There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bodies Revealed on the bus

Saturday, I took the bus from my house to the Bodies Revealed exhibit on Alta Arden in the old CompUSA building.

The wife, a vegetarian who feels looking at bodies flayed like so much beef is distasteful, wasn't interested in going. So I set out alone to meet a couple we know who have been to several exhibits like this -- connoisseurs of the art of body plastination, you might say.

Before I offer my impression of the exhibit I need to say something about getting to the exhibit by bus -- on a weekend with a specific arrival time a prerequisite. This is not for the faint of heart.

I first turned to Google Transit and discovered there were two options: One required four buses and took an hour and seven minutes. The other only required two buses, but it took an hour and 22 minutes. RT's online route finder had the two-bus option, but not the four-bus answer. Instead, it offered a third option, a three-bus trip that would take an hour and 28 minutes.

Google Maps suggests that driving the 5.8 miles from my house to the exhibit would have taken 14 minutes. But what is time to a transitarian?

I brought my book and took the shortest option -- and four different buses. I arrived on time.

Getting home was dependent on when I got out. Each hour, at 10 minutes before the hour, the stars aligned and a No. 23 bus could pick me up and drop me off for a No. 82 bus, and I could arrive home less than an hour later.

Unfortunately, I got out of the exhibit at 12:57, too late to catch the best route. Instead, I walked over to Arden Fair and waited for the scheduled 1:20 p.m. No. 23, which arrived at 1:34. I got off at El Camino and Watt and walked over to Watt and El Camino. The bus that goes by my house wouldn't arrive for another half hour. Instead, I took a bus that goes down Watt to the Watt/I-80 light rail station and got off at Edison and walked a mile and a half home. It wasn't raining and I had some music to listen to. I made it home by 2:38. That wasn't bad, but it was a sorry example of the extremely limited weekend service. Thankfully, I wasn't trying to do this on Sunday. It is just not possible then.

The exhibit itself was disappointing. Bodies Revealed is a knockoff on the original Gunther von Hagens Body Worlds. All of the full bodies on exhibit were males. While the bodies did offer an excellent opportunity to examine muscle structure, efforts to show internal organs in place were much less successful.

Looking at the Asian features of the bodies reminded me of pending legislation to outlaw these exhibits.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, has introduced Assembly Bill 1519, which would prohibit the commercial profit and public display of human bodies or remains without the documented informed consent of the deceased or next-of-kin. According to Ma, exhibitors who put on these shows often obtain bodies from China.

My friends offered that the Body Worlds exhibit does a much better job. Unfortunately, the exhibit in San Jose closed on Jan. 26 and the next California Body Worlds exhibit will be in Los Angeles in March.

No comments: