This is an excerpt from my 2010 novel; Yellow Socks-Confessions of a Non-Don Juan
One Sunday I went to the Baltimore Museum of Visionary Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art. I went with a girl I work with named Janet, her friend Lenora, and their Museum Education teacher Barry. Although I’ve shared a few rides and a few cigarettes with Janet I was riding for two hours with relative strangers. Janet picked me up in at 8th and Market where the Patco Speedline (Jersey to Philadelphia train) dropped me off. I got in the car and we made our obligatory introductions. “Hi. Good to meet you.”
I sat in the back seat next to Barry. Janet drove with her friend as co pilot. Barry was pretty cute. She had most of my requirements for a fuck fantasy. Cute face, skinny, decent tits, and long legs. But she’s probably an idiot. She was dressed very normal. Trendy jeans and standard shoes and jacket. I started to write everyone off as an idiot when I first met them at that point in my life. I was also willing to change that if I had to.
Janet’s friend, Lenora seemed to be one of those babbling women. She picked up where she left off before I got in the car. Something about her workman’s compensation not covering her tuition and who she wants to sue. She’s already got a few strikes against her for being beastly looking. I don’t want to feel like this but I do.
I especially can’t stand women that incessantly complain.
When the topic finally switched to something else thanks to Janet, I was still bored. Janet brought up seeing the band or performer or whatever it is called some name I can’t remember but sounds like she’s saying Herbal Essence. “They played on David Letterman and it was the greatest thing in the world and I can’t believe Letterman made fun of them. ” “Let’s put on the their cd.” “I think I have it right there.” They put it on and were singing along and I can’t even describe the crap I was hearing.
I came prepared for something to read. Jim Goad’s Shit Magnet was definitely great escape from this ordinary madness I was trapped with. I read for about a half an hour before Barry wanted to look at the book I was reading. I gave her my best watered down version of who Jim Goad is and his influence on me etc. She was surprisingly interested. So the ride perked up a little.
Conversations became more interesting and so did Barry. She was twenty-nine years old. She has an under graduate degree in Art History. She was working towards her Masters degree in Museum studies. I actually like people that are cultured. I wasn’t used to it on my personal life.. She was also down to earth. She wasn’t pretentious but she knew her shit.
I guess I’ve become a bit of an Art History common sore myself. I’ve learned a lot more than I thought I knew working at the Art Museum for a year. Enough to carry an intelligent conversation to a certain degree. I’ve also gained an interest in outsider, folk and self-taught art.
I couldn’t wait to see Rev Howard Finster’s creations live in person at the Museum of Visionary Art. He was best known for his Garden of Eden junkyard installment in his own yard. Sam Doyle was a nice surprise. I discovered him at the American Folk Art Museum in NYC. Real raw paintings of people on pieces of steel. And I found new artists to drool over. Elizabeth Layton, an eighty something year old artist who does these detailed cartoon style drawings that are almost reminiscent of Alice Neel, another old lady self taught artist with national fame. Barry and I bonded a little more and we seemed to end up together separated from Janet and her friend. Either I was following her or she was following me. In my head I still kept my distance
The Baltimore Museum of Art was also fantastic. The Modern contemporary exhibit is so much more extensive and intense than the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There was plenty of Warhol, and Raushenberg,art etc. Barry introduced me to and explained Zoey Leonard. Zoey Leonard takes fruit and sews it back together after eating the fruit inside. It represents death and decay of humans. I enjoy someone explaining some of the art to me and she was a good teacher. When she took off her jacket I thought that she was a great teacher with a nice ass.
We went through the Cone exhibit.
“In the early 20th century, two Baltimore sisters-Claribel and Etta Cone assembled one of the most important art collections in the world. Visiting the Paris studios of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, they acquired an exceptional collection of art, which they displayed in their Baltimore apartments. The sisters also collected paintings by Cézanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, and Renoir, and a variety of textiles, jewelry, furniture, and African, Asian, and Near Eastern art. Cone Wing galleries provide an intimate setting in which to view these masterpieces as well as insights into the sisters’ diversity as collectors.” A tour guide said.
It was pretty amazing. They also had this virtual reality touch screen that’s bigger than my TV. You can navigate your way around the collection on screen.
We’re all got pretty hungry by five o’clock since none of us but Barry ate all day. I had a pretzel but that doesn’t count. A fellow patron at the Museum suggested this Italian restaurant that I can’t remember the name of. We hit the gift shop then headed on our final mission together to get something to eat.
We pulled up to this Italian restaurant and it was next to a place called Moe’s Seafood. We thought since we were in Baltimore we should try seafood so Moe’s it was. The second we walked in the nasty stank of bad fish hit us. We looked around and it looked horrible. Dirty tables. Smoke filled room. We left and went back to the Italian restaurant. After all, a Baltimorean recommended it so it must be great. We walked in and it was the opposite of Moe’s. It was fancy and we were under dressed. We waited ten minutes to get seated and another fifteen at the table. We were starving so we left.
We walked the streets for another half of an hour before we ended up on Broadway and there were so many restaurants we panicked. So Barry fixed her eyes on a place called Bertha’s with a big sign that said “Eat Bertha’s Muscles”. It was telling us what to do so Bertha’s it was.
Bertha’s was a just a bar when we walked in. There was nowhere to sit. We were going to give it up but I spotted the sign that said Dining Room. We squeezed our way through the bar to the Dining Room. We were seated immediately. The service was fast. The food was awesome. We shared muscles and the laughs. Great conversations and I felt our bond growing even more as Barry shared personal stories and experiences. At one point she touched my thigh while laughing at some joke. I caught myself thinking about her naked. I caught myself thinking it’d be really different to get with a woman that has her shit together. I immediately dismiss these thoughts because they usually lead to nowhere anyway.
The trip home was comfortable. We all spent an entire day together and still liked one another. We were laughing and joking even more. The flirting and the connections were growing stronger and stronger. I knew better. It would all mean nothing to anyone here after a week or two. I shook her hand goodbye and said “it was nice meeting you.” I got out of the car and left Barry behind me.
I never saw her again and it’s better that way. The attraction. The flirting. The exchange of personal information. The temporary connection. It probably meant nothing to her. Sure she’ll say “Pete was a nice guy or Pete was cute.” but it really doesn’t mean anything. She’ll forget about me. Times like this used to mean something to me. Now it’s just what people do. We share moments. We share blocks of time and whether we bond or connect only mean something for that short time. I still remember these times but I don’t feel them anymore.