The Unwilling Transparent

The docent at the museum approached, and said, “If you want to take a picture, that’s OK.”

“Oh, no,” I answer, “I don’t think I could catch it on my phone camera anyway.”

She nods, while I’m immediately realizing I screwed up. I didn’t want to be caught wanting to take a picture, so I made an excuse that now effectively prevents me from taking a photo.

After being given explicit permission.

What an idiot. No, wait — make that a coward. Because it’s really about saving face.

I start mentally rewriting the conversation if I’d only been open about what I wanted.

“Oh, really? That’s awesome, the texture on this piece is just amazing.”

Actually, I do say that latter bit. But because I prefaced it with a little white lie, it comes off differently. The docent wanders back away.

I’ve been taking in the OKC Museum of Art, and while the exhibits are great, I’m also super intrigued by the docents lingering around on this Sunday. They all look like interesting people. Some of them look the age to be interns or volunteers through an art program of some kind. This woman is older, though.

We could maybe have connected, if I’d not been a little ashamed of my enthusiasm.

See, I really was leaning close to try and take in the sculpture carefully. As a bit of a fiber artist myself I was blow away by the delicate impressions of textiles on this gorgeous piece by Karen Lamonte. It’s Chado — a glass sculpture of a kimono, as if captured in the middle of a tea ceremony.

And was I wondering if I could get away with a photo? In some part of my mind. And when approached by the docent I leaped to the conclusion that maybe I should be so close. When she indicated it was okay to take a photo, I also leaped to the conclusion that my thoughts were on my face.

Which they probably were. She also sees people looking at this piece day after day, probably wondering the same thing.

Why was that such a bad thing?

I just re-read a book with a character who is known for being transparent. It has made me uncomfortable to read about him, in the past. My dearest wish for most of my life has been to be an ice-queen. (It didn’t work out.)

And even as I’m trying to learn to express my feelings, every once in a while I have a setback when I find out people can see how I feel anyway.

Next time, hopefully, rehearsing the line “Oh really? Cool!” will help me navigate it better. Even if I’m blushing.

And even if it’s true there are better photos on the internet than the ones I didn’t take on my phone camera.