I woke up on Saturday morning feeling like someone kicked me repeatedly in the stomach. Oh well, I figured, maybe I can go downstairs and get breakfast and it’ll go away. Nope, I couldn’t eat a darn thing…for two whole days.
It’s not like I didn’t try to enjoy the majority of my trip, it’s just kind of hard to do so when you’re constantly nauseous with diarrhea, sore throat and running on a maximum of 2-3 hours of sleep per night because the pain in my stomach was SOO bad. Not only could I not sleep due to the pain, I could barely move as well.
Well, today I felt ever so slightly better so I decided I was going to out and try to do something – even if it killed me. Unfortunately, like Baltimore, nearly every art\tourist attraction in Norfolk is closed on Mondays.
According to the guide book in the hotel room, the Norfolk Southern Museum was open on Mondays. I figured with a Frappuccino from the lobby (I found drinking something cold soothed my burning throat and made the nausea go away temporarily), I could walk the 2-3 blocks without much difficulty.
Yes, I made it to the NSF museum with a minute or two before it was scheduled to open. I leaned against the building to catch my breath and as I slid down I could hear a door opening about 20 feet away from me. I initially figured it was the curator or someone coming out to open the galleries for the day.
Then I saw her face, the short, black security guard probably in her late 50s with black pants and a white shirt stormed over to me pointing at me angrily and shouting (eventually wagging her finger in my face):
“HEY YOU, YES YOU!!! THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY AND YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED ON IT! NOW GET LOST – NOW!! I DON’T CARE WHERE YOU GO BUT YOU WILL LEAVE THIS PROPERTY NOW! WE HAVE LAWS IN THIS CITY AGAINST TRESPASSING AND I WILL NOT HAVE YOU VIOLATING THEM ON MY WATCH! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR? NOW GO! I DON’T CARE WHERE: ACROSS THE CITY, ACROSS THE STREET, I DON’T CARE! YOU CANNOT STAY HERE! IF I HAVE TO SAY IT ONCE AGAIN I WILL CALL THE POLICE AND YOU WILL GO TO JAIL!”
It’s one of those catch-22s, I can’t leave until she stops yelling and she’ll continue yelling until I go away with what’s left of my tail tucked into what’s left of my legs. I limp over to the park and take a seat next to a passed out homeless person (which is what she probably thought I was) for a few minutes until my watch said it was after 10am.
Anyway, I summoned up enough courage to go back, knowing full well this would be difficult regardless of when it was – particularly since it still stings me writing this. I walk into the building and a young black lady in the same stark white shirt is sitting at the security desk.
“My colleague said to not let you in this building.”
“I’m here for the museum,” I said in a calm, normal voice.
“That’s…um, not open today.” she said clearly stalling.
This is another awkward position, I know I’m supposed to say something but I have no idea what. I also know the gallery is supposedly open on Mondays, and that’s she’s clearly stalling for time, but I can’t argue with her about it either (printing error in the guidebook?).
“Great,” I ended up saying. “Now, I just have to find something else to do, but even the river cruises are closed today.”
That’s when I could hear a self-satisfied “humph” from behind me. I didn’t need to look. I already knew who it was from and as much as it irritated me I wasn’t about to make a scene.
I was just going back to the hotel and reading the annual report I hastily shoved in my backpack before the trip. I figured it would probably cover most of the same ground…with a lot less aggravation.
“How do things like that always seem to happen to you?” my mom said somewhat skeptically when I called from the room phone.
I don’t know, believe me, I don’t know….