Geekdom 102: Geeks on Vacation

G. (my engineer husband) and I went on a mini-vacation to Atlanta this past weekend. We went to ATL in part to go to Stone Mountain, which my hubby, despite having lived in GA for 17 years (poor man) had never visited nor climbed. That had to be rectified.

Discovered some interesting things in ATL.

Look! Slash’s autograph!!

Ahem.

Anyway, we found our tribe here. Yes, we went to the GA Tech bookstore while on vacation. This should surprise no one. We thought about playing count the introverts in the coffee shop, but it seemed redundant. Clearly, though, we found our people. Geeks, every single one.

I got to be geeky at the Hard Rock Cafe, where I found Guns N Roses stuff (as seen above). Took pictures; Slash’s guitar was about ten feet above my head, so I’m rather proud of that shot. Was even happier to find the Velvet Revolver stuff, which featured my hero, el Duff. G. was very, very patient and deserves kudos for being so tolerant of my silliness.

We also went to Dante’s Down the Hatch (yeah! fondue) and the botanical gardens–fabulous orchid collection. Here’s but one of them.

Finally, the rant. We went to the New World of Coca-Cola. If you don’t live in GA, you perhaps don’t realize that Coke is the be all, end all of deities in this state–the College football mascots* notwithstanding, of course. One must pay homage to Coke regularly(one is also screwed if one wants to, say, drink Pepsi on any given campus, but that’s another set of complaints).

I’d like to know when we decided that people visiting museums are utterly stupid; personally, I’d like to believe that a PhD is not required to navigate any museum, but if it is, I’d also like to point out that I have one and I feel it proves my competency with respect to figuring out where to go in the building and what of the exhibits I care to see. After purchasing tickets, one is led into a holding tank of sorts, where the “cast members” attempt to entertain the growing number of patrons by singing the 70’s/80’s coke anthem and showing off their linguistic felicity by saying hello in a dozen or so languages. So, stood in holding tank for ten minutes.

Check.

Once released, one does not wander into, say, an exhibit. Instead, one is funnelled into a–yes–Movie Theatre, to watch a bit more Coke propaganda. By the end of this insipid little production, I was ready to run.

Visitors are then funnelled into a foyer of sorts, where directions (seriously) are provided by yet another cast member regarding navigating the museum. First, go to the History room, then the Bottling exhibit, then go upstairs to the 4-D film (more gratuitous Coke pedalling, this time with moving seats), then the Pop Culture room (art inspired by Coke), and finally…what you’ve all been waiting for…the tasting room.

Okay, fine. Directions are lovely, but they actually make you follow this order, at least on the first floor. No seeing the bottling exhibit if you haven’t read/paid homage to your Coke history.

Sidenote: met an actual Coke historian. Want to know how to get that gig.

So, exactly when did we decide that visitors are so dunderheaded as to not be able to figure out where they want to go/what they want to see–and in what order? I hope this is not the new trend in museums, though I fear it is, because what I love about museums is the wandering. Do we really need this much direction (or this many films???)? I see in my students an inability to make decisions…and I think I see why that is.

What if I want to spend all of my Coke time in the tasting area? I should be able to do that, shouldn’t I? (BTW, Africa has the best Coke products. Hands down. One of them is minty!!)

Of course, one is funnelled from the tasting room into a gift shop at least half the size of the rest of the museum. Was disappointed to find only limited Tab kitsch. I love Tab kitsch. The forced running of the gift-shop gauntlet is another of my least favorite museum devices of late, incidentally. Fortunately, we were kidless this time, so I was the only one whining.

I feel a bit dirty for having gone (history room notwithstanding), but also rather irritated. I want to wander museums–and get a bit lost. I don’t want to be herded.

Give me liberty…or keep me out of museums dedicated to the worship of consumerism.

*I’d like to point out for Chris’ benefit that that is a VT Hokie with Buzz. So, suffice to say that Va Tech fans are just as loony as GA and GA Tech ones. Thank you.

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One response to “Geekdom 102: Geeks on Vacation

  1. Chris Dana Photography

    That is truly disturbing…and VT fans are worse than GT fans. We actually win games on a regular basis.

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