It was quite busy. In the front entrance, two friendly ladies were seated at a table handing out free visitor’s packs – big, bright yellow plastic bags – and these were accepted with expressions of gratitude and rapture by everyone who passed.
‘Care for a visitors’ pack, sir?’ called one of the ladies to me.
‘Oh, yes please,’ I said, more thrilled than I wished to admit. The visitors’ pack was a weighty offering, but on inspection it proved to contain nothing but a mass of brochures – the complete works, it appeared, of the visitors’ centre I had visited the day before. The bag was so heavy that it stretched the handles until it was touching the floor. I dragged it around for a while, and then thought to abandon it behind a pot plant. And here’s the thing. There wasn’t room behind the pot plant for another yellow bag! There must have been ninety of them back there. I looked around and noticed that almost no one in the room still had a plastic bag. I leaned mine against the wall beside the plant and as I straightened up I saw that a man was advancing toward me.
‘Is this where the bags go?’ he asked gravely.
‘Yes, it is,’ I replied with equal gravity.
In my momentary capacity as director of internal operations I watched him lean the bag carefully against the wall. Then we stood for a moment together and regarded it judiciously, pleased to have contributed to the important work of moving hundreds of yellow bags from the foyer to a mustering station in the next room. As we stood, two more people came along. ‘Place them just here,’ we suggested almost in unison, and indicated where we were sandbagging the wall. Then we exchanged satisfied nods and moved off into the museum.”