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I was banned from the Oklahoma City Museum of Art for completely unfair reasons and treated very unfairly as a whole, due mainly to the fact that

Jonas David

My tissues were in my backpack, that was the central problem and if the staff had not forced me to put my backpack in a locker, but of course Oklahoma City is very sensitive to the possibility of bombs, I have never been required to lock away my backpack in other museums, but Oklahoma City of course has a painful history with bombs and I was not allowed to cary my backpack which unfortunately had my tissues and other personal items, which I can get into trouble without, and I much prefer NOT to let these things out of my sight but my heart was set on seeing the Chihuly exhibit and so I complied with the staff and did lock up my backpack which included my tissues and bandages, the bandages are also often essential, and I was already in an agitated state at this point due to this requirement to be separated from my items, necessary items that I need, and this made everything worse than it had to be, however, I was very determined to see the Chihuly exhibit, which I had been waiting for months to see, because Glass has always appealed to me, especially the kind of shapes that Chihuly makes out of his glass, the smoothly curved and swooping shapes with wild colors, but also often very soft and comforting colors, often his works remind me of the sea and the sea is very calming to me, however, not as calming as glass is, in fact the sea is only calming to me due to the ways it is similar to glass, and not the reverse, glass is pure and especially Chihuly’s glass ‘seaforms’ as he titled them only after their creation, only after realizing, though it was not intentional on his part, that they resembled sea life, the transparent clearness of the glass, the perfectly uniform gradient of colors, the purity, yes, the purity is the main appeal, Chihuly’s artworks are so clean and pure and there is not one speck or scratch anywhere in the way there are commonly tiny scratches and specks and divots in household glass, but not in Chihuly’s glass, because he crafts each work carefully and precisely and is one of the top glassblowers in the world, and besides, his glass is kept locked in a museum where only eyes are allowed to touch it, and where it is brushed of dust and cleaned regularly by the most careful hands, and so Chihuly’s glass artworks are utterly clean and pure and beautiful and I can stare at them for so many minutes, even an hour, I could stare for a full hour at any of his pieces and my eye would not find any flaw to latch onto, I would not find a single defect that would need removing or polishing away, and after so many minutes without a flaw to look at I find the most wonderful inner calm, a calm that I can rarely ever feel, in fact I never feel such calm when looking at anything other than Chihuly’s glass sculptures, specifically his seaforms, and if they were not so restrictively priced, if not for the exorbitant gouging price, that is, if I had many thousands of dollars to spend, I would, if I had the money I would definitely have one of Chihuly’s glass works in my own home where I could look at it daily, and I believe this would make me a much calmer person and bring me a certain inner peace that is hard to find when so many things are out of place, and in fact that is the reason I had such a bad reaction in the museum, more so than I would have in other contexts because in the world at large I expect things to be out of place and wrong, I expect, as I’ve come to know over my life, that the world is not ordered and so many things do not belong where they are and I have learned over the years to let them be because they do not belong to me, and I should not be reordering other people’s worlds, even if the order is so obviously and utterly wrong, it is not mine to reorder, and so I have learned to let things be that are not directly associated with or attached to me and mine, but today in the Oklahoma City Art Museum in the Chihuly Exhibit I was unable to remember, that is, I was unable to separate myself from the exhibit because I feel so connected to Chihuly’s artworks that I see them, subconsciously, as a part of myself, I feel very connected to Chihuly’s glass, all glass but mostly Chihuly’s glass, and I was appalled, I was, when I rounded a corner, near the end of the exhibit after seeing so many beautiful and perfect GLASS artworks, seeing so many of them in a row had built up a certain expectation in me, an expectation which in general I have worked hard to avoid but which the many perfect artworks in a row had built up in me, and I rounded the corner and saw the Neodymium Reeds and I could not, you see, the Reeds themselves of course were perfect, long and smoothly colored, a beautiful and perfectly smooth lavender colored glass stretched to a point, long reeds of glass, the longest of them ten or even twelve feet, and so beautifully clean and purely pointed, but Chihuly is a Glass Artist and thus, I am not explaining properly the shock when I saw, laying on the ground, right there on the polished clean and reflective floor in the Chihuly Glass Exhibit were three LOGS, three literal treetrunk logs, actual TREES from outside, dirty dead wood full of cracks and flakey bits of bark and probably even dirt, three dirty logs indoors and the reeds were mounted on these logs, the reeds appeared to be growing up from the logs like hairs, perhaps even like certain hairs on the side of my chin, and I was staring at the reeds and the logs for a long time, of course I stared at all the Chihuly glass artworks for a long time but this was a different kind of staring because I was becoming fixated, as I do, on the imperfections in the logs, the logs were so covered with divots and cracks and bits of stuff that ought to be picked off and I could not believe anyone would mount Chihuly’s glass on such a, I could not imagine that someone willingly put his work in contact with rotting wood which is known to be riddled with insects and even fungus, and I could not, and the more I stared the more I fixated on how the dead tree flesh was touching the pure glass, and in fact the bottoms of the glass reeds seemed to be taking on a smear of dirt or something worse, some smudging on the bottoms of the reeds was slowly working its way up and eventually, I could see that eventually the glass would be completely polluted, and the moment I realized this was also the exact moment when, it was an unfortunate coincidence, a truly unlikely and unfortunate coincidence that as I happened to be scratching at a certain cluster of hairs on the side of my chin as I do at certain stressful times, I had scratched, as I do sometimes, hard enough that blood started to flow and my fingers were wet with blood which I could not wipe up because my tissues were locked away without my consent, and my bandages were also locked away, and as I had been staring at the Neodymium Reeds and scratching, and just when the blood was flowing, and right when, also, a member of the museum staff was walking near me in her rounds through the exhibit, right at this moment I could no longer keep my disgust within me and I flung my hand outward at the Reeds in a pointing gesture at the same time saying to the staff member as she drew near ‘this is not glass! This is not Chihuly glass!’ but in a purely unfortunate instance of bad luck which had no intention behind it, the blood on my hand, which was a much larger volume than I realized because I had been intensely focused on the reeds, the blood flew from my fingers and spattered droplets across the nearest two reeds and the dark red drops stood out clearly on the lavender glass and the staff member obviously noticed, as a person who views the Neodymium Reeds daily as a part of her job she noticed, and also because of my pointing and yelling she looked and noticed and began saying ‘sir, sir’ repeatedly as I stepped up onto the display and attempted to wipe the blood with my shirt tail because I did not have my tissues, but this only smeared the blood across the pristine lavender glass and the staff member grabbed, in a completely unprofessional manner she grabbed my bare forearm with her bare hand and of course it was perfectly natural and involuntary and reflexive when I jerked my arm out of her grasp and in doing so lost my balance and in an automatic reflex that was not planned and not my fault at all I grabbed onto the bloody reed with my bloody hand to steady myself but the reed being crafted of fragile and thin glass snapped off and I fell backward with the ten foot reed still grasped in my hand and landed full on my back on the ground and because my hand was slick with blood the reed slipped from my grasp and hit me in the face, further cracking the glass and causing my nose to bleed, and at this point two additional museum staff had appeared and I was summarily and roughly and unfairly escorted from the building and told never to return. My backpack was, after some time, retrieved for me, but by that point it was far too late.

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Jonas David is a writer and editor at Lucent Dreaming magazine, and lives in the Seattle area with his wife and their two cats.