Growing up, you probably dreamed about running away at some point. You probably also read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and realized that heroine Claudia Kincaid is a goddamned legend, not so much because she acted on your pre-teen runaway fantasies but because she did it with such STYLE.
For those of you that don't remember the specifics, Claudia is a sullen 12 year old with misogynistic parents and three younger brothers. Unappreciated, she decides to run away from home. Understanding that being a runaway would actually be terrible, she decides to go to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She accurately predicts that she can live there quite comfortably for some time. Claudia decides to bring her 9 year old brother Jamie along because he owns a transistor radio and has saved up a whopping $24.43 from cheating at cards -- $167.33 in today's money. By day, they blend in with school groups visiting at the museum, and by night, they hide in the bathrooms until the museum shuts down, collect wish coins and bathe in the fountain, and sleep in an antique bed. They also solve a mystery about a piece of artwork that has stumped the best curators in New York City. Basically, she's every little girl Wes Anderson has ever put in a movie. And she's also who every little kid wanted to be whenever they felt unappreciated or put-upon, however valid those sentiments may or may not have been at the time.
Now we're all adults, but most of us probably wouldn't mind running away from our jobs, schools, or families--just a little vacation from real life. So we present to you the Konigsburg Museum Challenge! You have one week, $167.33, and one fictional companion of your choice. Which museum will you choose? What is your transistor radio - the one object you can't live without? How will you survive without getting caught?
Museum of Choice: The Louvre
YA Companion: Elizabeth Bennet
Possession You Can't Live Without: Camera. We have to blend in with all the tourists!
Daily Activities and Survival Strategies: Sure, there is strict security at the Louvre, but I think an over-reliance on technology has made those guards lazy. I have eaten a sandwich in the middle of the Galerie de Grand Format and no one has said ANYTHING. I also participated in an un-sanctioned scavenger hunt and sprinted through half of the Sully wing, and nobody stopped me. I'm much more concerned about my quality of life than being caught. It would be a shame to be living in the Louvre and only be able to afford to eat saltines for a week.
Luckily, Lizzy and I both qualify for free Louvre admission! Holla! This means we have full access to the shopping mall and restaurants underneath the Louvre without having to pay for multiple entrances to the museum, and we can spend all of our 129 euro on food! But that's not a lot of money for a whole week in Paris, so we would trick rich young suitors into taking us on double dates (hey, it worked for MK & Ashley), and then run away after dinner. During the day, we'd people-watch and make fun of tourists, and at night, we'd roam the empty galleries looking for artwork that's even more awesome than Monsiau's Lion of Florence.
Plus, we get to sleep in the Napoleonic apartments! I feel fancy just thinking about it!
Museum of Choice: The Houston Zoo (what? Zoos are basically living museums)
YA Companion: Kartik! Pre-tree, of course.
Possession You Can't Live Without: Sunscreen. Have you been to Texas?
Daily Activities and Survival Strategies: Just like all the signs at the Zoo proclaiming that the animals are more excitable at night, and THAT'S why they're all laying around like lumps on a log during the day (I suspect it has more to do with being screamed at by toddlers and tourists though), Kartik and I would do most of our exploring at night when everything is closed down. I'd make out with Kartik under the lion exposure (THE prime make out spot at the zoo), track the free-roaming lion-faced tamarins (actually, I did this one summer. It's harder than it seems and also sometimes the tamarins poop on you from their perch in the trees) and swim with the sea lions. Kartik and I could slip a little red meat from the African exhibit's food storage unit (well, I could; Kartik is presumably not allowed to eat of the cow) and we'd finish it off with some astronaut ice cream for dessert. I will be personally reinstating the presence of astronaut ice cream in the gift shop because HELLO THIS IS HOUSTON and astronaut ice cream should be available everywhere. They make take our shuttle but they can never take our freeze dried neopolitan!
To avoid detection and to keep cool, we'd sleep in the marine life exhibit and we'd have secksy times under the eerily fluorescent giant jelly fish. And during the day, Kartik could pretend to be a tree while I hang out in the chimp enclosure with my buddies. Come visit me; you get to bring beer!
