Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bike Fright & Corpses

Paul’s sister has been visiting from Australia for the week. We hoped that we could get her to bike around with us, but that just wasn’t meant to be. She was nervous about riding in traffic and apparently not very confident or coordinated on a bike under the best of circumstances. She was not pleased with Paul’s Bianchi road bike and we all walked our bikes back from the restaurant on Wednesday night.

Paul speaks often about biking as a boy and then mountain biking when he grew older. His sister is four years younger than him, but I expected that she had similar experiences. Not true. He speaks fondly of racing down the huge hill his parents’ old house sat atop only to have it be the last leg of each ride home. His bittersweet relationship with this hill is apparent and he wishes that his parents still lived there.

His sister was too scared to ride all the way to the bottom and never was able to ride up it. So very weird. I feel like maybe Paul shirked his sibling duties. He should have been encouraging her to both the top and the bottom of the hill – and then taunting/challenging her to try again. They haven’t had an opportunity to become close as adults, so there were several periods when awkward silence lingered.

Thursday night we all went to see BodyWorlds.

Dear brothers, I am so sorry I didn’t force you to see this exhibit when you visited me. It was great. Now it is gone. The last week it had 24-hour viewing and was sold out very quickly.

I won’t bore with babbling too many details, but it was an exhibit of plasticized humans, stripped of tissues to display the different systems of the body. Lots of smaller parts that showed healthy organs or bones compared to cancerous/arthritic/abused/wrecked parts.

The only creepy part was towards the end where I knew there was on display the corpse of a woman who died when she was eight months pregnant. This was a fascinating display, to be able to actually see how the organs and baby tuck into one another. So very sad of course because of the tragedy that it portrayed. In this final room were jars that showed fetuses at varying stages of development and then the later term preserved dead babies. What made the room creepy, though was the music. There was nurseryish classical music playing. A room with dead babies had fucking nursery music!

The rest of the exhibit was very scientific and made it easy to ignore the fact that these fascinating exhibits were dead people. However, when they displayed some of the most potentially emotional corpses, the fact was highlighted by the creepy music. How many women who had abortions or miscarriages walked through that room and were reminded of the baby they lost as they could look to see a physical representation of a fetus at the exact same age when their pregnancy ended. Fucking creepy.

Anyway, I highly recommend this exhibit if anyone gets a chance to see it.


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