Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The day my health insurance died

I'm 22 now. Technically my health insurance extends for a 31 day "grace period," but I am acutely aware of my entering the adult world, no longer under my parents' protective umbrella should I get hit by a bus or something. I should go run through traffic now while I'm still covered...

Today I visited Washington's HQ in Morristown, NJ. It was a fabulous birthday awkwardfest. I had about half an hour before I had my afternoon school visit, so I wandered in and asked the two rangers what there was to see. The house, as it happens, was closed, but I could look around the two-room museum and get a guided tour if I waited until noon. I told them that I had to leave at noon, so they called the ranger and asked him to come down early to talk to me.

Me: Thanks so much! I didn't mean to screw up your schedule!
Male Ranger: No problem. You have a cute hat, so we'll cut you some slack.
Me: ...thanks. (?)
Female Ranger: Yes, we saw it when you were walking up and said it was cute. And then you got closer. Still cute.
Male Ranger: Yup! Two votes for cute, no votes for not cute.

They're right, it is pretty adorable. Then I chatted with the female ranger for a while about our respective alma maters and "going green" and then the ranger came to give me my abbreviated tour. He showed me a painting by Gilbert Stuart that appeared to depict George Washington with a pair of bunny ears. The artist actually reused the canvas, and painted George over an image of a young woman. The woman's arms began to show through, and thus George's new look. I loved that the artist completely abandoned the portrait of the woman to reproduce a painting he had already made a million times already. I also saw several copies of etiquette guides, one of which was filled with colonial humor:

(I may or may not be paraphrasing.)

A father told his daughter, "You'd do well to marry, but better if you didn't." The daughter replied, "Then I will marry. I'm content to do well and leave better to others."

Oh, that saucy minx! And, of course, the one about the priest and the pig... (sorry, theater geek joke).

A congregation asked a priest why he joined the church, to which the young man replied, "I had a vision that God needed me." A member of the congregation piped up, "Oh, yes, I remember reading somewhere that Jesus needed an ass!"

I bet George chortled when he first read that one! So that was my one-on-one guided tour... it lasted about twelve minutes. Mostly the ranger and I discussed the GW history in our respective hometowns (or worktowns, as the case is for me). New Jersey is trying to increase its historical tourism. Yes, Philadelphia gets a lot of attention, but NJ was a hot spot during the Revolution. Or so Morristown would have us believe.

Jersey schools are closed for the rest of the week, so it's off to PA tonight! I'm staying near Valley Forge, so I'll probably check that out at some point. Oh, and probably talk to some kids or something.

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