But when the Resident Offspring and I walked into the Ship and Anchor at 12:05 pm for the final day of the Folk Festival Songwriting Contest, it was already packed, with people lining the walls hoping for a seat to open up. Lushes. We were starving, so we took off down the street for brunch at Nellie's instead. Sunday brunch - another activity I haven't indulged in for a hell of a long time! Nellie's was recently cited for health code violations, so I figured this was the ideal time to check out this little hole in the wall that everyone is always raving about. The negative press would make for a shorter lineup, I figured, and right now it was probably about as clean as it was ever going to get.
We thought we would head back to the Ship and Anchor post-brunch, but by that time the crowd had spilled out onto the patio, where they seemed unperturbed by the light spattering of rain. So we gave up, went home, and I missed the opportunity to spend Mother's Day in a bar with my child.
But the RO gave me a copy of The Medicine Cabinet of Curiosities for a Mothers' Day gift, which tied in perfectly with today's scheduled activity, a viewing of Body Worlds and the Brain. Absolutely fascinating. My initial thought, upon seeing my first plastinated cadaver, was how the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments of the human thigh looked very much like a turkey drumstick. We really are all meat. With a few obvious anatomical differences, we are all put together much the same as any other animal.
Also male genitalia is really funny looking without skin. Okay male genitalia is really funny looking anyway, but when you take away the skin, which gives it some semblance of dignity, you're just left with a handful of balls dangling from ligaments, like a cat toy on steroids.
Many of the plastinates were physically posed to better demonstrate the impact of activity on the human body, playing soccer, baseball, figure skating, doing yoga. But the bodies I found particularly fascinating where those in which you could see and really appreciate the complexities of the layers that make up the human structure. The Drawer Man was my favourite; he really was quite beautiful, as they all were, but Drawer Man had the feeling of a work of art to him. An Escher perhaps. And because he still had much of his skin intact, he also maintained more of his innate humanity than a plastinate who was stripped down to the muscle layer.
Medical students in anatomy classes receive their cadavers with the faces and the hands left covered up until those areas are dissected, because much of the personality of a body is found in the face and hands. It's true of plastinated cadavers as well. I found myself fascinated with the ballerina's hands, particularly with her cuticles, which were slightly ragged.
Body Worlds is highly instructive, and we saw a few high school classes there today. But it is more than a simple anatomy lesson. It's an exhibition that raises as many questions as it answers, questions about humanity and ethics and life lessons and philanthropy and commercialism. You really should go.