You guyz, Philadelphia is basically the WEIRDEST. Or at least, those were the places I went to when I went there just now.
You know what the best thing about travelling alone is? (Not: What is the best thing about THIS PARTICULAR trip travelling alone, because the answer to that is SCRAPPLE OMG, but just, like, in general.) It’s getting to do whatever the fuck you fucking want. You know what I DIDN’T do while I was in Philadelphia? I DIDN’T tour Independence Hall, or see where Benjamin Franklin was buried, or go to the Freedom Center. (I did see the Liberty Bell, but only accidentally: I was caught in the rain at one point while on my way between two other, far cooler, tourist attractions and happened to realize, as I was standing near a window under an overhang trying to protect every goddamn piece of electronic equipment I own in my stupid purse, that the Liberty Bell was in the room behind me. I took this picture:
And then 16 pictures of this mouse that I saw in the Liberty Bell room:
YES THAT’S RIGHT: YOUR SYMBOL OF PRECIOUS AMERICAN FREEDOM IS HOME TO VERMIN, PEOPLE. VERMINNNNN!!!)
But you know what I saw instead of those things? I saw Edgar Allen Poe’s scary-ass cellar, and I saw not one, but FOUR ovarian cysts bigger than my torso, and I saw a really, really shitty ghost tour, and I saw a very pretty green beetle, and I saw Charles Dickens’s stuffed pet raven Grip, and well yes fiiiiiiine, I also stood where JFK stood – so I DID do something patriotic-ish. (And actually I also stood where Lincoln stood, though I hadn’t realized THAT plaque was even there – a bemused security guard had to point it out to me – and somehow that one seemed less funny. Though honestly, I’m not sure WHY. I’m maybe not sure why the first one IS funny? But it IS, though, right?)
I also ate something called “scrapple,” you guys.
I LOVE SCRAPPLE SO MUCH, YOU GUYS.
I need a t-shirt that says that. I need a tiny plastic scrapple keychain. I need to send scrapple postcards to all of my loved ones. (My list of loved ones now includes “scrapple.”) I love scrapple so much I’m going to marry it. If world peace was a chopped-and-seasoned-and-deep-fried pork dish, then world peace would be scrapple. (Maybe world peace already IS scrapple.) I guess I’m going to convert to Quakerism now, because scrapple is a Quaker dish, and THEY OBVIOUSLY KNOW WHAT’S UP. I go where the scrapple goes. I am scrapple and scrapple is me. Where scrapple goes I will go, and where scrapple lodges I will lodge. Scrapple’s people shall be my people, and scrapple’s God my God. Where scrapple dies I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from scrapple. I even love the WORD scrapple, and that’s not a hilarious joke: that’s true. All of this is true, though. I really, really, really love scrapple. Look at its shape! It’s got some kind of idealized golden ratio thing going on, right? It’s like this perfectly constructed, solid-but-graceful FORM, in the very strictest most artistic or philosophical possible definition of the word “form.” It is a buildable, trustworthy object, and yet…light. Lovely. Sexy? It is clean and NEAT and oh my god you guys have you ever TASTED scrapple? Scrapple tastes like…well, frankly, scrapple tastes like chopped-and-seasoned-and-deep-fried pork, so. There’s that. That’s scrapple. Scrapple, man.
(Scrapple is that gorgeous thing on the left there. The massive pile on the right was chipped cream beef. That’s right. I ordered chipped creamed beef WITH A SIDE OF SCRAPPLE. Because: vacation.)
Anyway, I drew some stuff while I was in Philadelphia. Here’s some of it! (Eh…I guess it’s kind of tiny, but if you fuck around with it and click on it and stuff I think it’ll get bigger. Because it’s NECESSARY TO SEE ALL THE DETAILS OF MY NOTES ON SCRAPPLE.)
Oh man. Scrapple.
While I was also there, that first morning at Reading Market, I saw this stuff called suelze and desperately wanted to try it.
But I was already full of SO MUCH SCRAPPLE and I wanted to get to the Mutter, so I put it off. I promised myself I would go back the next day and try it! (This, incidentally, is ALSO the kind of thing you would somehow never actually manage to get around to, were you travelling with another person. WILL I MANAGE IT, THOUGH??? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT!) (Hint: I do. But it comes later in my little cartoon book, so hold on a second is all.)
