Meanwhile, somewhere in the heart of a snow-encrusted Minneapolis, a lone woman, thoughtfully bug-eyed with distraction at the new operating system installed on her computer, drifts back to a simpler, warmer time…
It is July, and I am waiting for the bus.
Minneapolis in the summertime! Is there a sweeter place? Winter has come and gone, the last of the city’s monstrous top-secret snow pile, Mount Sears, swirling, clockwise, down the grates and moving south. Women in skirts, freshly freed from their layers, strut in heels, their naked knees blinking in the sun. Men saunter, sans snow shovels, heads bare, like seasonal parolees. Hanging flower baskets the size of kiddie pools hang from lampposts, a profusion of color and scent.
Above us, the sky is a deep blue of the postcard variety, a warm and endless expanse of giddy, temperate love.
Winter is over; and we are utterly grateful.
The bus stop at 7th and Nicollet is a bustling, ever-changing menagerie of folk; and at this time of day, primarily made up of nine-to-five-ish commuters.
This does not bother Stephanie, the Tattoo-Faced Woman.
Have you met Stephanie? Stephanie has tattooed herself right out of gainful employment. A slender, attractive woman with surprisingly little compunction against going door-to-door begging for change, she is often seen on her bicycle in my particular neck of the woods.
And there she is now, sitting on one of the large raised flower beds that populate Nicollet Mall. She is passing a joint to an Hispanic man with the build of a bowling ball and the secret smile of the Buddha. Next to him is a floor lamp, minus a shade but still sporting a light bulb.
He picks up the electric cord to the lamp, attempts to plug it into Stephanie’s ear.
And I laugh, too.
I am not wearing boots. I am not wearing a coat that reaches mid-calf. The weather today does not make my eyes water or my skin hurt.
And that is all that matters.
The bus comes. Smiling, I climb the steps, and move to the back of the bus.