Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stepping Up My Game

Been quite awhile since I’ve had a dose of culture. I am known for buying books (especially in advance of summer beach time) that wrestle with Life’s Big Questions. Whether spiritual tomes or great literature, it always strikes me that I should be reading it all (and all at once), and I never have enough time during most of the year. Never mind that by late July my beach reads ALWAYS skew towards the lighter side of chick-lit —every year I resolve again to use the dog days to better myself!
Same goes for theatre, concerts, museums and the like. Prices are up, for sure, which often puts a damper on my plans, but why can’t I even make it to a good foreign film these days?  Instead, most evenings I find myself sprawled on the sofa watching  reruns of “Modern Family” or (worse)”The Real Housewives of New York City”.  The only “bettering myself” that occurs at these times is the vague sense that at least I am better than the Real Housewife who screams at everyone at that party in Aruba.

So when my girls invited me to visit them in Brooklyn earlier this month, I anticipated lots of gabbing, ordering in pizza and getting our nails done (all of which occurred, all of which was  
Manicure Girls!
wonderful). I steeled myself for multiple subway hops here and there (my blasé New Yorker daughters didn’t bat an eye when two energetic young men got on, cranked up a boom box and proceeded to break dance in the aisle as the train lurched down the track. I pretended to be unaffected by this spectacle, even as I clutched my purse, stared straight ahead, and willed them to get off at the next stop).

But I hadn’t figured that Julie had plans, cultural plans, for us. The second day of my trip, she announced that we were going to the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, followed by dinner and the ballet at Lincoln Center. A native Manhattanite, I had never been to the Guggenheim, only knew it from the outside as an iconic Frank Lloyd Wright building. Ascending the spiral walkway through the museum, marveling at the incredible, thought provoking exhibits of modern art, I chided myself for avoiding this gem for so long. Later, we delighted in the sheer beauty of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” danced by the American Ballet Theatre.  

I returned home to Oreland at least 10 IQ points smarter, I’m sure.  And the question is: will I lose ground from here on out? Will I revert to the path of least intellectual resistance and pick up the Real Housewives where I left off? Or, instead, will I pick up a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, or tickets to a mentally stimulating play? 

The choice is mine, I know that. 

So may this be the year of Mahler and Dostoyevski. May I exercise that long-neglected muscle called my brain much more, and give thanks for the intellect I do have.

Proof I was there!

Happy summer, everyone!

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