Friday, October 14, 2011
Back when Sue and I were having difficulty paying to fill our car with gas, I won an all expense paid vacation for two to New York City. While in the Big Apple, I saw and experienced a great many things, but what I remember most is crashing a private show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Sue and I were strolling across Central Park one evening and we ended up in front of the MET. Limousines were pulling up to the steps and disgorging gents in tuxedos and ladies in sparkling gowns and jewels. A giant banner ran down the façade of the museum announcing a new show: Goya and the Age of Enlightenment. Goya’s canvases had been borrowed from museums across the world and tonight was the gala opening. I was ecstatic! Goya was one of my favorite artists. We dashed up the steps and were promptly turned away.
“Come back tomorrow,” said the guard at the door. “This is a private show, by invitation only.”
Finishing our trip with a peek at all those delicious Goyas would be frosting on the cake. The next day we entered the museum and the man with a pencil moustache behind the information counter informed us that, while the museum was open to everyone, Goya and the Age of Enlightenment didn’t open to the public until the next day—when we were scheduled to fly home to Oregon.
“There must be a way we can get inside,” I pleaded.
“Today is reserved for museum members. You can purchase museum membership, which would grant you entrance to the Goya show.”
“How much would that set me back?” I asked.
“Five hundred dollars,” he said.
“I live on the other coast, three thousand miles away. What good is a membership?”
“There must be another way to get in.”
He blinked his eyes slowly at me. “Not unless you’re from a foreign country. Visitors from abroad are allowed in.”
When we walked away Sue said, “I can see the wheels turning in your head. You’re going to crash that show, aren’t you?”
I nodded. Sue, wanting no part of what was about to happen, found a bench where she waited for us to be thrown out of the building.
The queue to the Goya Show was long, and when I reached the front of the line I said to the guard in my best Tarzan voice—which I inexplicably revert to in times of stress— “Me from… Puerto Rico!”
The guard nodded, pulled back the rope and let me enter.
The Goyas were as great as I’d imagined them to be, and when I’d gotten an eyeful I left to find Sue.
“What did you tell the guard to convince him to let you in?” she asked when we reconnected.
I smiled at her and said, “I told him I was from Puerto Rico.”
“Yep. They’re letting visitors from other countries in today.”
“You could have picked any country in the world yet you blurted out Puerto Rico?”
“It was the first one that came to mind.”
The smug smile I was undoubtedly wearing slipped off my face when she said, “It’s a good thing that guard isn’t any smarter than you are.”
“What do you mean?”
“Puerto Rico isn’t a foreign country. It’s part of the United States!”
Have you ever crashed anything? I'm dying to know about it.
Posted by Stephen Hayes