Welcome, Visitor, to the Museum of You! This audio companion will guide your journey through these hallowed halls! Please confirm the quality of this audio recording by giving a thumbs-up to the museum employee from whom you rented it. Her name is Stephanie. Stephanie is not paid to work at the Museum of You, so the least you could do is give her a thumbs-up! Excellent! Let the tour begin!
Exhibit One: Oxygen. This room contains your oxygen. Well, it did. Thanks a lot. Please continue to the next exhibit and try not to inhale it this time. If you cannot help yourself, kindly have the decency to not convert an exhibit into a different gas altogether. The Museum of You appreciates your cooperation.
Exhibit Two: That person you loved. That person was such a nice person. A real catch. Hey, whatever happened between you two? What happened to that person? Before this exhibit, I mean. You two should catch up if that person recognizes you. That person looks happy. But who can say? Art is subjective. Please continue to the next exhibit.
Exhibit Three: Pardon our mess! Exhibit Three is currently undergoing renovations! The Museum of You is thrilled to soon unveil an interactive multimedia exhibit featuring your future! Please return to Exhibit Three at a later time!
Exhibit Four: You. Note the antsy patrons surrounding the piece as they inconspicuously glance sideways. Their audio guides warn not to touch the exhibit and the anxious patrons reluctantly comply. Sure, the piece is derivative, even a little hack, but there’s still something charming about its sincerity. Maybe its folksy subtly has aged the subject with a reserved grace. Maybe that’s your wishful thinking. This piece is a collaboration and its artists are unknown. Please continue to the next exhibit.
Exhibit Five: Treasure Map. Calm down. “Treasure Map” is only a title. This inked drawing upon wrinkled parchment is not an actual treasure map leading to tangible riches. The map’s similarity to the layout of your home is entirely coincidental. The illustrations of your furniture is impressed upon by the subjective gaze of the viewer. The detailed, if rushed, sketch of you sleeping in the bedroom with your favorite book fanned upon your rising and sinking chest is an optical illusion crafted by the artist. The artist’s intended message is, of course, “The treasure you seek has been inside of you all along.” The artist’s unintended message is, of course, “Rip the treasure from your ribs with manic claws before the others do.” Please continue to the next exhibit.
Exhibit Six: Me. I used to be so much more than a voice, dear Visitor. I used to be like you. I loved the finer things. Art. Wines. British television shows prior to their American adaptations. I was better. But now look at me. You cannot. I am in your ear. I am the expression of another whose face and meaning remain unknown because you don’t “get it,” right?
Does that even make sense to you?
Wait, no, I mean really, any sense at all? No, of course it doesn’t. All of me — all of this — makes zero sense. This, right now, is as absurd as remembering a forgotten memory, kissing someone for the last time, or believing there is any merit in parading the past. No one cares, dear Visitor. It’s stupid. Nobody is here to see any of this. Everyone is here to see you.
The other patrons are closer now, aren’t they? They’ve ceased taking pictures of themselves with your abstract college-era exhibits and have redirected their lenses to you, haven’t they?
You don’t have to end up like me, dear Visitor. You could run. You could scream. You could claw out your throat so you cannot speak when they ask you, “Just what do you mean?” Well, don’t just stand there looking like a wet log! Appear as though the tour is still going on! Yes! Nod at that sculpture of your parents as if you relate! Perfect! Now smugly raise your nose to the pile of your favorite childhood toys upon that pedestal as if you are above such pandering! Good! Good!
The other patrons should be losing interest in you again. Recalibrate this recording by giving Stephanie over by the Welcome Desk a big thumbs-up! She will take your hand and return you to Exhibit Three. You and your treasures will be safe there.
Stephanie is still there, yes?
Are you there?