It rained every minute of the weekend, and since my wife and I decided not to register young Nyles for soccer for a fourth consecutive time, it was imperative that we come up with activities for the weekend. Saturday there were errands, an indoor playground, blocks, coloring and indoor basketball (via the timeless invention called the Nerf Hoop), but we needed an activity for Sunday morning. Usually he watches cartoons, while Mommy and Daddy read and watch inane political shows, but this time we decided to switch it up and visit the National Air and Space Museum.
Now, I had not set foot in this particular musuem since my son oldest son Carlton was 12 (almost 7 years ago), so I had completely forgotten how overwhelming the sights are when you initially walk in the building. There are planes, propellers, planets, pieces of space vehicles, exhibits, things for the kids, and of course lots of people. Nyles was just as overwhelmed as I was, but to his credit he asked questions, he (for the most part) kept his hands off the exhibits and he enjoyed setting foot in the antique planes. His questions were not quite a sophisticated as the ones I heard from kids who were seven, eight, nine years old and older, but I was proud of my son for holding it down at the age of four. My wife always says it isn't a contest or a competition, but that's bullshit. EVERYTHING is a competition. I digress.
I will readily admit that I was deeply concerned about setting foot in the museum, because I loathe crowds. People are arrogant, oblivious to people around them (the rule is to keep your head on a swivel, or as we say in basketball, see your man, see the basket and see the ball) and they are loud. But since it was raining, and my son needed an activity, I had to place aside my own personal insecurities and make sure those two hours or so were good for my son. For the most part, I was able to do that, but there were two annoying things I observed.
Cutting in line
There was an older plane which was cut open so visitors could see inside the cockpit, and I'd say the line was about 20-25 people deep. There were people taking annoying selfies in line (more on that later), but for the most part people were patient, relatively quiet, and they acted like they had home training---except for this one gentleman. He looked to be around 50 or so, and he was way too close to my wife in line. My wife would move up three inches, and this ass would move up two and a half inches, so that he was RIGHT on her ass. I mean literally if she took half a step back, she'd bump right into him, which naturally would have set me off. My wife does not like my temper, so I decided I would stew in silence, while keeping an eagle eye on the situation.
As we got closer to the cockpit, the line narrowed a bit, which allowed me to let my wife get in front of me, which meant the creepy old man was now on my ass. When the line moved up, I purposely stood still and didn't move, just to annoy this guy, but eventually he got the point--that was until we got closer to the cockpit. There was a couple in front of us taking pictures, which meant my wife and I were next to view the cockpit. After the couple was finished, but before my family could walk up and in the cockpit, this creepy dude steps in front of us and starts observing the cockpit as if he were next in line. My first impluse was to do a Rambo and then pull out the jammy and flat blast him
, but I instead I opted for the cooler approach. I said to him, "So you're just going to step in front of us like that boss?". He looked back at me incredulously, stood there for a second, and the got the hell out of the way. My family looked at the cockpit, lingered for a minute just to f**k with creepy guy, and then we left. Nyles asked why we were leaving, and I said, ""We have some people really pressed to see the exhibit Nyles", and then I looked back at the creepy guy who was foaming at the mouth to see the exhibit.
Did I mention I hate crowds?
Selfie sticks and camera phones
I apologize if I sound old and out of touch, but back when my family visited museums--and even back in 2008 when I brought my son Carlton, we simply enjoyed the museum. We took a picture or two as we left, but the bulk of our visit was for questions, answers and learning. It was basically an extension of the classroom. Yesterday, every damn kid and parent decided that they had to take pictures of everything and put them on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. There were cameras and selfie sticks everywhere and in some cases, folks got annoyed if you walked into their shot, not really grasping the fact that their were six million people trying to see things in the museum. If folks really want to see what's in the museum, they should bring their ass in there and see, rather than getting an eyeful via someone's social media page. Not five seconds went by without someone snapping a picture of some sort, and it made me angry, but it made me a little sad too. There is such a thing as being in the moment and soaking it all in, but I guess that is lost on some parents and kids.