May 8, 2006

Meeting the Moose

Friday I arrived at work by 10 am (I DO love parts of my job) and realized I’d forgotten about Fancy Non-Profit Luncheon at noon. Not a big deal except I designed ALL of it: invitation, ads, posters, program and gift bags and my boss is on the board. She stared in horror at my corduroy jeans and cute sandals. I ran home, pulled on a skirt, fancy top and pearls, squeezed into evil-bitch-torture-shoes and headed downtown.

One of the people being honored at the luncheon was the founder of the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM), Rebecca. I happened to sit next to a member of the museum's board (who happens to be the daughter of one of Baltimore's biggest corporations. The diamond on her left hand was bigger than my thumbnail). She started telling me stories of Rebecca. How she went to LA to check into founding a branch of the museum there. How only 20 people were supposed to show up to the meeting (run by the producer of Smallville), but 74 were there. Robin Williams is donating money; Rosie is giving art. Rebecca seems to spread joy and possibility wherever she goes. When she received her award and stood next to the Non-Profit’s Organizer for the photo-op, Rebecca put two fingers up behind her head. Everyone laughed.

Saturday we got to see more of the fruits of her vision. For eight years the AVAM has sponsored a ‘kinetic sculpture race’. It covers 15 miles of downtown Baltimore. The sculptures have to be ridden over a course that includes large hills, water, sand, and mud. We missed the water portion of the race and just went to the obstacle course in Patterson Park. Check out the race's website. Worthy of special note are the links for Official Rules and Awards. There are volunteers dressed like chickens who give tickets to racers. They also accept bribes to forgo the tickets. The winner of the race is the one who comes in the middle.

We love the fact that Baltimore is quirky, grungy, homegrown and proud of those facts. This race is the embodiment of that attitude. (I’ll post Flickr pics of all this tomorrow)

As we watched the contestants struggle through the mud pit, I looked around and noticed Rebecca behind me in a golf cart. Being the child of extroverted parents, I went over and introduced myself. Once, a number of years ago, Jrex and I vacationed in New Hampshire. As we drove up I prayed aloud, “OK, God, I would love to see a moose. Not in any dangerous, car-harming way, but up close. Please. Please. Please? Just letting you know.” We curved around the next bend and at the bottom of the hill? Yup. Big female moose. We pulled the car to the side and stared in awe at her body towering on spindly legs above the roof of the car. This was like that. No, not her appearance. The fact that after hearing so many Rebecca stories at lunch I thought, “Wow, I would love to meet her.” And the very next day, I did.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Baltimore certainly outclasses Cincinnati -- and most other cities. A crazy kinetic race is the kind of bizaz that makes cities fun. Why aren't you pictured among the costumed spectators?

OTRgirl said...

We're boring? If we get to stay here, we'll do it next year. Or, more accurately, I might. I don't see Jrex ever doing a costume.

L said...

Your job sounds fun :) Esp the part about getting to work at 10!

Oh, and your cayenne pepper trick is awesome. I had never heard that before.