A man was waiting in line to make a purchase when another person cut in front of him to pay for his own products. The man in line told the person to please wait for his or her turn. The man walked toward the door to leave after paying for his items, at which point the other person followed him. The suspect then hit the man in the face and said, “Don’t tell me not to butt in line.” Store employees broke up the fight.
In January, I posted about finding my notes from apartment hunting in Minneapolis. Since then, I’ve been thinking about some of the high(low) lights of living in the apartment that was the result of that search.
The apartment was located above an establishment called Bryant Lake Bowl. Establishing shot:
Usual reaction from people: “You lived above a bowling alley? Wow, that must have been noisy.” Yes! But not because of the obvious reason. There is a small theater space connected to the restaurant/bowling lanes and, when I lived there, the person who booked the space had a predilection for hip hop.
I continue living the book Inspiration Sandwich by investigating the concept of Miracle Walks.
Miracle Walking is walking while being hyper-aware of everything around you. It’s saying hello to people. Not being in a rush. Checking out the sky.
SARK says, “Bring a small bag packed for extraterrestrial travel. Wear a brightly colored hat and pick a destination that delights you… Notice colors. Dream while moving.”
Note: You can skip the brightly colored hat. No, really.
I already walk everyday in every kind of weather. This is because I co-habit with a dog:
This dog walks twice a day. When she was a crazy puppy, we trained her to want to walk and now that’s what we’re stuck with twice a day. But, since I walk everyday, I often do it without actually noticing anything at all.
So my mission was to go on some Miracle Walks. This also fits with SARK’s mandate to “Let your dog take you for a walk.”
I came across some notes I made in 1999, when I was still fairly new to Minneapolis and looking for an apartment to live in on my own. I’d spent the first 6 months in town living with my sister and brother-in-law, and patience on all of our parts was wearing thin, so I was looking for some Single Gal Freedom.
Here is a transcript of my notes. If you live at any of the addresses I insult below, I’m sorry you have to live in such a terrible place.
Oh, I almost forgot a very important detail. These notes are in a spiral-bound notebook with a black-and-white photo of a cat on the front. Well, rather than describing it, I’ll show it to you:
The only thing worse than using this notebook then is that I recently found it in a drawer, realized it had a lot of paper leftÂ in it and started using it again.
$10 month/cat [Note: I had a cat named Ella. A very bad cat.]
$30 application fee
$510 security dep. (one month rent)
Alarm systems installed.
Grand Lake Apt.
[Note: Interestingly enough, I drove by this building with my sister and she forbade me to actually look at the apartment, declaring it unfit for a single woman living alone. She meant that it seemed sketchy. About eight years later some friends of ours moved in to this same building and my husband helped them move a piano up two flights of stairs. They did not seem to be aware that people are in the business of moving musical instruments of this size professionally.]
2 1/2 story, 10 unitÂ Â Â $460
1828 Columbus Ave S
Extra large 800 sq. feet
3 arched openings, 2 china hutches
panel mahogany doors
floor to ceiling
[Note from 2012 self: when can I move in?]
Grand Avenue 1 block
323 W 31st Street
1/2 mile to Lake Calhoun [might as well be 20 miles]
sewer, water, trash, heat, laundry
[Yes, again with this apartment. I don’t know why it is written down twice. It must have been like forbidden fruit to me.]
3404 Emerson $500 MAYBE
3236 Garfield $559 NASTY
2621 Pleasant $535 BRICK BUILDING NOT BAD
2621 Pillsbury *** OK
19xx Ridgewood Ave South $550 ADDRESS??? COULDN’T FIND
Aldrich & Franklin 1 BR $475 NO SHOWER
James & 31st small 1 BR NICE STREET/HOUSES/LAKE
Final note: I did not live in any of these places. No, I opted to move into an apartment directly above Bryant Lake Bowl. Yes, this was a huge mistake. Yes, I thought I was being incredibly urban and hip.
I may be urban (but the older I get the more I suspect I’m not; I was raised in the country and it seems that, at some point, I will make my return) but I have never been hip.
To give you an idea of my lameness: there was a video store on the corner of Lake & Bryant at the time, which IÂ also lived directly above. I rented videos there. I would have to pass their door everyday in order to go anywhere and yet I racked up so steep a late fee on rented videos that I was no longer able to rent there unless I paid it off. I felt I could not afford to do so. I was no longer able to rent videos at the store right beneath me.
