An end of summer update. Not the most important thing in the world, but there we go.
Visited the art world grand tour, seeing so much/too much work in Venice, Kassel, and Munster. Didn’t make it to Athens (sorry, Athens) for the extension of Documenta there, but got lots of Greek/German history on this trip. Also got to enjoy the entirely not glamorous German approach to temporary accommodations, with a stay that has to rank among the worst in my nine years of business travel. The lack of air conditioning was one thing, but not like a major thing. But let’s talk about the bed, for a minute. A kind of inverted thing, where the feet ended up higher than your head. The first night I gave up half way through the night and just slept on the floor on a wadded up blanket. The second night, I opened the window which had the affect of filling my room with multiple hungry mosquitoes, but I did manage to flip the mattress over and though itchy, I did get some rest. The third night, I rolled over and my entire elbow went right through the sheet. Tore a giant hole. I covered it up and left a 2 euro tip in the morning.
Documenta was solid. Venice was a less so. Munster was “get me off this effing bike”. The thing is, you end up seeing some strong work – but you also end up seeing some stuff that’s just not worth the pain of a bike seat and riding forty minutes in the wrong direction up a one way street. The food everywhere – including the Frankfurt train station – was great. Even that horrible hotel had a good meat and fresh pastries vibe going on in the breakfast buffet.
Venice. Always in my heart. It may be overrun, and overdone, but gosh darn it, I love that place. Ciao! Prego! Allora. I can’t stop saying it. It’s annoying. I know. Still…
Then we did the moving. Which…a month later, we’re still unpacking boxes. A few blocks away, but a much improved situation. Still…so.many. boxes.
Then Ohio, where this photo was taken at the world famous Kings Island. I learned once again that I am not as asset on water rides if you want to stay dry.
Recalling that trip, I also can’t help thinking about Charlottesville, I place I’ve been only briefly. So many of those young men who participated in the violence there were from or spent time in, Ohio. Many were from the places we go to every summer. Kids who no doubt rode the same log flume, ate the same weird blue ice cream, kids who sat at a Skyline Chili and ate oyster crackers to bide the time before the coneys arrived. How they went wrong, well, I dunno. Somewhere ignorance took root and hate grew from there. I’ve seen it fully formed. Stood next to it. Cringed at Confederate flags and Nazi paraphernalia in car show fields and flea market stalls. Laughed awkwardly at comments or jokes, just to get on to the next thing and not deal with it. But I’m going to try harder and be better. Let’s take down all the mammy salt and pepper shakers we have. Let’s not let an Uncle slip a little racism into conversation over the mashed potatoes. And by all means, let’s protest and continue to evaluate the worth of public monuments to a lost war.
I was also in Lexington and Louisville where that particular debate is active and working its way through the community. I second the idea to relocate all these old monuments to some empty gas station lot in the desert. Or melt them down and make new ones in honor of more lasting values, like justice and equality. Acknowledge the past, reconcile with it, or abandon it, and move forward. Meanwhile, I’m going to focus on putting more love out there.
And reading grant proposals. And unpacking.