Friday, January 22, 2010
This is from the American/Soyuz hook-up in space..
I'm certain I haven't been inside the Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian in all the years I've been in DC. It is one of the most popular museums during tourist season, and also a place where teachers bring kids on field trips. Both of those facts make the idea of visiting quite daunting, at least to me.
But as disoriented as I was yesterday after writing a poem, posting the poem, deleting the poem, and from all the astrological planetary re-arrangement I've been engaged in, not to mention the fact that January is not a big tourist month in DC, I ventured inside.
Buzz Aldrin's in-flight space suit.
Almost immediately I felt kind of sad. The budget cuts that the Bush administration levied on the Smithsonian really show in that museum. It's so shabby. The carpet is careworn and dusty, the exhibits are lackluster even though many of them are quite huge and historically important. But the truth is that it's actually more like a junkyard for old rockets, airplanes and spaceships than a museum.
I was happy to encounter the Apollo capsules, to understand in a visceral way that I'm not the only person who has yearned to go see the stars up close and personal. But it was kind of appalling to see how funky the building has become. There's even a food court attached to the museum, with a coke bottle dressed up like a rocket pointing the way.
Fast food is really the last thing that tourists and schoolkids need more of. I mean, really.