How irritating would it be to spend your day at the Getty Center(s) and have someone constantly make jokes about Rush’s lead singer? Welcome to our Saturday!
Vicky and I woke early to spend the whole day together, something we do – oh – about once every blue moon. We were both looking forward to a day of culture, a day of peace, a date day just for the two of us… so we started it at Polly’s. Have I mentioned Polly’s? It’s a SoCal kinda thing. But we had a nicer breakfast than we probably would have eaten at IHOP so, you know, it’s all about perspective…
Vicky insisted that I drive up to the Getty Villa, our first stop. Located in Malibu, off the shore, it was beautifully located, with perfect weather, and… ah, but first, I had to drive. What I didn’t realize – what I should have realized was this whole competitive thing Vicky and I have going. She told me about how she drove the hybrid to get better gas mileage. Rather than be the guy who screwed all that up, I did everything I could do to improve gas mileage, too… which included driving 40 on the freeway. Vicky’s got to learn that I’m not above sinking as low as I need to in order to soar high above her… or something…
Eventually, we made it to the Getty Villa and, yes, it was lovely. They keep the crowds down and surround you with beauty – and it’s all free. Love it! The Villa specializes in pieces from antiquity: beautiful pottery, statues, pottery, columns, pottery… pottery… After a few hours, Vicky spoke for us both, “I can’t look at one more bowl.”
Off we went to The Getty, located in LA. We took Sunset Boulevard all the way up to the 405 through gorgeous vistas and neighborhoods, rolling hills, idyllic surroundings – so, yes, hitting LA was a lot like vomiting after a fine wine. Several hours at the Villa had turned our feet to mush but we were rested again and ready to look at more art. I wanted to hit the Impressionist exhibit so… up we went. On the way, we viewed some photography, an exhibit on the nude, and just a mish-mash of stuff I can’t even remember. It was culture overload!
Before the Impressionists, we toured through some Neo-Classical and Romantic works. Now, I could have spent hours looking at each painting but Vicky was zipping through. I began to understand what I’m like when we’re in a department store together. Oh well. And so, we reached the Impressionists. We looked at Degas, Monet, Renoir, and then… Van Gogh! Vincent’s Irises stood right before us, the actual painting. History grabbed me and shook me by the collar. The whole day had been one giant “fuck you” courtesy of time itself! All those antiquated bowls! Photographs of people from a century before! Van Gogh’s Irises! They had all stood before me and laughed. How impotent we are in the face of time and how impotent are our attempts to deny it. Back at the Villa, there had been many displays about how pieces had been restored over and over and over again. The fact was that the Irises would be a candidate for restoration, too. And those nudes had grown old, shriveled up, and had died.
I admired Van Gogh’s Irises as a man standing in the porchlight of time, understanding that it will wink off. It had no choice. And so, I will go. And so, you will go. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been worth it.
Vicky leaned up against the painting to better see the fine lines. A guard walked up and shooed her back – busted! “Then, why don’t they rope it off?” she asked me, over and over. I laughed, which probably did not amuse her.
Then, we stepped out and looked out over the entire LA basin. Millions of lives. Millions of stories. Millions of works of art. And here we had cooped ourselves in with the relics of time.
I held Vicky close and we enjoyed every minute of it as the sun went down. Moments like that make you wish it could last forever. They also make me wish I could paint. Oh well. Vicky took the keys. She didn’t want to head home at 40 miles an hour. We ended up getting caught in LA traffic so we couldn’t enjoy our dinner out. Instead, we picked up a couple of burgers and watched Psyche back at home. So much for art…