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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Escape Routes

I don’t know what it is, but I’m always looking for a way out.

This is not to say that I’m trying to get out of doing something – although that is certainly possible! I'm just looking for the exit. I’m scanning the area for something heavy to throw through the window should, for example, my desk inexplicably start on fire.

I’m wondering, if the car ahead of me should suddenly slam on its brakes, could I put my car in the ditch without rolling it?

There’s usually a way out, if you look hard enough.

Which brings us to the state of the Minneapolis skyways during the month of December.

Do you know about the skyways? Smartest things ever.

Minneapolis, specifically, is a lovely city of parks, trees, and medium-sized buildings nestled in the United States’ Upper Midwest.

Minnesota, in general, was once a small part of Lake Agassiz, a shallow and reportedly tropical lake of enormous proportions but is now the home to 10,000-some much smaller, cooler lakes and a variability in weather that will make a cruel joke of your wardrobe.

Ready to go outside? Not so fast there, Missy. I don’t think you’re dressed for it! Me? Well, today, for example, I am wearing woolen leggings (from the ankle to mid-thigh), a tank top, a cashmere cardigan, a corduroy jacket, the usual undergarments (rubber pants, ace bandages and tin-foil-lined wig), three pairs of pants, socks and shoes.

OK. So I’m exaggerating about the pants. I am not wearing three pairs of pants.

It just looks that way from behind.

Which brings us back to the skyways.

The holidays are upon us, and the shoppers are here.

The skyway: the internal, second-floor glass pipes spanning from building to building, a veritable Habitrail of humanity, has been clogged with shoppers.

The shoppers, in from the suburbs, from the looks of things, have loaded up everything they need, may need, or wish they’d brought along last time they shopped downtown and are doing a tour of the skyways with it.

Let’s see: we got the stroller, the kids (Kourtney, Kaylee, and Hunter), all the coats, scarves, and mittens they own, their backpacks, and Zip-Loc baggies of Froot Loops and cheddar-flavored crackers shaped like fish for snacks.

They’ll be going to the 9th floor of Macy’s for the Christmas display (A Day In The Life Of An Elf), to the 12th floor for lunch, and then they’ll shop until the Holidazzle Parade, the opportunity to stand outside after dark, freezing the end of your nose while people whose noses are also freezing go by on floats.

But first! It’s time to stand in the center of the skyways.

What is it that’s so hard to understand about the skyway? You walk on the right. You don’t stand in groups in the center of it, nor do you stand in doorways. You don’t walk five people abreast. You don’t stand in line at Starbucks and wonder aloud about what you want when there are 20 people in line behind you. You don’t point and stare at the young male dressed in short-shorts and fishnet stockings.

He’s a freak; but he’s our freak.

And thus, the importance of an escape route. And this one has me flummoxed.

That’s right. I’m flummoxed.

One can’t avoid going from building to building, especially during the lunch hour and especially when it seems one can’t be bothered, these days, to pack my – uh, one’s lunch.

Insert resigned sigh here.

They’ll all be gone in three weeks. It’s good for the economy. These are my fellow humans, and I love them.



Comedy Goddess said...

Did you say flummoxed? I love that!

Great post :)

Braja said...

She said flummoxed. Only Pearl can write a post with flummoxed in it.

I miss you Pearl. Wait...we've never met.

No wait...we've never been apart since we met.

I'm confused.

Steve said...

Risk assessed lunchtime shopping. I like it!

The Grandpa said...

You need some people buster to break up those nasty clogs in the skyways. Great post.

I was truly impressed by the skyways when I was in Minneapolis years ago for a conference in March. I registered too late so I couldn't get into the conference hotel and had to get a room several blocks away. March in Minneapolis is not fun, I have to say, and I went there from New Hampshire I have to say. The skyways, I thought, were the best thing since blueberry jam.

Ann's Rants said...

ahhh, yes, if only Madison had skyways. I will say how disconcerting it was--when using skyways on business--to find myself walking through department stores en route to my Very Important Meeting. Love your writing.

SassyTwoSocks said...

Maybe you were a spy in a past life. they are always looking for exits and escape routes.

Barbara Blundell said...

Can anyone have a'skyway'? They sound wonderful. I would like one to my shed for when I go dyeing on a wet day. If it was successful I wouldn't mind an extension across the field to the Sport's Centre if it wouldn't cost too much.

Pearl said...

Hi, Comedy Goddess.
I said "flummoxed" and I stand by it. :-)

Hi, Braja.
:-) YOU'RE confused?! I nodded in agreement throughout your comment!

Hi, Steve.
It's all about what you're willing to put up with.
Nasty little consumers taking up space and buying the things I was meaning to buy...

Hi, The Grandpa.
They are wonderful inventions and I hope whoever came up with them was given a very nice treat for having done so.

Hi, Ann.
Thank you for the compliment! And yes, the skyways take you from building to building and right through the scented and tempting heart of Macy's in particular.

Hi, Sassy.
I do suspect myself of having been something sneaky in the past. Perhaps a spy. Perhaps a Peeping Tom. :-)

Hi, Barbara.
Funny you should say that. My friend Kathy and I have a pseudo-plan to dig a tunnel between her house and mine (four blocks) and then a skyway linking her house to her garage, where we hope to add a second floor for parties and yoga practice.
I think the City will be okay with that, don't you?


Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

Yeah, skyways rock. Logjams or no, they beat the street any cold winter day.

p.s. I bet if you carried mace people would be happy to give you a wide berth! Good luck! ;-)

p.p.s. Thanks for putting the linky in your sidebar. You're sweet! And talented! And very funny!

p.p.p.s. I really talk with exclamation points, it's not just a written affectation. :)

Pearl said...

Hi, Amy!
Aww, you, with the compliments.
THank you. Really.
p.s. I, too, speak not only in exclamation points, but also with a ton of commas. Punctuation is what separates us from the animals.

KMcJoseph said...

Al Gore once said, "When the ice caps melt and the world is covered in water, only the people in the skyways will be spared."

Strange, cryptic, words. That should be heeded!

acute_disaster said...


That's by far the best word I've ever heard.

And, uh, I'm not sure that I know what a skyway is...I'll ask Jeeves. I haven't talked to him in a while.


acute_disaster said...

OH WAIT! Now I remember what skyways are.

I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed sometimes, so bear with me. It's okay.



Tami said...

Ahh...the Mpls skyways. I haven't worked downtown in years...but I remember it fondly...or not fondly. In any case...at least it's festive.