Get Your Getty On

Cookie, our new puppy, has this thing in her left eye called a "cherry." It looks like this:

As I have explained to thirty million children who want to know what that disgusting thing in the puppy's eye is, the gland popped out and she's going to the vet to have it pushed back in. The vet will also put a wee little stitch in there so this cherry will never pop again. Ha ha.

I took Cookie down to L.A. yesterday to hand her off to Marcel, who is taking her to his vet. I decided that since I was already down in the big city I should take the opportunity to do something new, something that might help me shake this malaise that's been hovering the last couple of weeks. Whose roots may or may not lie in the fact that (a) my dog died two weeks ago, (b) Jackson is back in school and my novel's going nowhere and what the fuck am I doing with my life?

So after handing an ecstatic little Cookie to her fantastically burly family (Marcel brought Cookie's mom, Georgie, and her brother, Emo, along for the ride = big bulldog bliss), I went up to the Getty.

Admission to the Getty is free but you have to pay $7.00 to park your car in the deepest, darkest underground lot I've ever decended into. Into which I've ever -- wow, I was on the fifth level below dirt and there were still five more to go. Earthquake? Good luck.

Once you reemerge from the parking tomb you stand in line for an electric tram to carry you up the hill:

My tram was full of suburban sixth graders who were Freaking Out About Everything. OMG! You can see the freeway from here! A kindly pair of volunteer old guys wearing green vests explained that the tram has no driver, it's run by computers, and it also has no wheels, it is instead conveyed along the track on a cushion of air, like a hovercraft. The hovercraft comment was directed at me, specifically, since Green Vest #1 probably assumed I was the only one on the tram who knew what a hovercraft was. I gave him a nod: These kids, they haven't seen the world like we have. "What if the computer crashes?" asked one alarmed eleven-year-old. Green Vest #2 had a smart-aleck response to that, which I've now forgotten, something along the lines of, the computer only crashes once a year, and they've already had their crash for the year, ha ha, we're safe today. The old guys weren't actually all that funny, but their outlook was dry and relaxed, which is how I hope I'd be if I was spending my days riding up and down a hill overlooking the 405.

Anyway, I got into the museum and the first piece of art I saw was a nice Giacometti:

I loves me some Giacometti, I'm not even sure why, it's probably left over from a romantic adolescent attachment to art history and anything that could be done by a man with a face like this:

After I found the women's room (the Getty has really, really nice women's rooms), I went up to the featured exhibit, Rubens and Brueghel. The one painting that really got to me was Diana's Return from the Hunt (you'll have to scroll down)(because even though photography is allowed in the museum I felt really self-conscious about taking pictures of the art, and I was hoping I'd be able to buy postcards of the paintings I liked best, which it turned out I couldn't). Nymphs and satyrs! The chaste figure of a vaguely middle-aged Diana in the middle, and the one nymph on the far right, looking at you as though she has a secret? Just what I needed. After five minutes in front of that picture I felt immeasurably better about my life. Plus, you know, satyrs bearing fruit always cheer me up.

After I took this picture I ate a Cliff Bar and wondered, really wondered with all my heart, why they went halfway around the world for the stone facing you see on that wall behind me. Seriously, Italian travertine? Was there not some local material that would have worked just as well and not cost a bazillion dollars and used enormous amounts of resources hauling 16,000 tons of rock from one hemisphere to the other? God, architects.

It's a good thing I carry emergency food with me because you never know when you'll be stranded at some cultural center getting really angry about something and with only $3.00 in your pocket. And $3.00 was just enough to buy a bottle of water to wash down my Cliff Bar and get my blood sugar straightened out so that my little jaunt could continue apace.

Those people probably came to the Getty with more than $10.00 minus $7.00 for parking. Actually, the museum cafe probably takes credit cards, but I didn't have time for food! I was there for art! Plus, I'd have to be leaving soon anyway to get back on the freeway and home in time to pick up Jackson from school.

The next exhibit I went to was Eliot Porter. It was nice.

Then I went to check out this fancy old cabinet they have that their conservators thought was a fake piece of renaissance furniture, and then they went through all this scientific testing (carbon dating, counting the tree rings on the walnut veneer and determining that the cabinet was made from a tree that was cut down in 1574) and now they think it's a real piece of renaissance furniture.

It was all very Antiques Roadshow and I enjoyed it very much. What I did not enjoy so much was that the room smelled like ball sweat, produced, I believe, by the old Japanese tourist who carried a cloud of ball sweat with him, like Pigpen, and who was just leaving the room as I entered. O ripening old fellow, you are in America now and we don't like to smell each other so much as they do in other countries. Please bow to our cultural narcissism and apply some Right Guard.

My museum stamina was really waning at this point, so I went to check out the Family Room, just to see if there was anything that would make it worth dragging Jackson down here anytime soon.

It was small, and very cute, and had a replica of a renaissance bed that you could actually get into, but I think most kids would be done with the whole thing in about ten minutes. As I, unfortunately, was done with the whole museum in just over an hour. So much for my cultural endurance.

But here's another picture of Cookie.