Art is to Todd, as sports are to Michelle

We had about an hour before we needed to pick up the kids at half-day camp. We were looking for a cafe’. He didn’t want to go to a coffee house. The diner wasn’t yet open. I suggested The Cleveland Museum of Art, it has a cafe’! And, it’s just two seconds from camp!

By the time I was showing off my expert paralell parking skills (honed when I lived in the DC area) I’m sure HT was thinking maybe the coffee shop wouldn’t have been so bad, but we were too far in.

We had a little snack in the cafe’, and then went off to the galleries.

It wasn’t my first time at the museum, and I’ve had my Art History 101, and 102, so I felt perfectly justified in acting like an art snob to the uninitiated, pointing out this artist’s work and that.

As we walked, hand in hand, I was interested in finding out what, if any type of art he might like.

“Let me know if any of the paintings speak to you. If anything causes a stir in your heart,” I said earnestly.

He raised an eyebrow and deadpanned, “If any of the paintings *speak* to me, I’m out of here.”

He wouldn’t know Degas or Matisse or Monet if they bit him. Frankly, he wasn’t impressed by the water lilies. They did nothing for him. 

Picasso, at least, amused him. Seth likes Picasso too, while I’ve never really felt a resonance. It’s like my brain won’t stop trying to figure Picasso out. Picasso frustrates me.

When we came upon Van Gogh, we lingered. I love the thick brush strokes; painting on the verge of being sculpture. I love the swirls. I like to get up close and look at the texture. The emotion.

Todd stood back, silently taking it all in, and after a while he said,

“It’s as if Van Gogh invented new colors.”   

And that’s how he does it. No pretension.   

I’ll study spiritual texts for years, sharing tidbits with him, thinking “he just doesn’t get it” and then he’ll say something so profound, it is clear he does in fact get it, and perhaps more so than I, who cannot see the forest through the trees which have been cut down to make the books I have my nose crammed in.

He laughed this morning when I said,

“I’ve been thinking about LeBron.”

He knows I couldn’t pick LeBron out of a line-up.

“If he leaves, maybe it is a way for him to individuate. He’s a kid, Cleveland is like a parent. He might just feel too much pressure here. He might just need to explore the world on his own, outside of being Cleveland’s darling.”

Todd considered this thoughtfully. Since we’re not originally from Cleveland, he isn’t too terribly emotionally invested in LeBron, but he is following closely, like every other sports fan. Oh my Lord it is OUT OF CONTROL.





Hey, I’m not suggesting my thoughts on LeBron are as brilliant as HT’s thoughts on Van Gogh, but if he’s willing to spend time a little time in my world, I’m willing to dabble in his.

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15 Responses to Art is to Todd, as sports are to Michelle

  1. Lydia says:

    I don’t “get” art either, but I do love Van Gogh. Do you know the song about him? I think it’s called “Starry, Starry Night.” It’s a beautiful song.

  2. Kim says:

    I don’t know much about sports or art! I do love that he is willing to come to the art museum with you! The Roc LOVES “starry night” He has loved it since he was a little babe.

  3. I love what HT said about inventing new colors – and you mentioning the texture and emotion. You two are all the art critiquing I need!

  4. Miss B's Mom says:

    You guys are totally adorable!

  5. Carrie Link says:

    I love you two, and love that he said this, “If any of the paintings *speak* to me, I’m out of here.”

  6. Jess says:

    Um, I kinda think that when you use the word ‘individuate’ you lose your sports street cred.

  7. Claire says:


  8. Betty says:

    Looks like HT and I have about the same views on art. Must be the Taurus in us. After all, we celebrate our birthdays on the same day. My David loves art. It would take him 2 hours to look at art that would take me 20 min. to look at. Now, you and David could have a good conversation about art.

  9. Amanda says:

    Is “getting it” the same as “liking it”? Should I care who LeBron is?

  10. Amanda says:

    Sorry, childus interuptus – we went out for a meal last night for my birthday and on the table there was a list of all the paintings on the walls which were for sale. None of them appealed to me or spoke to me (even after a couple of beers!) so I was amazed to see they wanted £450 each for them. £450!! How do you decide what a painting is worth? I’m talking a local artist here but in general, excluding great masters, how do you know what a picture is worth? Is it what some one is prepared to pay? Is there some kind of measure? In fact including great masters, what makes them worth multi millions?

  11. Jenny R says:

    Great post Michelle.

  12. Jerri says:

    And that, my friend, is why you and HT are SO good together.

  13. kario says:

    This is how you do a marriage. I love that you two spend time and effort doing things like this and discussing them. What an example!

  14. Courtney says:

    When I saw the title of this post, it brought be back to the SATs — remember those questions?


  15. graceonline says:

    Every time you write about HT, I am drawn in to the beauty and the give and take of your marriage. Few relationships are easy, most take tons of work, but despite whatever issues the two of you confront, yours seems always so rich and gritty and whole and ripe and full of love. Many blessings.

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