Friday, August 20, 2004

Minneapolis III blog.

August is a good time to visit Minneapolis. Just this week I had the opportunity to do a fair amount of walking around its downtown -– had to walk around, especially on Wednesday, since I was going from meeting to meeting in pursuit of that thing that we call a business trip. It was mostly sunny and in the low 70s F., which I understand is cool even for Minneapolis in August, but no one seemed to mind. Minneapolitans take to the streets of their downtown on an August weekday, out and about, greedy for the warmth of the air before the door slams shut on summer (even a cool summer), giving the place a lively air that some other Midwestern downtowns don’t have –- St. Louis or Indianapolis or Detroit especially, just to name some others I’ve been to recently.

All together, I had about 48 hours from the time ATA brought me to the Twin Cities until that airline took me home again. Divide that time-pie into three parts: work-related; sleep; and other. Never mind the first two. It’s the “other” that concerns me here.

Besides spending a lot of time downtown on foot, I also got a chance to see a couple of wonderful buildings -- along with the usual architectural dreck besides -- have lunch al fresco in one of the wealthiest parts of the metro area, have dinner at the nation’s number-one tourist attraction (go figure), visit Al’s Farm Toys, sit as close as possible to the Minnesota Twins dugout without actually being a ballplayer for that team, and talk to an elevator operator -- a member of a storied profession that barely exists any more.

But last things first. On the flight back home yesterday, there were a mother and two children in the row behind me. Though I’d didn’t get a good look at them, I think the kids, a boy and a girl, were between about 6 and 8. The mother mentioned to the flight attendant that this was their first airplane ride. The kids were audibly excited about this in a way that’s hard to imagine for someone (like me) who isn’t even able to remember all the flights he’s taken.

We were delayed in taking off, and this caused a little consternation for the kids, but when the time came at last, they shared a running commentary with nearby passengers. “Wow, we’re moving!” “It’s getting faster and faster,” “Here we go,” “Wow,” “Cool!” “Look at that,” “Oh my gosh!” I suppose their mother had told them not to behave like idiots, so they weren’t screaming, fortunately, and the running comments didn’t bother me at all (I can’t speak for the jaded-looking soul next to me, however). As we went along, they pointed out other things -- "We're over the clouds." “Is that Chicago yet?” “I see Chicago.” “That’s the big lake.” “We’re going down!”

At this point I could over-sentimentalize by gushing about the virtues of childlike wonder, but I think I’ll pass. A childlike sense of wonder is very nice, but it’s for children. In most cases I want a more experienced sense of wonder, something fitting for an adult. And sometimes I can muster it, even on something as ordinary as an hour-long flight between Midwestern cities. I seldom mind having the window seat (as I did on this trip), and if I’m not too tired or distracted, I’ll appreciate in my own quiet way the wonders of the rushing ascent, or the snake-like rivers, distant ponds, indistinct farms and other land features from miles up, or descent to the ever-closer ground.


Post a Comment

<< Home