No, I Don’t Get It
One thing about getting older, you come to care less and less what people think of you. When you’re young, at least when I was young, I remember fretting a lot about not being current with my peers. For instance, my interest in sports, while not nil, was only mild and passing. Meanwhile, my companions could spout statistics and exhibit a vast knowledge of athletes.
Imagine a young male attempting to keep up with the conversation at middle school lunch.
By the time I was in college music and rock bands occupied many conversations. Again, it seemed the entire world of my peers was vastly invested in musical knowledge: singers, bands, genres and sub-genres.
As for me. I liked individual songs, even bands. I didn’t care that I didn’t know individual band members names and biographies. That isn’t to say I didn’t pick up such knowledge. Just by being immersed in whatever is current at the time everyone absorbs knowledge, whether you want to or not.
Life went on and as I entered adulthood it became apparent that a knowledge of this or that often was used to impart a level of sophistication. Think of folks who love to talk about wine. All they know about wine they may have just read about, but everyone within their conversation plays along.
I like wine, but I’m no connoisseur. If it tastes good, it’s okay with me, even if I haven’t a clue what to drink it with.
And as for art, I know what I like, but would be at great pains to explain why. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy art history documentaries, so they can explain to me why I like a work of art.
Some years ago I was touring the National Gallery in Washington with my wife. She likes modern art. We’d emerged from the traditional collections, leaving me mildly euphoric, before entering the modern art building. Someone’s postcards were framed – postcards. Not kidding. Someone deemed them works of art.
Of course, there were Warhol’s works, multiple Marilyns and Campbell soup cans.
Many works comprised a blank canvas with a teeny, tiny bit of paint.
I’ll not pooh-pooh anyone else’s opinion or appreciation of what they call art, but, jeeze, I just don’t get it.
Then we entered a gallery with a paint-dabbled cloth hanging from the ceiling.
“A drop cloth,” I said. “This place must be closed.”
The remark drew sharp side-eye from the few people standing there. A pair of museum guards, huge guys, chuckled. Their big overhanging bellies oscillating with their laughter.
The Bride was mortified. “It’s a Pollack!”
After she had put some distance between us I turned to the guards.
“Hey, you guys see this stuff every day. What do you guys think of it?”
One replied in a sonorous gargle of a baritone that could have befit a Delta blues legend.
“Maaaan, one time we had one oh dese hung upside down for three months fo’ anyone noticed.”
He grinned. I smiled.
Yeah, some things I just don’t get.