Field Museumness. Of Doom.

I went to the Pompeii exhibit today. What excitement it is to see the stuff you read about in reality! --it's as if, having read about it, one is unable to truly believe its existence or even create any image beyond a rather flat picture until one sees it in reality. I mean, I first learned about Mt. Vesuvius' eruption when I was six or seven, along with Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, and I saw pictures of the macabre plaster casts of the people who had simply fallen like that and stayed that way for 1800 years--and I've recently read about denarii and all the coins with the Emperors' pictures on them, not to mention all the frescoes and Nero as Apollo & shit--but seeing it and learning about it are totally different.

Well, there was also that other element of seeing the cast made of the skeletons rather than the plaster molds around the bodies. One of the faces was open in an eternal scream, and just thinking about all that hot ash entering...where was Mercury when they needed him most? Eh. Gods created by humans are as untrustworthy as humans themselves. At any rate, though, it was disturbing because that's not a pleasant way to die, especially when you're supposed to have much more of your life waiting (children) or supposed to be creating life (heavily pregnant woman).

So to ameliorate the shock (I guess there's no better term for it, but it's really not appropriate) of remembering the descriptions of falling ash, I just read Pliny the Younger's letter, available at Bartleby.com. It helped. Well, sort of. Mleh.

I guess filling in the gaps in one's memory is a sort of process that is ultimately more beneficial than straining to find details and making up stuff that's more fanciful than the reality.

Oh, and I finally saw Sue. W00t.

Lots of people have had the dinosaur fixation, but it's different to see the world's most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton! I don't know how long I waited for it, but it was exciting. Except that I didn't know it was Sue's skeleton until I re-read the thing. Oh. I've been sitting in front of Sue for minutes--like the real taxidermised elephants, bit of a shocker, in its own way like walking through D.C. and realising that the Congress buildings are using historical treasures as freaking ornamentation! (I know I left a record of that somewhere. Whatev.)

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