Yesterday I went on a field trip with a group of middle school students. We visited various places around Des Moines, such as the downtown library, the botanical center, the art museum (where Grant Wood’s American Gothic was on display), and one of the malls.
Some observations about this time:
1) A 14-hour field trip is waaaay too long.
2) The heaters on buses are never enough to keep up with all the frigid Iowa air leaking in through the door (which constantly flapped open a wee bit throughout the trip)
3) Taking a 2 1/2 hour trip to a mall at the end of a long day merely results in misery.
4) I am getting way too old to go on field trips and still maintain a good attitude by the end of the day.
Oddly enough, the dullest part of the day was visiting the downtown library, which I figured would be a multi-million dollar beauty that would make me instantly jealous. The only accurate part of that assumption was the multi-million dollar part. I’ve never seen a library as ugly as the 32-million dollar monstrosity that I witnessed in downtown Des Moines. Aside from a few brightly colored walls — orange and leaf-green, mind you — the entire building was a compilation of floor-to-ceiling windows, neverending fluorescent lighting, plain gray steel shelving, miles of thin gray carpet, and concrete … concrete ceilings as well as large concrete pillars. It was a modern mess — certainly not a place where I’d want to sit down with a good book. Much the opposite, actually; the entire place made me feel ill at ease.
Just think: they tore down the old Carnegie library to build a book garage.