Friday, November 4, 2011

Day at the Museum

Rheannon and I left Toronto for New York recently, it was our first stop before travelling on to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. and then back up to Toronto to complete the round trip. This is a story about what it means to be British, and tight… but I think the two go hand in hand.

We arrive after a gruelling overnight journey on a Greyhound coach, who we travel with because we love the punctuality and friendly service. Yes I’m being sarcastic… it was yet another restless night being cooped up in a panic room with chairs, except with a panic room the psychos are on the outside. But do we care? Hell no… we are in New York City baby! Before we even get outside the bus station I can already sense the energy of the place, it’s the kind of feeling I’ve had in only one other city, London. A joint sense of urgency and passion emulates from the streets, it’s clear that this place has style.

Our hostel is actually pretty good for what it is… a cheap place to sleep and dump your bags. However this story isn’t about our amazing time in the beautiful N.Y.C, I would like to tell you about a particular part of our trip, when we visited the Museum of Natural History. You know, the one in the movie Night at the Museum… hence the amazing title of the article? Anyway we are walking hand in hand around Central Park, and as Rheannon is taking in the surroundings and I’m acting like the horsey one from ‘Sex in the City,’ Rheannon suddenly remembers that the Museum of Natural History has free admission. But before heading over there we decide we would make sure, because why spend 20 bucks on a museum when you could use it to get two homeless men to wrestle each other? We are travelling on a budget after all.

Eventually we find out that it isn’t free, it’s by donation. “Even better” I say to Rheannon, because now we get to stick it to The Man! Except in this circumstance The Man stands for hard working men and women who since the dawn of civilisation have endeavoured to preserve Earths natural history. But who cares about that? Here is a unique opportunity to escape paying full price… and for me, the idea of that is exciting.

As I enter the vast foyer I immediately see the perfectly preserved remains of three, huge dinosaurs, and am overcome by a sense of boyish wonderment. However these gargantuan testimonies to natures design are overshadowed by something Rheannon and I have only just noticed, a sign which reads… “Suggested Admission Fee: $19.” Not good, I had not anticipated this. So I approach the front desk avoiding the line but standing close enough so I can hear the nearest customer talking to a sales-assistant. Unfortunately I know just by looking at the costumer’s week face how this one’s going to play out. What you have to remember is that no one wants to be recognised as a tight arse, and the sales-assistant knows that… she’s good.

The assistant addresses her prey with a loud voice and sharp tongue, deadly combination. It works with brutal force, so brutal in fact that the man feels obligated to pay an extra 5 dollars per ticket! Outrageous, now I want this even more. The game is officially on… Museum of Natural History, you’re history…. no, wait!

It only takes getting in line to break Rheannon… “I can’t do it, I can’t do it” she pleads, but I’m only just getting warmed up. Every step we take makes her even more agitated, “come on honey, you can do this… just don’t look at it directly in the eye and let me do the talking.” She suddenly stands rigid, looking in disbelieve as we are next in line, my hand is steady as I ready myself for the upcoming duel. It’s her… my nemesis. This is going to be better than Marty McFly vs. Mad Dog Tannen. I approach with a coolness that only comes from being British. She looks me up and down, searching for a weakness, not this time missy! She hits me with both barrels, “for two the admission fee is $38 dollars.” But I have a trump card, queue the ignorant Brit (a role I was born to play.) “Oh I was told it was free?” Ha not expecting that one were you, the accent helps to emphasise my innocence. “Its by donation, you can give anything you want,” she states with a calm, quiet voice… I have tamed the beast.

Slowly I reach into my back pocket and bring out my wallet. It was imperative that I kept this till the last moment, in order to accentuate my shock at having to pay. “How much do I pay?” A question which begs the obvious… “Anything you want” she replies. Time to deploy the Haymaker…

“Will two dollars be fine?”

New York's Museum of Natural History

Rheannon in the 'vast foyer'


  1. Ha, awesome stuff! very well played indeed, it brings back memories of you playing the same role in getting us those kayaks! HA

  2. you still owe me my $ .50 winnings for the "Ye olde English" phrases


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