Maybe it’s the fact that I’m living hundreds of miles away from my parents or the fact that I’m a legal adult. Perhaps it’s my having to file taxes and pay bills or budget grocery expenses. Whatever the reason, it always surprises me when someone tries to belittle me. Though I haven’t grown since I was twelve, I definitely feel that I’m on equal footing with most people I encounter, and I expect to not be reprimanded with a scolding.
I recently visited a museum at which the guards looking over the exhibit were practically breathing down my throat. They followed close behind like vultures and each of them separately made sure I was aware that there was no photography allowed (which is something else I don’t understand, but that’s a story for another day). The section of the gallery we were in had a maximum occupancy of 4 at a time. I stood at the velvet-roped entrance, waiting. The guard stared at me awkwardly. I stood. After about a minute of this, I asked, “Is this where I go in?” He didn’t reply and unhooked the rope. My friends and I meandered through the exhibit as the two guards glared at us while having a very pretentious conversation. When we left, we thanked them and got a cold “mmhmm” in return. Last time I checked “You’re welcome,” was the correct response.
I relayed this account to a friend, who recently had a similar experience. We thought we were talking about the same museum by our descriptions of the rude, stalking actions of the guards, but had actually gone to two very different places. Perhaps this is just the standard air of most people in this occupation. I understand they have to maintain a level of superiority. Who knows, I could go insane and start puncturing canvases or have a violent sneeze.
Although some guards in my experience have been cool, I think some are way too swept up in the tremendous power trip that comes with the job. Ideally, they should be there primarily as a reference, right? Let’s have a conversation about the art. You can yell and glare at me later.