Areas of Unrest
3 July 1999 - Jurassic Jacarandas
I dragged myself through the morning, doing just a little housework and not making much of a start on my to-do list. Around 1 p.m. I decided I really needed to get out of the apartment if I was going to do a decently long walk. I started out down my usual route, but when I reached Palms and Motor I decided to head further south, walked a bit down Motor and then turned onto some residential streets. And then it hit me - I was quite near The Museum of Jurassic Technology. I am always telling people that this is the coolest place in Los Angeles and it had been ages since I'd been there myself. And I'd been meaning to go by and pick up a donation form for their building fund. (They are attempting to purchase the building the museum is in and this is really important as they might have to close if they can't raise enough money to do it.) So I walked over and spent about 45 minutes, mostly looking at the stuff that was new since the last time I'd been there. They've added a section on one of my favorite subjects, namely freaks, stuff like dog-faced boys and hairy families and the like. This stuff interests me largely because of the role of the exhibition of freaks in the history of entertainment. What now looks cruel to us had a positive side effect, in reducing the social isolation such people experienced. It also ties into my obsession with P.T. Barnum. I'm fascinated by questions like whether or not he did the right thing in exhibiting Tom Thumb. But the museum doesn't get into issues like this; David Wilson is interested in anomaly for its own sake. The other new exhibits included letters written to the Mt. Wilson observatory in its early days, of which my favorite was the one from a teenage boy requesting to accompany any expedition to Mars that they might be planning, and one on mobile homes, including various collections (pin cushions, china, perfume bottles) belonging to mobile home residents. And, of course, I couldn't resist going back to my favorite old exhibit, which is about an Indonesian bat that uses the electromagnetic spectrum for navigation (instead of sound) and, when stressed, can get up into the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, enabling it to fly through solid objects.
After I left the museum, I walked up through Beverlywood and back to one of my usual routes. There are a lot of jacarandas in bloom, which makes the walk particularly pleasant this time of year. Jacarandas are among my favorite trees. They're not quite up to the spendor of sugar maples in autumn, but if you aren't going to have real seasons, you might as well have masses of lilac flowers to break up the monotonous greens.
I walked all the way up to Beverly Hills, but it was so crowded with tourists on Wilshire that I went straight on to Century City, instead of browsing around shops I can't afford anything in. Then I walked back down Olympic, had a slightly early supper at a disappointing Indian restaurant, stopped in Barnes and Noble briefly to buy the latest Jane Langton paperback, and headed home, with another stop at Blockbuster Video to continue my latest movie binge. (I rented You've Got Mail and A Simple Plan.) I ended up walking 11.3 miles total and I really dragged myself through the last 2 or so. About all I want to do right now is take a good long shower and curl up in front of the TV with one of the videos.
Copyright 1999 Miriam H. Nadel
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