The Buddha is serene even in the most difficult of circumstances:
Like, for example, being trapped in a crate. OK, so this truck has been in my neighborhood for months now with a beautiful Buddha statue crated up in it.
I’ve been walking past it since at least February. Originally I thought they must be waiting for spring so they can place it somewhere outside. Nope. Still a crated Buddha. At some point I would feel horrible aboutÂ leaving it in there so long but the Buddha doesn’t seem to mind. He sits calmly, patiently waiting. I’m sure he’s living in the moment, not all caught up in what the future may hold for him.
This morning I saw that there was a note stuck in the door handle of the truck (you can see it in the truck photo). It said, “Wanna sell your statue?” and then there was a phone number.
So I’m not the only one who has become impatient. Now the drama deepens as I wonder if the owner will, indeed, sell the statue. For how much? It’s very large. I would imagine it’s worth quite a bit. Where did they get it? When I took the pictures I stared up at the house. Nothing stirring at 9:30 in the morning, all the windows are covered with colorful sheets. Huh.
For some reason the truck makes me think of a Buddhist Sanford from the TV show Sanford & Son, driving around the neighborhood collecting junk in a very zen way. This makes me happy. Would he say, “Ooh, Lamont, this is the big one. It’s the big one but it’s OK. Pain is unavoidable but suffering is optional!”
If you don’t know anything about Sanford & Son, that joke is totally lost on you.
I think more people need the Buddha in their lives, caged or otherwise. I’ve had some weird run-ins with strangers this past week that have reminded me how lonely people are and how desperate they are to assert their worldview onto others so as to make everything OK.
The first encounter involved a man at a resale/antique shop. I was browsing around, as I’ve been known to do, and he was looking at the Coach bags the store sells. Now, whether these bags are really Coach is anyone’s guess – I have no interest in expensive purses, real or fake. But he was obsessed with them. He kept asking all the women in the store if women in general are still “into Coach.”
I wandered off to the back of the store but it wasn’t long before he caught up with me and asked me my opinion of Coach bags. I said I had no opinion. Then he started this litany:
“Look at all this crap in here. It’s sad. It’s really sad. Why even have a store like this? All this stuff should just be on eBay. You know what kind of people sell stuff at a store like this? Hoarders. You know what that is? I had a hoarder across the street from me, filled up his entire house and bought another one and filled that up. I called the city on him. I did. It’s just sad.”
In the middle of this oration, he let out a big fart and then continued talking, as if nothing unusual had happened. If that had been me, I would have at least had the presence of mind to flee in embarrassment but not this guy. He kept talking, telling me how everything in there was overpriced crap.
Now, I do wonder why I didn’t say to him, “And yet you’re here, aren’t you?”
Later, I wondered about why it was so important to this person to leave his home, seek out this store and then berate it to another customer who was just browsing around on a summer morning, for Christ’s sake. And I think it’s because people often want to spread their unhappiness around. They are also looking for some kind of recognition that, yes, the world does suck and it’s not just them. Except, yeah, it’s them. It’s each one of us who sets out to spread unhappiness to other people, like a plant trying to scatter it’s spores.
Encounter Number Two: Keith and I were walking home from a neighborhood cafe having a discussion about whether or not it is useful, in 2011, to learn Latin. As we were preparing to cross the street, a bus pulled up and a woman got off. She cross the street with us and then proceeded to walk, very slowly, ahead of us down the sidewalk. At some point I realized that she was eavesdropping on our conversation but I didn’t really mind. I would do that, too.
Then, when we had to turn off onto our street she stopped and said, “Excuse me but I’ve been listening to your conversation and I just wanted to say that Latin in very useful. It’s the root for most Western languages. My mother and I went to Europe and even though neither of us spoke another language, she was able to read and puzzle out a lot of things because she studied Latin.”
We were kind of unsure about whether we should stop walking and take up this debate. She was standing there looking at us so I said, “But it’s not conversational. That’s my point. Who can you talk to if you speak Latin?”
“Other people who speak Latin,” she said.
Does that not make my point? No one speaks Latin anymore! So if you go to Mexico or France, hooray that you can speak Latin but try asking for the bathroom. Would you stand there saying, in Latin, “Does anyone around here speak Latin?” I said as much to her and then turned around to keep walking and she stood on the street corner and shouted something at us.
Shouted at us! Over our conversation that she listened to without being invited in! And she was wearing Birkenstock sandals and carrying a bag from Michael’s craft store that probably contained yarn for some knitting project she would complete while listening to MPR. Only in South Minneapolis.
