Thursday, July 5, 2012

In the Gallery of Bones

So today could have gone better, my darlings.  Nothing has gone spectacularly wrong, per se, but the general course of events have been liberally sprinkled with irritations, resulting in my currently pissed off and slightly unsettled mood.

It all started the night before all this.  I wound up in the clutches of one of my bouts of insomnia, legendary happenings that refuse to allow my brain to shut itself down.  I rolled, tossed, turned, kicked the covers off, pulled them back on, nearly fell off my couch-cum-bed, considered sleeping on the floor, and did all manner of other silly and inane things in an effort to convince my brain to put a sock in it and stop carolling the Hari-Krishna chant on an endless loop.  All for nought, of course.  I finally fell asleep, but by that point is was 5 AM and I what little sleep I had was uneasy and full of strange dreams that boded nothing but ill.  Naturally, I woke up feeling like I'd been run over by a truck, but still hauled myself in to the museum.  It would look bad, I felt, if I flaked out on my third day of work.

Hindsight, however, is always 20/20, and in this case it might have served me better to have stayed on my couch in hope of finally getting some real rest, as once I arrived at the museum I blanked completely as to what I should be doing.  I knew I should be researching my mad scientist, but my brain just would not play ball.  I was bleary as I ran google search after google search in hopes of finding any shred of information.  To cap it off, while I normally would spend minimal time in the office before heading off to the archives, today I felt compelled to stay as I had been informed that a sortie would be heading to the State Historical Society, who were in possession of papers regarding my man.  So, while waiting, I tried to generate anything helpful, which provided some intelligence but not enough for me to really sink my teeth into, and in the end I discovered that the sortie was not to happen anyway.  I'd sat around chewing my cud for nought (note, I do not lay blame for this - sometimes things just don't work out).

So, in a bit of a snit, I decided I'd go walk through the parts of the museum I had yet to see and try to get my head in the game.  I made my way into the main portion of the museum, clambered up several flights of stairs, and found myself standing before a large pair of wooden doors that, the map had indicated, would lead me to the rest of the museum.  I grabbed the handle of one, which sported a latch, and tried to open it. 

And that's when everything went to hell in a handbasket.  The doors started opening but were refusing to disengage, and to hasten the process I grabbed both handles and tugged the sluggish things wide.  This did open the doors fully, but had the unforeseen consequence of slamming one of the door panels into my right foot which I had neglected to move back when I grabbed both handles and tugged. 

There was a moment of realization, where my brain caught up with the fact that a huge piece of oak had just badly jammed several of my toes, and then the phosphorescent relay of pain began dancing up and down my nerve endings.  I will say in my favor that I did not cry or scream, though both of those were mostly because I was processing too much pain at the time to do either.  Instead I gasped, clutched my foot, and began cursing in every language available to me even as I backed away from the doors and gripped the nearby wrought iron banister, balancing against it as I waited for the pain to subside.  Once it had to some degree I managed to limp through the doors, only to discover I was on the wrong floor altogether.  Bristling at the irony I forced myself up one more flight of stairs (I am nothing if not stubborn), and stumbled gamely into the hall of mammals, and thence into the portion of that collection that is composed entirely of bones, where I collapsed on a bench.

That particular sector of the museum is equal portions elegant and slightly offputting.  I am a collector of bones, and even I couldn't help but feel a little unsettled with all the denuded tibias, fibulas, and humeri around me.  The huge right whale skeleton that hangs over the entire section does nothing to help with the memento mori sensation, and when you have just badly damaged yourself the last thing you need is more of a reminder of your mortality.  Even so, it is a beautiful, albeit grim sight, one which I alternately enjoyed and felt slightly disturbed by as my toes ceased to shriek in agony, giving their efforts over to a dull throb that has continued for the rest of the day.  I left both the exhibit and the museum shortly afterward, limping my broken self to Prairie Lights, where once again I am sipping a La Croix....though this one I am more apt to hold against my foot than forehead.

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