Last week at work was particularly interesting, for two very different reasons.
For one thing, I was kissed by Ewan McGregor. He asked first, like a real gentleman.
He was waiting in the Gatehouse (i.e., the entrance) of Eastern State with his mother, since his older brother and his father were taking the tour and were scheduled to be finished within a few minutes after his arrival. His mother was very nice, and was telling me about their visit to the States from Scotland, how much they were enjoying it, and how nice people were treating them. (Always nice to hear that a visitor from abroad is forming a good impression.) She said Ewan was a family name, and that for a while, they'd considered calling him something else, but decided it was silly to worry that people would tease him. Man, was he cute! Then when his father and brother came out, and they were all ready to leave, he asked if he could give me a kiss.
Are you jealous yet? I thought so.
Oh ... did I mention that he was two years old and in a stroller?**
That was fun!
The other thing is more serious, but something that has really had me thinking. Last week, a family with grown sons was touring through the penitentiary, and one of them asked me where the electric chair was, because he wanted to sit in it. I told him that although there was a Death Row, there was no electric chair, since there were no executions at Eastern State. He was really disappointed. Then he said to me, "This is my last day to do anything fun, since tomorrow I leave for Iraq for 18 months. I was really hoping to sit in the electric chair."
OK, the electric chair part is not what made me think. The part about it being his last day home before going to Iraq was what stuck with me. Because he is the third person since I've started working there who has been visiting right before they leave for Iraq. And each time that's made me wonder if something like that was going on in my life - or the life of a family member - if I would want to spend my last day touring the penitentiary.
On the one hand, I would guess that it's good to have a specific activity to occupy your mind, so you don't drive yourself crazy thinking of what could/might happen once you are there. But on the other hand, I'm not sure I would be completely focused on visiting a historic site. This could be largely because I am, at heart, a true chicken. (Plus, I would likely be the worse person on earth to be in any branch of the military, being sent anywhere, in any capacity.) So I am not the best judge of this.
But I will admit that it fascinates me, and though I would never come out and ask someone why they were choosing to spend their last day at home that way - it is after all, none of my business - I would love to know the answer.
**(Children under seven are not permitted - a city of Philadelphia code - so people with young children either have to come back another time, or figure out who visits when.)