August 11

Vacation Apocalypse:  Museum Edition (Part 2)

[…continued from August 10 entry…]



You think about the types of people who survived, and how they chose to align themselves with particular locations in the museum.

The Cafeteria People and, to a lesser extent the Gift Shop People, had better access to food and drinks.  They thought they had the most bargaining power.

The Medieval People decided they would do better with force, choosing the gallery with ancient weapons and armor.  Trouble was, items like the Sword of Charlemagne were too heavy and time-dulled to be effective.   In addition, people’s stature has changed in the intervening years:  medieval suits of armor were too small to fit a modern day would-be warrior.

The Gold Leaf People found solace in the gallery filled with multiple depictions of the Madonna and Child, with gold leaf inlays representing spiritual light.  Ginny had suggested moving to that gallery, since she expected the people there would have a stronger moral code, and would be easier to get along with.  You talked Ginny out of the idea:  “That room essentially repeats the same painting, over and over.  Life there would get pretty boring.  Besides, once people get hungry enough, their morality tends to slip a bit.”

Better, by your reasoning, to stay a Grand Gallery Person.  The prestige of the world’s greatest paintings would necessarily afford your group more status.  In an open School Board meeting, you and Ginny had been leaders among parents who argued against cutting funds for Art Education.  Children needed to study painting, photography, music and dramatic arts.  The arts played an important role in society, you argued then…and that concept should hold true even in a post-apocalyptic world.

Last week, a group came by with a collection of Delacroix paintings, hoping for a trade, but you joined other Grand Gallery leaders in sending them away.  A small delegation from the Mona Lisa alcove had better luck:  they’d broken the glass over their single possession, and exchanged it for two lesser works by the same artist and a tall portrait of a long-forgotten nobleman.

Trades became increasingly important.  The apocalyptic events that sealed you in the Louvre Museum also had an effect on the weather.  Clouds frequently blocked the sun, and the building’s interior grew too chilly for summer tourists dressed mostly in T-shirts and casual shorts.  You helped start a small bonfire to heat the middle section of the high-ceilinged chamber, and used the flames to warm some canned soup bartered from the Cafeteria People (cost: 2 Rubens).  You poured several cans into an upturned metal helmet purchased from the Medieval People (1 Renoir).

On that fateful day, the smell of warm soup rising from the helmet must have carried down the ornamented corridors, reaching the Gold Leaf People.  They came by with several religious paintings, begging for a portion of soup.  You had no food to spare, but several other leaders remembered how your friend once suggested joining this sad group.  You protested after an impromptu vote, but had to go along with the Grand Gallery’s decision:  you turned Ginny over to the Gold Leaf People.

For a short while, Madonna and Child paintings filled some of the emptied slots on the once-crowded wall.  But the air continued to grow chill, and the fire needed feeding.

Soon, even the woman with the mysterious smile would join the flames.