"I kinda need help on something, but I'm not sure if you can... maybe?." She sounded nervous with a dash of apprehension and a bit of phlegm.
"What is it?"
"Well, Cory and I are in art history--" my ear perked up "--and I just can't figure out a few things."
So she started it, tentatively, with a piece by Cimabue. I corrected her pronunciation and she seemed surprised and elated to finally know how the name was said (Sim-uh-boo-ee). She started to describe which piece.
"Madonna and Child?" I asked.
"Madonna Enthroned," she corrected.
"So, you have Mary holding Christ in the center, with angels around them, prophets below in a really odd use of space," I analyzed as a basic overview.
"You know this one!" Apprehension gone (though still with the phlegm... I think she may have a cold?), the relief that I actually would be able to help seemed to become a reality to her mind and she made her way into asking more questions... about more pieces... each one surprised at the idea that I knew the image and, perhaps, some information about it.
We decided that the quick run through wasn't quite enough and set up to do another session in the morning on Skype. The next day, somewhere between baby talk with my niece and nephew, and actually getting down to business, I told Megan, "I'm excited about this! Here I always kind of thought I'd just be the freak in the family that was way into art history."
"Oh, you're still a freak," she made clear.
"Yes, but now I'm a helpful freak!"
We went on from there, having discussion of Giotto, the proto-Renaissance, tempura, and halos (if you got giddy over any of those terms, you may be a freak like me), and it all helped to reaffirm something I've been figuring out for a while now:
I love teaching!
So the next time you need help with art history, you know who to call. Because no one will be quite as helpful of a freak as me :)