In other news: Mom hates museums.

7 Apr

Last week when I posted about our trip to the Library of Congress, I was primarily fixated on the bitchy woman who worked security. I completely didn’t do the rest of the visit justice.

If you like books or architecture, then the LOC should be on your must-see list when you visit DC. It’s free (like almost every other cultural destination in this fine city), and it’s a gem.

I take any willing guest there if faced with a rainy day, but it’s been years since I took the guided tour. The building is loaded with symbolism, and over the years my explanations have gotten a bit thin.

“See that statue there? She represents travel, which is why she’s holding onto a train.”

<A docent sadly shakes his head as he walks by.>

So this time, knowing my dad is history buff, I suggested we all take the guided tour. Much better than me making shit up that he’d be able to call me on.

The tour was about an hour long, and our guide was a retiree who looked like the kid from the Christmas Story all grown up. He had a bit of a Boston accent and had two interesting delivery methods for the facts he shared with us.

One was to  lead up to a point (with an almost pissed off kind of tone) without  actually making it:

How many bulbs do you see there? Well there’s four, and there’s five and there’s four. Let’s do the math. That’s thirteen. Thirteen lights. When was this built?

(Presumably there was some symbolic reference to the first 13 colonies, but he wasn’t going to connect the dots for us. No sir. He would help us do basic math, but if we were too stupid to understand the symbolism, then to hell with us.)

The other method was to say something that wasn’t funny, but then raise his eyebrow as if daring us to find the humor in it. And he kept turning while he spoke, which ensured that at any given time, approximately half of his audience was having to strain to hear him.

My mom isn’t a fan of history to start with, so after about ten minutes of his delivery, she leaned over to me and said, “Piss on this. I hate tours” and walked across the room to sit on a bench and people watch.

My dad and I soldiered on, learning about the numerous fires that led to the establishment of a distinct library for congress, seeing the Gutenberg Bible. All while my mom looked on from across the foyer, her arms crossed in judgment.

When the tour wrapped up, she rejoined us. “That was really interesting,” my dad said, looking to me and finding agreement.

My mom just shrugged. “I think tour guides talk too much. Who really gives a shit about the details?”

Ironically, my mom is something of a docent with the Historical Society in the town where my parents live. Twice each year she provides a guided tour of one of the town’s oldest homes. Now that I know her stance on tour guides, I’d pay to be a fly on the wall for her tour.

Somehow, I imagine it sounding like this:

“This is a house. It’s rather old. Any questions?”

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