Without question, I need more time to reflect on whatever has been bothering me so much at work that I’ve been reduced to swearing at the IT people in meetings. I had planned to take Friday-Monday-Tuesday off for the Independence Day holiday, but decided on Wednesday to leave early and take Thursday off, too. Which is today. And I decided, late yesterday, that I needed to “do something.”
So, this morning I rolled out of bed, drove to Chicago, and spent the day at the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. I got to see the artifacts from King Tut’s tomb (including some amazing treasures so intricately crafted that I doubt contemporary artisans could do better — especially the golden dagger wrapped in Tut’s linens), and take in the other joys of the museum. The Tut exhibit featured a roughly chronological narrative, displaying artifacts from the 18th dynasty in a series of themed galleries before ending with Tut’s artifacts. Somewhat strangely, the final gallery emphasized the life of average Egyptians, which was discordant with the theme of the other galleries. Additionally, the emphasis the exhibition placed on Tut’s position as the first restorer of traditional Egyptian religion after the upheaval of Egyptian-style monotheism seemed incongruous. Yes, it was the major event of the day, but I’m not confident that weaving a purely religious monotheism-versus-polytheism motif throughout the exhibition would have the payoff among museum attendees as it might among antiquities scholars.
Of course, I did make the mistake of assuming that the “directions” provided by the Field Museum had some basis in reality. So I ended up touring downtown Chicago before I made my way to the museum. I was worried at first that I was 45 minutes late (the Tut exhibit has timed tickets, to avoid lengthy lines and overcrowding). Fortunately, in addition to overlooking the need for a decent map, I also overlooked the implications of crossing into a different time zone, so I actually ended up being on-time for my designated hour.
Touring the Field Museum can generate an appetite. So, after enjoying a delicious, authentic Chicago-style lunch (boiled generic hot dog with a bunch of crap on it, and a can of diet Pepsi), I meandered over to Shedd Aquarium. Got to see the dolphin show, which was pleasant if not “Sea World spectacular.” Duane would have loved the penguin habitat. The various displays of a tropical rain forest were outstanding.
The trip back was also mildly vexing; I tried to time it so I’d miss Chicago’s rush hour, but alas, the fates conspired against me in the form of detours to even get onto the Dan Ryan, eastbound. On the bright side, Illinois drivers seem more friendly and more in tune with the need for maintaining the flow of traffic than my fellow Michigan citizens. I swear, if I’m ever elected to major office, I’m going to ban minivans.
In all, the trip lasted from 8:30 a.m. EDT to 10:00 p.m. EDT. And I made the entire circuit in less than one tank of gas. Woo!
Yeah, I need to get out more often.