Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WTF, Tuesday?

So I had a bit of a weird day yesterday, as in, I saw some pretty weird things.

First, there was a young man on my bus in the morning who had just gotten his heart stomped on by some girl. He was so broken up about it that he was relating his tale to the bus driver. I wasn't paying too much attention until this older lady piped up and started basically witnessing to him, telling him never to give up his faith and to keep praying, and that God would send him a soul mate, because that's what happened to her.

While I'm not sure the whole prayer thing works as easily as she made it sound (one lifelong companion .... order up!), I was sad that she got off the bus only a few blocks into her sermon. I haven't been so disappointed to see someone leave since this guy started telling me about how he got robbed at knifepoint just before my stop.

Second, there was a lady at a stoplight who had all four windows of her car rolled down. She had her head sticking out one, and hanging out the others were three enormous dogs, each with their own private porthole to the highway. The weird part was that while they waited, she apparently dipped her hand into a bucket of ice water and rubbed it all over the dogs' faces, which made them go wild with joy. It looked like they were attacking her in the front seat amid a spray of saliva.

Third, there was a guy doing jumping jacks outside a pub in NE. He wasn't just doing a few for fun -- he was committed and appeared to be in pain.

Fourth, there was a guy in the elevator at work with an old-fashioned Walkman. He had the volume turned up so loud that it sounded like legitimate Muzak. It was literally everything I could do not to sing along with "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough," since I could hear every word.

Fifth, somebody sent me a message on my phone that was simply a picture of a wall-mounted air conditioning unit. I don't know why, and I don't recognize the number. Is it a sign of some sort? A warning? A threat? A taunt?

I don't really have explanations for any of this stuff. I just thought it was odd that I'd encounter Park n' Preach, The Human Fire Hydrant, The Oddest Loser, Deafy McMJ, and Chilly Stalker all on the same day. I just had to tell somebody.

I feel better now.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Rumination with a View

There are certain things in life that I just love, and I really should keep a running list, but here's one: the view from my office building in downtown Minneapolis. 

From the 48th floor, you can look either directly north or south from enormous windows in the lunchroom and lobby. Although the southern view presents you with several lakes, the Art Institute, the Walker, and the cathedral, I prefer gazing north over the river, the bridges, the library, the Mill City Museum, the Guthrie, and the Grain Belt Beer sign, all the way into NE Minneapolis, where I live.

The other day I was hurrying down the stairs on some errand, but I just couldn't help but stop and stare awhile. It never gets old. (And I'm not just saying that because if you lean around the corner a bit, you can see directly into the new Twins stadium). I had to pause for a moment because, if you'd told me seven years ago that I'd one day be working smack-dab in the heart of downtown, I would have called you a liar to your face.

But seven years ago I left South Dakota and came to "the Cities," as we in the rural tri-state area call them (duh, what other cities could we possibly be referring to?) I came with no job and knowing only about three people, one of whom was a high school acquaintance who needed a roommate. I had no idea where anything was or, if I did, how to get there.  

My early navigation attempts consisted of simply driving around aimlessly until something looked vaguely familiar. I distinctly remember once being so lost that I pulled into a McDonald's and bought a shake and french fries so I would have something to munch on as I consistently took exits I didn't mean to take. To this day, I'll occasionally pass a landmark and think, "Hmmm, I know this place ... I think I was lost here once ..."

I still take the periodic wrong turn, but I now have the ability to troubleshoot. And, three jobs later, I have much more than a handful of excellent friends. They are people I can't imagine not meeting, and I love them more for their quirks than in spite of them.

I realize that I've probably experienced only about 20% of what the TC has to offer, yet it's still been a wild, lovely ride. Whenever I visit my hometown, people ask me whether I like it here. When I reply that of course I do, they always seem a little shocked. But truthfully, I frickin' love Minneapolis. I love Minneapolis the same way I love my apartment, which goes like this: Whenever I pass by, I wish I lived there. And thankfully I do.

So I was reflecting on all this the other day in my brief pause before the window, feeling pretty proud of myself for having the guts to strike out alone somewhere new and generally pleased with all my small accomplishments since then. It was at this point that I turned, still gazing wistfully northward, and nearly Dick Van Dyked over a low oval coffee table in the lobby.

I get it, Minneapolis. Just keeping me in my place. Thanks for tripping me and not punching me in the face.  That's right, you heard me, St. Paul.