In the 1970s, I and a bunch of college buddies jumped in the car and drove to Chicago to see the King Tut exhibit. "We don't need no stinking
advance tickets!" we said with the confidence and foolhardiness of youth.
When we got there, the line was so long it rivaled a Beatle's concert. "Look, a really short line over there!" we said, again
with the confidence and foolhardiness of youth, "let's get in that one!"
The line we got in was for the bus tours. Buses came, people got off, people went in. More busses came, more people got off, more people went in.
We waited. By the time we realized what we had done, the very very long line at the main entrance was a huge, gross, seemingly eternal line.
But the the busses stopped! And they let the line in! We made it! We had made a stupid blunder, but it turned out okay in the end.
So last night I decided that today was the day to visit the current Tut exhibit! Determined not to repeat history, I checked the website for the
Franklin Institute Science Center, and discovered that there were usually some tickets available each day, but only for really late
entrance times. Some days they were all sold out.
So I checked ticketmaster and found tickets! I ordered my "will call" ticket for 11 a.m., complete with "discounted" parking!
I drove to Philly this morning, and thanks to the GPS had no trouble finding the Franklin Institute or the garage. I took my parking
ticket (which has to be presented at the Institute for stamping for the discount) and drove in. It was a tight fit with a large truck, and before I got to the turn
to go to the second floor, a parking worker flagged me down and told me he'd park me outside because I was driving a truck. This involved exiting the garage and parking just past the cashier booth. So I had
to pay for a all day parking ($15) and then drive up and over a curb to park with along with three other trucks. This was good and bad -- good that the truck was
very visible, so I didn't have to worry about someone breaking in, but bad because it was now in the sun and the temp was to be in the 90s. And
bad because I no longer had a parking ticket to be validated so I was stuck with the full charge.
When I got to the Institute, it appeared that there were tickets available today, and the tickets sold at the counter were half what I paid, and
they included the audio tour and the IMAX movie which were not included in my ticket. So I made a stupid blunder again, but it turned out
okay in the end. I'm just charging this one off to "insurance" that I would get in.
For the Tut-obsessed, this was not "Nothin' But Tut." It was "The World of King Tut" and included a lot of artifacts from other rulers, especially
those related to Tut. The exhibits were very high quality, and I found the emphasis on the family and daily life to be fascinating. Tut's
tomb was not included, but there were several rooms of items that had been found in his tomb.
As I was reading one of the exhibits, two relatively elderly women seemed to be in a quiet, but heated discussion about the exhibit. One
said, "See? See?" as she excitedly pointed to the text that described the Eqyptian symbol for "Life." I thought, "How nice -- they are engaged
in an intellectual discussion about the exhibit." Of course I was wrong. She then went on to say, "Look at that! I CAN TOO use A-N-K-H in Scrabble!"