Thursday, October 13, 2005

where would you like to be locked in?

Walking home past my beloved library late last night, I saw a guard making the rounds, checking to see that doors were locked and so on. Which reminded me of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, simply one of the best kids' books ever written. Have you read it? We got a chapter a week read to us when I was in fifth or sixth grade, on Fridays, if we had behaved ourselves that week. I got so fed up with that system (we didn't behave ourselves much) that I found my own copy and read to the end on my own.

Which may have been the point. I don't know, that was a weird year. We lost our "real" homeroom teacher early in the fall, probably to frustration, and then ripped through a series of cowering substitutes, one of whom stood by feebly as Jamal Miller ("he slams your locker door on your fingers because he likes you") accidentally-on-purpose wacked me in the arm with a baseball bat.

Why was a baseball bat allowed in the classroom? Another question I can't answer for you.

But I digress.

"The Mixed-Up Files", if you haven't had the pleasure of reading it, is the story of two kids who decide to run away from home. But they're very methodical about it. Claudia, the older one, comes up with an elaborate plan for she and her brother (who she includes because he's been better about saving money than she has) to go live in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. They get all tricky about hiding out in the bathrooms until the janitors have gone home, they wash out their clothes in the fountain (and raid it for coins, something I always found a breathtaking transgression), they sleep in a fancy antique bed behind a velvet rope, and so on. So it's a book that workes on several levels--one, you get to enjoy their adventures and ingenuity and two, you learn something about the Met.

So I walked past SFPL Main last night, and started wondering how I could endeavor to get locked in some night, and what I would do once I was there. I didn't think about it long because I was hungry, but I did skitter around a little: what about getting locked in Pearl Paint, the three-story art supply place on Market? Or the Asian Art Museum? Or the Exploratorium? Or Green Apple Books on Clement? Mmmmm.

Where you like to be locked in, if you had the opportunity?