The New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art is not the best place to have an abscess in your mouth, especially if you’re nine years old, and you also have new shoes that are making you have to curl your toes to keep them from pinching.
This is a good thing to keep in mind.
It also doesn’t matter that your mother warned you that new shoes are a terrible idea in New York City; they were SO colorful and pretty you just HAD to wear them.
It also doesn’t matter that you just WOULDN’T bring your jacket, because it was warm when we left. Mom will hand over hers, even though all Mom is wearing is a little black tank top and low-rise jeans that she only just realized barely covers her belly like a teenager’s; she can tell by the little breeze that keeps giving her goose bumps.
Mom is also thinking she is very grateful that since Peter’s been away, she’s lost about ten pounds missing him, or else that belly might be hanging over said blue jeans, making this not only uncomfortable for her, but also for onlooking museum-goers. When Peter comes back, and we all come here together, she will get Peter to hold all the jackets.
Because it will be a cold day in July before Mom lets anybody go anywhere again in new shoes and no jacket, that is for DARN sure.
Still: Mom got to see six Van Gogh paintings in person, and that was worth being cold. Sort of. Considering that Mom lost about 600 calories shivering, and Vincent lost his mind and an ear for the sake of those painting, Mom made out lucky in comparison.
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The painting you see pictured is Vincent VanGogh’s Cornfield with Cypress Trees, and it was my favorite of the lot. The reproduction here, like all reproductions of the massively, endlessly reproduced VanGogh images, does scant justice to the painting.
Everyone in the entire universe has seen VanGogh’s work by now, which is interesting, considering the man was considered – and actually, he kind of was – a total flake during his lifetime. He never sold a single painting, although now they’re worth zillions. Not to him, of course. Now he’s dead as a doornail, poor earless thing.
Even now, as talented as he is, if he were someone I knew, he’d probably be one of those friends who, when they call, you kind of go: “Listen, Vincent, I gotta run, can I call you back? No really, this time I WILL call… No, don’t drop by, the kids are… they’re sleeping. Daytime? They’re – they’re napping. No, don’t drop by then, either. Why? Um. Why, that’s a good question. Oh, I’ve got it! Because the principal of their school is coming by, that’s why. Listen, Vincent, can I call you back? I really have to run…”
And you wouldn’t want to even ASK him about his ear. He’d get all started on how in love he was with that girl. He’d go on and on. and you’d be rolling your eyes at whoever was with you in the room…
“Is that Vincent again? Hang UP, for Heaven’s sake!”
You’d be mouthing: “I can’t, I feel SORRY for him…”
Your friend would walk away, shaking his head and muttering.
If you were lucky, though, Vincent would SO appreciate you as his only friend that he’d send you paintings – which, since he was still alive, you would TOTALLY not appreciate. You’d look at the weird, vibrant colors, the thick layers of paint – and like everyone else who saw the radical departure from the sedate, perfect realism of painting back then, you’d force a smile onto your face and say: “Gee, thanks, Vincent, you REALLY shouldn’t have.”
You’d let him sit at your kitchen table and mope, though and probably watch him cry. You’d feed him, because he never had any money. Then, after he overstayed his welcome, you’d send him on his way.
If you were a goofball like me, you’d probably shove the painting into a closet, where one of your kids would decide to “improve it” with crayon or lipstick.
Either that, or your spouse would give it away behind your back to a keener-eyed friend who offered to take it off his hands, even though it meant something to you, because Vincent, as annoying as he could be, was, after all, your pal.
Then, a few years after Vincent died, you’d learn that he was declared a genius, and, thrilled that you had one of his works, you were now set for life, and your kids could go to any college they wanted, you’d go to dig out that painting you’d stored safely in that closet…
Only to find that your husband had sold it to his more savvy friend for a handful of magic beans.
In which case, the only thing to do would be to plant the magic beans, grow the beanstalk, send said husband up after the golden goose, and once said husband is out of sight into the clouds, chop down beanstalk and look for another painter friend.