It's amazing how much more time I have on my hands now that I have my bike. For example, this morning I got up, recycled, turned in my health insurance forms, went to the bike store to get a helmet/lights/panniers, made an unscheduled shop at a Fashion Bug that was having a going out of business sale, and went grocery shopping. En toto, it took me about three hours. Now, just to put things in perspective, before bike it could sometimes take me three hours JUST to grocery shop! And I didn't even mention the little joyride I took just to marvel at all the fast food restaurants that are now within my reach. Did you know that Dunkin' Donuts has WiFi? The crack doughnut restaurant? zomg!
But if Nicki is looking a little less colorful this week, it's because I seriously overspent at the bike store...and, er...at Fashion Bug. Okay, I don't really need new clothes, but I think my coworkers are getting tired of seeing the same three t-shirts. Also, buying a bike helmet is like buying wine: you know you don't need the most expensive unless you're a serious connoussier, but you don't want to buy the cheapest either in case of, you know, accidental contact with a moving vehicle or something. I also have an enormous head, so I settled for a middle-range model with the capability to crank bigger or smaller in case I need to allow for a periwig or something.
I grossly overestimated the weight allowance of my new "grocery-getter" pannier though. Just for future reference, a half-gallon of milk AND a six pack of Diet Coke (on sale!) in the pannier at the same time: not a good idea. The bag jumped off my rack and I had to reorganise by the side of the road. Luckily I had my backpack with me, but every pedal of the way I could feel the seat sinking lower...and lower.
And I also bought a light. Not just because it's the law, but also because I was coming home from choir last night in the dark and I was nearly run over by a herd of tourists on a night tour. Possibly also to do with the fact I was wearing my brown coat and black facepaint. Now I'm visible.
After the morning's excitement I decided to take full advantage of my day off (and my free CW employee pass!) and visit the DeWitt Museum of Decorative Arts which is basically a Museum of Stuff. Stuff you'd have in your house--well, not YOU, you probably couldn't afford this Stuff, but antique furniture, kitchen wares, pottery, linens, silver, etc... I wanted to go and look at their collection of samplers to get some ideas, but I also wandered through the display they had about 300 years of children's toys and past a few sets of silver that gives the collection I saw in Apsley House a run for its money.
The DeWitt Museum is entirely underground, but you reach it through a graceful staircase under a skylight, so you don't even realise it unless you think about it. Most museums don't have windows anyway. Well, the V&A does, but they're mostly covered up now. Gracing the staircase is a fabulous portrait of George Washington being manly, with a manly hand on his hip, his other hand on a manly cannon, gazing out at you the viewer as if to say "I conquered the British Empire, don't you dare impune my manliness." To the righ of this is a portrait of Jefferson, looking jealous. And pink. It's a Gilbert Stuart picture, so the plaque helpfully told me how incredibly "lifelike" it was, but my first impression was that Jefferson looked like he'd had a bit too much gin. Either that or he was suffering from heatstroke, sitting in a hot studio wearing a black suit. As opposed to George Washington, who never ran out of ice, owing to the fact that he could shoot Freeze-Rays out of his eyes. True story.
Where was I going with this? Oh yes. So if you continue on past the paintings, there is a temporary exhibit of a quartet of flags that were taken by Colonel Banastre Tarleton after the battle of...hang on, I knew I was going to forget this, Waxhauh, oh, hell, I'll google it, hang on...WaxHAW, almost got it. Tarleton was British, he defeated some Americans in 1780 in South Carolina after chasing them for a few days. Or something. And then he took their flags. But the joke was on him, because a few years later the Americans won the war. Ha, ha. But he still had our flags. And now they're on display in the DeWitt museum.
My first thought after seeing Tarleton (well, right after "hey, that's a name from Gone With the Wind! Weird!") was, "wait a second, I KNOW that painting! That painting is hanging in a rotunda at the National Gallery in London! I like that painting! And this beeshard stole our flags!"
I breathed fire for a little bit at the humanity of it all. But then I realised: the flags were here. On American soil! CW had asked for them politely so they could display them--but here was our chance to get them back! To restore our father's honor and glory! I looked around the room to see if anyone else had come to the same realisation, but the pair of elderly sight-seers clearly didn't understand that we had a chance to rewrite history. Which is why I'm going to be drafting a letter to the folks at CW suggesting they hang on to those flags. They're American flags, after all, they belong in this country. It's not stealing if they're your flags.
Wait, what's that you say? The British won them fair and square? We shouldn't ask for them back? And besides, it's been hundreds of years, so what does it matter? Well. Maybe we should ask the Greeks how they feel about it...