Anyway, obviously the main reason for the trip to Philadelphia was the Mutter Museum, because, hi, my name is Jessica and I like things like human skulls presented in fake-intellectual nerdy ways that are also kind of Pinteresty:
The only thing that disappointed me about the Mutter museum was the gift shop. There were SO MANY THINGS in that damn museum I wanted to own a little plastic key chain versions of, or at a least postcard photo of! (Especially since no photography was allowed!) They were definitely doing that giftshop wrong. I bought a book there. That’s all. (And it’s…fine.) I would have given you so much fucking money, Mutter! All I wanted was a postcard of those two Best Friends of the Floating Heart dudes, and a children’s wooden shapes puzzle of the tiny exploded bones of unborn fetuses on black velvet, and a little tiny collapsible wooden toy model of the single-headed-double-bodied baby skeleton (You know what I’m talking about. Like…one of these, you know?), and maybe a choice between a whole bunch of piggy banks that are modeled after a bunch of the different skulls, and fuck I mean come on: how about actually a necklace modeled after that string of papilloma, and obviously this would be wildly disrespectful and you should NOT do this, but…come on, man. Why on EARTH weren’t you selling bars of soap shaped like the soap lady? That’s just common sense, yo. And I am totally going to fucking LEARN CARPENTRY in order to make myself a goddamned little wooden jewelry box – slash – Civil-War-era field doctor’s surgery kit, I wanted one so bad. And…I obviously don’t have a photo of it. It looked sort of like one of these? It was badass.
Incidentally, that thing about how I photographed roughly every single cell in the prison? It’s…kind of true. Here’s a nearly-five-minute-long slideshow of a mere fifty of the eight hundred seventy-two thousand photos I took of nearly-identical prison cells:
This is another reason it’s good to go on vacation alone. So that you can do shit like THAT and not have to feel like you’re putting anybody out. (Also: so you can read EVERY SINGLE ID CARD below each skull in the collection of 300, and write down the good quotes from half of them or so.) (Also: so you can walk into the coffee shop / lending library / tattoo parlor at 10am on a weekday and very sincerely think to yourself: “Huh…what if I get a tattoo here?” The tattooist was already with somebody else, though.) (Also: so you can walk 10 blocks out of your way – TWICE, since it rained the first time – and wait in a security-check line, and get teased by a security guard, just to stand where JFK stood.) (Though: it DOES mean that you have to wait for 5 minutes before some other random stranger/tourist happens to walk into Poe’s cellar in order to be brave enough to go over to the “creepy part” to take a picture, because it was TOO FUCKING SCARY to do it when you were in there all alone.) I really only STOPPED taking photos because my camera’s battery died. (And then I took a bunch on my phone, too.) I very sincerely believe that that prison was the most physically beautiful place I’ve ever been in my entire life. (Yeah, fuck you, every national park I’ve ever been to; fuck you, St Paul’s Cathedral; fuck you, the Lourve; fuck you, Bahama Islands; fuck you, Podatso National Park. I said it. You heard me.) (Also, it occurs to me that I have not been to enough fancy places. I need to go on more vacations, yo.)
And if anybody does know (or even have any good ideas about how to find out?) the name of the person who…set-designed or art-directed or curated or assembled or whatever…all those rooms: fill a girl in. I am SO FUCKING CURIOUS.
Also, maybe the thing that I will learn carpentry in order to build will be more of a turn-of-the-century-era creepy peeling sorting box of unidentified purpose to hang on a wall?
And you know, to be honest, I KNOW that part of the reason I loved that goddamn place so much was just because everything was painted in that really wonderful Pinterest-y 1960s-kitchen stand-mixer pastel-mint-green-y color.
Yayyyy! Told ya!
It was…not…awful. It was beautiful. It looked like stained glass windows, or Czec glass jewelry, or…other pretty, colorful, see-through type things? (And I totally think the handsome dude who gave it to me was flirting with me.)
Also, here’s that beetle I mentioned earlier, too. Just to…you know. Not keep you hanging and all.
So. You know. Philadelphia and all.
Woot or whatever.