But she had to be right. Even if nothing was at stake, she had to shout some opinion at us. Did she think that we would come back and say, “You’re right. We were soooo wrong about Latin.”
Reading: Finished Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill, a book about Sara and Gerald Murphy and their time in France in the 1920s and 30s; currently reading Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss, which is an amazing graphic novel. I highly recommend reading it – it’s interesting but also beautiful and tragic, particularly the artwork that goes along with the story. The coolest thing: last night after reading it in bed I put it down, turned out the light and realized that the cover art glows in the dark!
Watching: While suffering through a recent bout of stomach flu, I watched many strange things. A show on PBS about a guy who hunts spiders and, when he finds them, breaks into a cold sweat. I watched a crew build a stone patio for a building show and realized how many steps there are to building a stone patio. I watched a documentary about screenwriters that reminded me of how shitty it can be to be a working screenwriter but at the same time its better than an office job. Or so they say.
Anticipating: Despite a lay-off do to aforementioned stomach flu, I’m going to run my first 5K this Sunday as part of the Twin Cities Pride Festival. The Rainbow Run starts at the Stone Arch Bridge and runs along the Pride parade route to Loring Park. I’ve never run an organized anything before except for track when I was in junior high and that experience kinda sucked. I’m hoping this will be much better. I’ll be the slow one at the end of all the runners. Then, that night, Derailleur rocks the Aster Cafe with two sets!
I started reading A Moveable Feast last night and it has set my brain on fire. First because I’ve had an idea for a series of funny shorts or “episodes” about Hemingway and Fitzgerald and I’m finding them to be just the sort of characters I imagined, with plenty of pathos and brilliance to play upon. But also because the book is quite the remedy for writing procrastination. Reading about Hemingway’s writing habits is both inspiring and guilt-inducing.
Of course, the world is a different place today than it was in 1920’s Paris but the fundamentals of getting writing done are the same. Have a routine. Have a ritual. Work just long enough that you accomplish good work for the day but quit when things are at an interesting point, giving you an impetus to show up at the page the next day. Then shut down that part of your brain and go about the business of living – go get a racing sheet, go to the cafes, get some exercise, look for good books to read and have a meal.
It sounds easy and decadent in a way – ah, the life of a writer in Paris. But underneath it all I suspect that it was a bit of a grind and plagued with self-doubt. This was before Hemingway had published a novel and was writing “journalism,” as he called it, and short stories. He read Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and supposedly was consumed with admiration and jealousy, knowing that he must attempt the same in order to move forward in his writing.
One a tiny scale, I’m having some of the same writer’s predicament. I don’t believe in writer’s block but I do believe in unhealthy, pathological procrastination and that’s what I’ve been experiencing. I’m within 20 pages of finishing a second draft of a screenplay that I believe to be good and interesting but I’ve stalled out. Every day I resolve to sit down with it and then find other things to do. Oh, the kitchen sink needs scrubbing. Time for a bike ride… For weeks I’ve told myself that it’s OK; that my subconscious is simply doing some “behind-the-scenes” work and it will all become clear soon enough but that’s a bunch of bullshit. Nothing will work itself out unless I sit there and stare at it, writing and deleting until something starts to stick.
I don’t know why I do this. I suspect it has a lot to do with the fear of failure. I already know that was was in my head when I started out is not what’s on the page and that’s a hard thing to reconcile. Why can’t the two match up? But that’s simply another fact of writing or any creative endeavor. They never match up. Or very rarely. Or maybe a scene or a page does and that’s all you get.
Often I’m puzzled by why people continue to revere Hemingway. Some of his writing leaves me not exactly cold but certainly cool. But A Moveable Feast allows a glimpse of vulnerability not often associated with him. Yes, he would stare out at the street and wonder if his stories would ever sell. Yes, he struggled daily with writing. But the heroic thing he did, more than the boxing, deep-sea fishing and African safaris was to show up, day after day, and keeping after it because it was simply his purpose in life.
Watching:The Larry Sanders show – started at Season 1 (1992) and moving along through the 85 episodes! Will probably break for third season of Breaking Bad, which came out on DVD on Tuesday.
Doing: Making a big collage and also screen printing a t-shirt (which will soon be featured on Not Shallow as part of 99 Projects). Also, taking a kettlebell class at Four Gates in Minneapolis – a relatively new studio with great instructors and a laid-back attitude.
Anticipating: Excited to see Midnight in Paris, the new Woody Allen film and to eat at Wise Acre Eatery in South Mpls!