what we do for fun

one of my colleagues asked me recently what my friends and i do for fun.  i can’t remember what i told her, exactly, but i didn’t explain it very well.

maybe because it’s rather hard to explain what we do for fun.  yesterday is a case in point.

after church friend roo reporter had organized a trip to the new bloch building addition to kansas city’s nelson-atkins museum of art.  this was to be a docent-led tour, and i really am not over-fond of docent-led tours.  i also didn’t want to go home, because my parents were still in branson celebrating their 21st wedding anniversary.  being home alone for several hours is no fun.

because i didn’t want to go home but also didn’t want to follow a docent around for an hour or two, i begged friend gracie to accompany me in running away from the docent.  we decided we’d go to chipotle beforehand.  because really, who doesn’t love chipotle?  okay, we do actually have a friend who hates it.  but that’s beside the point.

gracie loved the idea.  we then proceeded to convince friends picasso andmichaelangelo (and michaelangelo‘s elder brother, flyboy) to come.  it took a bit of what some people would probably consider pathetic pleading, but hey, it worked. gracie and i had to stop by her house in order to pick up her jacket (and her large bottle of arizona rx tea, as it turned out).  while en route to the plaza area to find chipotle (the location of which none of us had been exactly sure), we got a call from michaelangelotelling us they’d found it and how we could find it, too.  he asked what we were doing, and at that point i took an enormous swig of tea from the bottle, hoping to make gracielaugh.  she started to tell michaelangelo that we were chugging tea, but i also started laughing with all the tea in my mouth.  i don’t think i want to know where all that tea went.

finally we reached the chipotle, only to be confronted with my total ineptitude at parallel parking.  unfortunately for us, picassomichaelangelo and flyboywere watching us out of chipotle’s windows, so they saw everything.  then michaelangelo called us and proceeded to laugh at my lack of parallel parking skills while we yelled and pouted at him.  he told us there was actually a chipotle parking garage, if we cared to come back around the corner.  and so we did, but the only one we saw was for the library, so, since we were driving right past them, we signaled our disbelief that there was really a chipotle parking garage and, as if on cue, all three of them pointed over their shoulders.  we found the parking garage.

when we got inside they laughed at us some more and we returned that with more yelling and pouting of our own.  and gracie confiscated picasso‘s wallet.

after having enjoyed our burritos, we realized we were going to be late.  we hurried off to the nelson, which was not far away, and enjoyed the light rain that had begun to fall.  by the time we reached the nelson, however, the rain was more of a downpour.  gracie and i had to park some little distance away from the boys, and once again i executed an extremely poor attempt at parallel parking.  michaelangelo came rushing down to us with an umbrella, but all three of us were already wet, so when we reached the other boys (who had taken shelter under a nearby stand of trees), we decided to make a mad dash for it.  i removed my drenched bright green converse allstars and ran like the incongruous sight i was by that point (both gracie and i were still wearing our dresses from church).  the boys came barrelling by in an attempt to block the rain from me, but this really was not successful.

we reached the foyer of the bloch building and stood there, shivering and drenched, wondering whether we should go in or not.  after a minute or two (during which theguard-shawn-with-funky-glasses-and-a-gray-spot-of-hair looked at us semi-worriedly) we saw our group round the corner and wave at us.  we decided we’d better go in and face the music.  guard-shawn told us that gracie and i could go upstairs into the main building and dry off in the ladies’ lounge, but that i’d have to put my shoes on in order to do so.  the boys told us to come back so we could all make good our escape together.

mercifully, the main floor ladies’ lounge had two hand dryers, which gracie and i put to very good use.  we laughed a lot as we saw just how bedraggled we appeared.  we eventually emerged, slightly less bedraggled than before, and made our way back downstairs (some perfectly coiffed and flawlessly made-up girls gave me odd looks on the way down).  guard-shawn told us where we might be able to find our friends.  we found them and eventually escaped with michaelangelo and picasso, only to bump intomichaelangelo‘s and flyboy‘s sister, tiny dancer (yes, she is very petite, and yes, she does dance).  she also expressed her disdain for docent-led tours, and told us the heel of her shoe had broken, so she walked “click-clack, click-clack.”  we escaped from her after she had related to us a dream she’d had that one of picasso‘s elder brothers, piano man, had died.  this dream was recalled to her memory by the sight of piano man and his wife, songbird, happily standing hand-in-hand, pretending to be interested in the docent’s explanation of a piece of modern art.

we wandered around the classical parts of the museum, then became tired and decided we needed some coffee with which to revive ourselves.  we collected flyboy, since the tour had ended, bid adieu to roo reporter and, with her brother charlie brown and our friend clif-cleff in tow, we proceeded to go upstairs and contemplate the rainy situation outside.  eventually it was decided that picasso, who held my keys, would pull around to the entrance in my car, and michaelangelo and flyboy would do the same in theirs. charlie brown caught sight of the frieze of the assyrian god fertilizing a date tree and wandered off, leaving gracieclif-cleff and i to gaze in rapt delight and astonishment at the fountain outside.  we soon joined it, much to picasso‘s chagrin when he pulled up a few minutes later.  placing the blame for our venturing out into the rain upon myself, i told him to be quiet and then we were off to the scooter’s on the plaza, leaving clif-cleffto rescue charlie brown from the hands of the egyptians and romans.

during our time at scooters, we drank coffee and discussed the merits of the “where’s waldo?” books while trying to decide what the name of waldo’s love was and whether she fell in love with him first and changed her appearance and interests to be more like his, or whether that was purely coincidental and they’d just been meant for each other all along and had had a deuce of a hard time finding each other.  i also twirled my hair up with coffee stirrers, and picasso tried unsuccessfully to keep gracie awake.

the reason i relate the events of the entire afternoon is because most of the things that were especially fun in the end were, at the outset, totally unplanned.  almost whatever we do together ends up being fun.  that’s why it’s so hard to explain.