk! (Thanks Kelly, for making me buy that DC book! It has all kinds of cool information!) I took a tour of the Library of Congress, walked through the moist botanical gardens, bought my fellow intern a birthday bag of gummy spaceships from the museum shop (which she had mentioned wanting a couple of times during the week), and then went to the Hirshhorn Museum which turned out to be absolutely incredible! There was a fantastic Yves Klein exhibit there, and even though some dumb museum visitor had somehow fallen in the installation piece full of paint pigment and tracked blue all over the floor, making me hate humanity, it was one of the best art exhibits I've ever been to. You should read all about how he used fire to make art, used human bodies as his paint brushes, and had people send him gold to buy "immaterial pictorial sensitivity zones," or pretty much...nothing that you can see or touch. Genius! I found him quite fascinating, and his wife/studio assistant/muse/model is coming to the museum for an artist talk on Wednesday night, which I hope to attend.

I then suffered through a Real Salt Lake vs. DC soccer game with the molly mormon Utah intern crew, for the sake of claiming that I'm being social, only to realize that sometimes I would rather do things alone, and that I hate soccer. Wish me luck in Chinatown tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One day down. Many more old dudes drinking wine to see.

I did it! I survived my first day! I got a badge, a tour, paperwork, and an overload of information thrown at me. It was surreal walking from the metro this morning into the door of the museum marked "Staff only." After a brief introduction we took a tour of random parts of the building, which was confusing to me because I was at the back of the group. I remember seeing a bathroom? And a parking garage? Oh and a lady that sits in the staff elevator and operates it ALL DAY.
When I introduced myself to the group, the internship coordinator said, "Oh you're Mad Tucker!" which is my email address that she loved in our previous correspondences.
After our random tour, which I'm sure had greater purposes that I just couldn't hear, about half of us went across the street to an office building to get our ID badges. My picture, of course, ended up looking like Peter Pan, but what's new?
We then split up into our separate departments. Turns out I have a fellow intern working alongside me, which will be great. She loves all things medieval, and I like to call myself a modern lover, so we'll even each other out and make a great team I think. All my supervisors seem really nice. One of them took us all over the museum, to some of the same spots we had been before, which helped me understand the purposes of my previous introduction. He also overwhelmed us with information about many of the artifacts that people ask questions about a lot. My favorite part of the tour was on the 3rd floor where all of the big dude's offices are, where I got to meet one of the directors of the museum. He was this swanky old, slightly feminine sounding but probably just because he's sophisticated, man DRINKING A GLASS OF WINE. Whoa, did I step back in time to the 50's or something? Can you DO that? It was awesome and pretty much exactly what I thought a director of one of the most famous museums in the world would be like.

After that, we learned about working at the information desk, and scheduling all the volunteers. I guess we'll be responsible for making the schedule each day. They also got rid of us for a while and let us watch an IMAX movie. We decided to see the Hubble 3D movie which was pretty badass! We also learned how to close up the information desk which involves clearing off the counter and chaining together all the chairs with a dinky plastic chain. Haha.

If I could pick one word to wrap up the day, it would have to be -- OVERWHELMED. There is so much to learn! I couldn't believe it when we were told that what is on display at the museum is only about 10% of what the museum actually owns. Have you ever been there? That place is PACKED with history! And most everything is REAL! I also was a little overwhelmed with meeting new people, and seeing how many visitors there are, and thinking about trying to answer their crazy questions. I hardly know anything about air or space! I hope that by the end of this I've learned a bunch of cool facts to impress you with. Wait I've got one...Did you know that sometimes old ladies wear leopard print tube top dresses and high heels to museums to flirt with old men? It's true. I saw that today.

I also saw the Spirit of St. Louis, the 1903 Wright Flyer, the Apollo 11 command module, Spaceship One, and Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega (although that exhibit is under construction right now). Can you believe it??!!! I bet you can, if you try.