Wow, you can SO tell when I've been reading Flaubert.
Yesterday, we went to see the Birth of Impressionism exhibit at the de Young. We barely got tickets (the last day!) and I had been giddy all summer. In high school, I spent my nights flipping through "The History of Art," working my way through the pages Warner had tagged with Post-It notes, squinting at the glossy pages and trying to imagine the brush strokes. I thought I'd have to go to Paris to really consummate my long-standing love affair with Manet, but, amazingly, he came to San Francisco.
Anyway. I was dazed walking through the museum. It was all I could do not to cross that black line and smother my face against the canvases, I wanted to tear them from their frames and wrap myself in them. At the same time, I couldn't imagine lifting a finger to them. Suddenly, a man handed me a headset (one of those audio tour things) and said, "Excuse me, I wanted to give you this."
I looked at him, still dazed, sure I was probably in trouble, and that the staff was trying to hurry me along so the next round of museum patrons could work their way through.
Then he handed me a note, scrawled on a page from his planner. Thursday September 2nd- Wednesday, September 8th, 2010. Rosh Hashanah.
"I'm sorry," he said, "I'm no good at this. But I'm finding it really hard to focus. So it's all in the note."
As he turned to leave, he turned back toward me, extended his hand, and said, "By the way, my name is Brandon."
It seems wrong to post his note on the internet, but, I want to give credit where credit's due. In sum, it described his inability to "focus until I hand you this," because he had encountered "a living beauty, among these idealized depictions, the classic goddess."
Back to real life: E came swooping in, asked what I was reading and where I got the headset, asked who the guy was, asked if he was a jerk. I went back into my Cezanne-induced trance, and I must have read that thing a hundred times.
It's so bizarre, how embarrassingly flattering something like that can be. I feel BAD for not being able to take him up on his offer for brunch. It's not even that I "want" to, I just feel like, if someone goes to that much trouble and doesn't repulse you, you at least do coffee with them. I'm sure it's not him personally, but there's something about being noticed, picked out of a crowd by a total stranger, and not in a sleazy, Hey-baby-what-you-drinkin' kind of way, but an honest-to-God I-think-I-want-to-get-to-know-you kind of way. Everyone loves feeling desirable, I guess. I don't know. It's also embarrassing.
But I don't want his heroic efforts to be totally lost to the romantic void of the universe, it just seems too poetic to let die that way. Instead, Universe, I hope you put an eligible "living beauty" in Brandon's path sometime soon, that you let this "aspiring artist" find his muse.
Till then, ciao.