Seeing it solo
Doing touristy things here in New York, I’ve realized something: I like to do it by myself. Museums, walks and sightseeing are best done solo in my case. And after three weeks here, I have racked up quite a bit of experience in this department, including the Met, the Cooper Hewitt, the Natural History Museum, walking tours of upper and lower Manhattan, exploring nearly all the neighborhoods and hitting up most of the landmarks on my map of the city.
For the sightseeing, I’m typically best alone because I want to see everything and look at all the historic stuff, but not many others my age do. So I don’t want to bore my friends by stopping to take pictures of old apartments or touring historic homes, even though I find it quite interesting. With the walking, this is often because I seem to take longer to tire out. This might be physical (maybe I have more stamina) or it might be mental (I forget to let myself take a break in my drive to see/do everything), but I don’t care if I’ve been walking for three hours; if it’s only 4 p.m., we can still do and see a lot that day. I see no reason to stop or slow down. So I’ve learned that it’s best if I tackle long days of sightseeing and touring alone.
With the museums, I’m best by myself because I seem to have ADD. I don’t like to read the signs, look at the pictures or watch the videos. I want to look at actual objects. Art isn’t that interesting to me unless it’s impressionism (and then my very hidden inner art nerd emerges). I’m not nearly as interested in people as I am in animals. I like seeing bodies, clothes and tombs but not pots and tools. However, my maximizer qualities kick in when I’m at a museum, and I do feel a need to at least walk through every room. So I might breeze through some things, such as ancient artifacts, but I do want to have passed them, and then I might stand and stare at others, such as Monet or a giant whale, for quite a while.
So I like to take things at my own pace. I can see what I want and skip over others. I can take as long as I want at the things I like and not worry about someone else being finished or bored. Besides, it’s hard to be social while taking in my surroundings or examining an exhibit anyway. And I must say, it’s nice to have some time to myself in this city of constant crowds.
So going solo let’s me focus on what I’m seeing and allow the experience to be a bit reflective. I can take as many pictures as I want, too, and then I can move on – because when I’m done, I’m done. I have museum ADD, after all.