I want to start and end this post with Minneapolis. I’ve neglected it thus far, even as the city defines my days here.
And it continues to define this day, Sunday, even though I should be, by now, in Madison.
I admit – I am losing faith in public transportation in the Midwest. The Megabus, battered from an earlier accident, rumbles in late. The orderly line ceases to be orderly. Everyone is anxious to find a good seat. At the very least, we all want to avoid the bad seats. We're on board.
One rumble, then silence. Another rumble, more silence. The bus cannot sustain power long enough to even pull out of its parking place. We sit cramped and hot, waiting, hoping, even as we know we're not going anywhere. There’s good news and bad news... The good news is that we’re not being invaded by Godzilla-like monsters. A driver with a sense of humor. I remember him from Thursday. He was mildly funny then too, when the AC broke down. The bad news is that y’all have to get off and wait many hours for another bus.
It surprises me how quietly resigned to this fate everyone is. Most are traveling to Chicago. It’ll be past midnight now before they can hope to get there. At an airport there would be a revolt, a demand for compensation, or at least free lunch. Here, the feeling is that you paid little and you get little. People sit down on the sidewalk (Megabus does not run out of terminals to keep costs low) and wait. The air quickly fills with cigarette smoke and stories of horror on the highway. The trash bin at the corner is already overflowing. Trash litters the sidewalk.
I want to get away from the bus stop.
As so often, I am the lucky one. I have energy and I have almost no luggage and I have money for a cappuccino. I hike over to Dunn Brothers coffee roaster and settle in for the wait.
I’m spending some minutes now thinking about yesterday’s wedding. If you could use only one word to describe it, you’d have to say “beautiful.” Lovely in every detail..
Even though I almost missed it.
The cars of the various invitees traveling from the hotel were pretty full and so I decide to walk to the Weisman Art Center – the place of the ceremony, reception and dinner.
At first I think it may storm, but the clouds blow over. I'm truly enjoying the walk. (See this cable car lookalike? The customers pedal along as they sit at the "bar.")
Until I reach the river and am told the bridge is closed. Preparing for fireworks tonight -- they tell me. Yes, but if I don’t cross it here, then I am thrown off my googled route. Sorry.
I walk over to the next bridge (a lovely one!) and cross there, right by the locks...
...and try to understand how now best to make my way to the museum. The original google locator timed it to be 50 minute walk. With the detour, I have gained minutes of walking. Too many minutes.
Then there is the construction...
I ask for directions – ohhh, a woman tells me. It’s far! It’s ten to six. "Far" and "ten minutes" are not a good match. I hail a cab and get in. Get me to the wedding, quick! Weisman Art Center.
Okay, but that’s just two blocks. Sorry, I still have to charge you $5 anyway. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Not sure what it is, but it's there. I arrive hot and thirsty, but pleased, too. It is two minutes to six.
And soon my sweet friend and her husband walk in...
...and the groom's parents and various wedding party people and finally my friend’s daughter and it’s all so, well, beautiful!
Poems are read, music is played, melodies reverberate against the tall white walls lined with paintings. Gorgeous stuff.
And then it’s over.
Trays of drinks and food come forth – champagne cocktails and old fashioneds, exquisitely presented in hues of orange and bronze, canapés and flatbreads and puffed pastries...
... the lovely bridesmaids sit back and relax. Everything was as smooth as can be.
...and outside, the dusk rolls in.
The bride and groom are toasted...
....the cake is cut...
...the dancing begins. Marlo – grandson of the other friend here – obliges me with a dance and the evening rolls forward with great merriment...
I take a last handful of photos, including of Marlo and his mom, and Marlo with his mom, dad, his aunt, and grandmom...
...and of the fire tinted skies over Minneapolis outside.
... but soon after ten, I am ready to leave it to the next generation to party on. I go outside and think how best to retrace my steps, just as the fireworks end with a final big explosion...
An hour later, I am at the hotel.
On Sunday morning, I feel like one does after a party – in need of good coffee and protein. I walk over to Hell’s Kitchen for a breakfast of delicious eggs and fried potatoes.
And I take a closer look again at this city of glass and concrete – so incredibly vivid against the blue sky.
This is Minneapolis. The city that looks always fresh and solidly put together.
But, I’m ready to go home. Even as I wait at the curb and wonder how many more hours before a bus comes for us. It's going to be a very very long day.