The trip to Minneapolis was pretty boring. The radio gave me nothing to work with. But I was ecstatic when I realized that on this leg of my trip I would finally cross the Mississippi River. The physical crossing itself was quite uninspiring. I cruised quick over the Wakota Bridge just before the Cities. It was over in 10 seconds.
The Mississippi has been more than a physical boundary for me. It seems like an arbitrary accomplishment but it has been a strong personal barrier and rolling over it metaphorically dissolved many lingering, unhealthy psychological ties. I have broken this boundary that seemed so elusive until now and with it I visualized my freedom from my past like a string of yarn pulling taut to the point of release. I felt I finally had the space and direction to rebuild myself in my own image. I’ve drowned the aspects of myself that don’t belong to me and I feel clean.
I treated myself to a lovely hotel as I couldn’t find an available host. I definitely enjoyed a couple days of having my own nest to roll around in bed uninterrupted and take the longest shower I wanted without worrying about someone needing to get in. I still had a host to show me around though; my best friend, Jeanne, connected me with an old high school friend of hers, a lovely tall, dark and handsome man named Casey. We met as though we had met before and finished the conversation that had waited centuries to conclude. It was great to feel so at ease and oddly reconnected. I really enjoy when that happens. It reminds you of the mysterious synchronicity of life that makes everything work out just the way it’s supposed to.
I didn’t see a lot of the area but I did get to spend the first day on a free tour of the surrounding college art exhibits. The art world in the Twin Cities seems to be quite brilliant right now. I had the entire afternoon to float around on the bus, see some of the city, and enjoy the vibrant art scene. I really loved the exhibit at Hamdale that had a number of original Goya lithographs, naturally pigmented Jain pieces, a few Picasso sketches etc. I especially enjoyed the faculty section. John-Mark Schlink’s cathedral intaglios were wonderfully ethereal. I’ve added an image I found from the web here as photos were not allowed. This image doesn’t have the same feel as the original. The building was sketched as though it floats between our worlds, suspended and timeless and denying and affirming its existence. It’s an impressive emotion to achieve with such a heavy and exact procedure as intaglio.
Besides the art crawl, I spent the entire couple of days with Casey. We went out to dinner and had drinks at the Turf Club, a comfortable and fun dive bar with pretty decent music. The infamous zombie pub crawl was happening the same evening so they were a few zombies and other costumed characters mingling in the crowd. The next day we spent taking in the oddities at the Mall of America. We spent an abnormal amount of time playing in a really fun hat shop.
My last evening I accompanied Casey to a karaoke night that he ran at a small bar in Minneapolis. That was quite fun. I didn’t participate but I felt a very strong urge to. By the time I had consumed enough courage, I was far too drunk to carry even a bad tune. So instead, I put my efforts into working the small sloshed crowd and managed to wrangle up some tips for Casey. I was glad to be useful and for once I knew what it felt like to be in the middle of the show. It was new territory for me and it definitely didn’t harm my self-esteem. I made a number of very fun-loving temporary friends, some of which with quite talented voices. It turned out however that I did not make a very good designated driver so at 4 am with Casey’s drunken instructions we had a bit of a sloppy ride back to the hotel. But luckily drunk driving is in my genes, it was second nature and we reached our destination nearly seamlessly and unscathed.
Meeting Casey was really refreshing and motivating in a number of ways. He has a strong voice, literally and figuratively. His actual voice is very deep, comparable to James Earl Jones but he has cultivated an amazing range and can do a rendition of Smokey Robinson that is spot-on. I was inspired after the weekends events and his passion for singing to work out my own skills as I drove out of the city. I think I’ve always been too shy to be publically musical but honestly my voice isn’t bad, I’ve just never taken in that seriously. But I think working on my singing talents will connect my spiritual center more solidly to my physical body. I like this challenge and I’m feeling much stronger in that direction.
I was exhausted and ended up taking an hour and a half nap instead of a quick 15 minute snooze on my trip out of Minnesota. This meant I would drive the entire length of Iowa in the darkness. I couldn’t see much but what the moon lit up and the occasional field of invisible wind turbines that were only exposed a bit when their small red lights blinked simultaneously.