Welcome to Friday, the day on which we ask ourselves:
Should we go out or stay in?
Would it be wrong to grind up the sleep meds and sprinkle them over soup, just to see?
What’s up with the guy down the street that keeps parking two feet from the curb?
And what about Naomi?
As usual, I devote Friday’s post to divining the future from the songs played during my morning’s commute (as reliable as any other source, including “making plans”) and telling a story.
You know. Basically just wasting your precious time.
But what does the iPod have to say about that?
Ballroom Blitz by Sweet
Conventional Wisdom by Built to Spill
Universal Mind Control by Common
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) by The Beatles
Woodstock by Crosby Stills Nash and Young
LDN by Lily Allen
That Kind of Man by The Heavy
Hmm. The iPod is murky today. Come back next week.
So! A quick story!
My downtown bus stop was moved recently from Nicollet Mall to Hennepin Avenue, a street known for figuring prominently in Prince’s movie “Purple Rain” and inspiring Tom Waits’ song “9th and Hennepin”.
Hennepin Avenue is an “iffy” place, a place with an upscale hotel that features a seasonal, outdoor bar made entirely of ice on the one hand and bars that feature transgendered folk lipsynching to Cher’s greatest hits and shouting at slow-moving vehicles on the other.
It’s a grittily friendly area, the average crimes being panhandling and visual assaults from dubious, toothless individuals in stained sweatpants and slip-on track shoes.
As stained and low-rent as areas of it may seem, however, Minneapolis cares about its downtown citizens and boasts a contingency of green-jacketed ambassador-style folk who give directions, pick up garbage, and offer general assistance.
They weren’t around in the 80s.
Hennepin Avenue in the 80s: The Replacements were at First Ave., wet tee-shirt contests were titillating the opportunistic, and the city had yet to start the “Block E” renovations that would transform the street from truly seedy to just mildly seedy.
It was in this part of the city that I had found myself following a job interview.
Nineteen years old, hair curled in a I-can’t-quite-get-over-trying-to-be-Farrah-Fawcett sort of way, I had borrowed my sister’s dress, a flowered, summery bit of happiness with cap sleeves, a belted waist, and a hemline that stopped just above the knee. My mother’s nylons, a friend’s high heels, and suddenly I’m Mary Tyler Moore.
I've wowed my interviewer with my ability to type 40 words a minute and speak goodly English, and now I wait on the corner, wait for my boyfriend to pick me up.
A red convertible pulls up. It is just past noon on a Monday. He is in a suit, possibly in his 30s, quite handsome.
“Hi!” he shouts at me, smiling.
“Hi,” I say, smiling.
“I wish!” I say.
“You waiting for someone?”
“Yes,” I say.
“Well hop in!” He pats the seat next to him.
I wander closer to his car, frowning, my head cocked to one side in unconscious imitation of my mother. He has a six-pack of beer on the floor of the passenger side. “What?”
“Jump in,” he says. “I can have you back here in under 30 minutes. You got somewhere we can go?”
What in the world was this guy talking about?
Simultaneous light bulbs appear above our heads. We stare at each other. In shock, our respective eyes widen, our mouths gape.
He’s looking for a prostitute.
He’s found a teenager.
“Oh my God,” he says, and he tears away from the curb and through a red light.
I pull my compact from my purse and look at my face.
Mistaken for a hooker, and then I didn’t even get called back for a second interview.
Sort It Out
4 hours ago