Museum of Choice: Victoria & Albert Museum
YA Companion: Frankie Landau-Banks OR Etienne St. Clair
Possession You Can't Live Without: My apocalypse flashlight (this doubles as the possession I can't live without in real life) because museums at nighttime are DARK!! This particular flashlight is a gift from my ex-missionary grandfather, and has the words "Jesus is the light of the world" emblazoned on its side, but just crank the handle on that baby a few times to charge its internal whatchamacallit, and you never have to replace batteries.
Daily Activities and Survival Strategy: Bathe in the courtyard fountain, hide under the Great Bed of Ware at closing time, sleep ON the Great Bed of Ware, eradicate chauvinism, finally have time to explore every single nook and cranny of the museum, laugh behind our hands and the giant urethra on the 1857 replication of 'David', smuggle food out of the cafe, leave bras hanging on different paintings all week -- just to mess with security.
Have my own tour guide in the form of a French/Brit charmer, stock up on food during the day from the cafe, because St. Clair is loaded, make out on the Great Bed of Ware…
Name: Megan no h
Museum of Choice: British Museum
YA Companion: Hermione, but only so I could use her bottomless purse
Possession You Can't Live Without: Contact solution
Daily Activities and Survival Strategy: Look, to be honest, I would fail miserably at this. I hate being dirty or hungry and I'm really not very scrappy. So if I had to pick anywhere, it would be theBritish Museum, since it's beautiful and awesome and huge, which is good for hiding (though, not large enough apparently, for me not torun into people from my tiny college there. But then, neither is PLANET EARTH, apparently.) I am super sad there is no longer the Reading Room, which is obviously where I would have liked to spend all of my time. But I'm pretty sure I could convert one of the large monuments in the Dept. of Greece and Rome into a nice little living space.
Museum of Choice: Houston Children's Museum
YA Companion: Mary Anne Spier, from the Babysitter's Club, because she's the least annoying of them all and I could deploy her to defect any annoying rugrats during the day, and help out with Mr. T, Decoy Toddler.
Possession You Can't Live Without: Earplugs
Daily Activities and Survival Strategy: Children's museums are awesome! Sure, they're full of germs and kids, but you can also smuggle all kinds of crazy shit in there as long as you have a diaper bag and/or stroller. And I have both! As well as a decoy toddler! There are comfy places to sleep in the Parent Resource Library, since it doubles as a private nursing room for those less comfortable than I was with feeding anywhere, anytime. It's usually crawling with kids, but that doesn't really bother me, and it'd keep Mr. T, Decoy Toddler, entertained. Children's museums are awesome because you get to touch all the things! And play with them! I'm sure it'd be easy to hide out in one of the giant sculpture-like exhibits at closing time.
The museum is free every Thursday night and the first Sunday of each month, so those would be the optimal entry times; unfortunately, I'd be stuck there during the days unless I wanted to shell out for more tickets for Mary Anne and me. Hey! Maybe she could steal a bunch of money from Rich Watson, and we could use that instead.
Museum of Choice: The Getty
YA Companion: Marcus Flutie, because then we could have ALL OF THE SEX.
Possession You Can't Live Without: Deodorant. (Look, I know that sounds boring but I CANNOT SMELL BAD IN FRONT OF MARCUS FLUTIE.)
Daily Activities and Survival Strategy: Steal food and copious amounts of wine from the patio bar. (I admit, this is the main reason I chose this museum. The bar is FANTASTIC.) Spend our days outside gazing at the beautiful scenery and engaging in deep conversations about life, lasso-dicking and Barry Manilow. Spend our nights christening each room with sexy times and then falling asleep on the well-manicured lawn while we gaze at the stars. I mean, yes, I would appreciate the art around me, but since Marcus Flutie is the greatest masterpiece of all time, he'd obviously need to be my main focus.
Now it's your turn. Where would you go? Who would you take? And remember, DON'T GET CAUGHT!