Friday, July 20, 2012

Sleeping the Night Away

I had to fight myself this morning to get out of bed. All I wanted was to pretend that it was Saturday. Call in with a cold and treat myself to a 3 day weekend. But that didn't happen. I rolled out of bed 5 minutes before I had to leave. I'm really good at getting ready really fast. I was reminded of another time when I was supposed to get up early, but my body won over my mind that time. I did not get up.

I was visiting a friend for the weekend. I was going to leave the next morning while he was at work, so we decided that we would have coffee and hang out before he left. The next morning I woke up pretty late, and realized that the brat hadn't woken me up before he went to work. Conveniently, he got off work early and was back at his apartment before I took off. So I laid into him.

"I thought you were going to wake me up before you went to work? I thought we were going to hang out and I was going to get an early start on the road? What's the deal?" I said with self-righteous indignation.

"You're not serious, are you?"

"Huh? What happened?"

"I went into your room and said, 'Ben. Ben. Benjamin. Hey! Benjamin get up!'
'What do you want?'
'Hey, get up. We're going to hang out before I go to work.'
'Mmm...nah. I'll just sleep.'
'What? I made coffee! I thought you were going to leave before I get home.'
'I'll stop at the coffee shoppe and say goodbye there.'
'You'd rather see me for 30 seconds then rather than half an hour now?'
'Yeah...that would be better.'
'You're a jerk!'
'Haha! You're just saying that because you know I won't remember when I wake up.'"

That's right, folks. My sleeping self will tell you just how important our friendship is compared to sweet, sweet sleep. My conscience is definitely sleeping during these hours whether or not my vocal chords are.

Happy Friday, friends. Sleep well this weekend.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Baseballs in the Night Sky

I was at a baseball game last night at the Twins' stadium. I should probably say right now that I don't really get into baseball very much, but I like being there to watch the people. They are a very interesting subject while in baseball field.

During the breaks, as per usual, there would be shots of people in the audience displayed on the jumbotron. This was always accompanied by some form of dance music which most people, myself included, were grooving to. Not only were we slightly grooving, but we were also watching the jumbotron to watch other people groove. It was pretty groovy.

Every time. Every time when people noticed that they were being seen by the rest of the spectators, they stopped "slightly grooving," and began this sort of convulsion of their bodies just to let peole know how much they love being watched.

I chose the word "convulsion" deliberately. Wikipedia defines the word as "A sudden, violent, irregular movement of a limb or of the body, caused by involuntary contraction of muscles and associated esp. with brain disorders such as epilepsy, the presence of certain toxins or other agents in the blood, or fever in children." These people were convulsing. And it was hilarious.

Now, I also over emphasized the fact that it was every time someone noticed they were being recorded. That is not completely true. There was one woman who was sitting near one of the dug outs who danced like she just don' care. And the cameras loved it. I'm pretty sure she was on the jumbotron four different times. At least four. The first time, everyone around her went crazy and waved like you would expect people to do when their face was grotesquely magnified in front of nearly 40,000 people. By the last time everyone looked rather bored.

But that lady, whom the cameras couldn't get enough of, just kept dancing with no concern of who was watching her. I could see that she noticed her dancing on the screen, because she would glance at it. Her face gave a look that said, "I know, Twins fans. You wish you had no shame, like me."

That lack of shame made my evening in Target Field significantly more interesting.

Oh. I think the orange birds won the game. Orioles? That sounds about right.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Stormy Weather

    Raindrops hitting a tin roof while you're sleeping.
    Snuggled under a blanket, reading, while it's raining.
    Drinking something hot while it's raining.
    Waking up to morning rain and realizing you have nowhere to be.
    Sitting in front of a picture window watching lightning.

    There are so many negative connotations that get strapped onto rain, but these are the first few thoughts that pop into my mind when I see the sky clouding over, especially when we haven't seen the rain for several weeks. As it rains today, I can hear the dry, cracked ground refreshing itself with a cold drink. It's like soothing chapped lips with balm. It's the instant coolness that brings a flood of relief.

    Now, I understand why storms get a bad rap. Just take the Duluth flood, or when it downpours during a camping trip and everything gets soggy. Those two examples probably shouldn't be in the same sentence. One is devastating and the other is rather inconvenient. Nonetheless, the age old adage, "rain on your parade" was made up for reason.

    Just yesterday someone told me that one of the most powerful forces on earth is water and gravity. Think of the valleys and river beds that have been carved through the earth's topography because of a steady stream and downward movement. Entire civilizations have been built and have fallen due to their proximity to a river. My own city of Minneapolis is a thriving metropolis that survived years of difficult history because of help from the Mississippi.

    The amazing thing about weather is not only its incredible force. It's also the fact that in this age, we still have nothing by way of combating it or preventing it. We can be warned of it, but beyond that we just have to wait it out. Grin and bear it. Hope for the best, and deal with the aftermath when it's all over. We can sit in the picture windows and be awed by the lightening, hoping it doesn't come through said window and strike you where you sit.

    Maybe that's why we love talking about weather so much in Minnesota.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    Backwoods Barns

    Have you ever wandered through an abandoned house? There is an aura about it which makes the calmness heavy. The creaking floor boards cut through the silence and the shifting walls can unnerve you. Every step is accompanied with the thought, "Will this step be supported? Am I going to find myself in the basement with a broken leg and spiderwebs all over me?" Stairs are probably the most nerve racking. If the house is old enough, there's no telling how strong the steps are.

    I explored such a house a few years back. The front door was locked, but the side door was propped open. I didn't break in. It pretty much begged me to enter. I found old news papers and spilt paint cans. The ratty sofa looked like a comfortable home for mice. I thought I would check to see if there was any beer in the fridge, but was welcomed with a smell that would turn roaches away. I saw half empty ketchup bottles and Tupperware. I wasn't curious enough to see what the containers were harboring.

    Climbing the stairway to the second level, I noticed parts of the wall more faded than others. I assumed this is where the family photos hung. Maybe a degree from a pristine university. There were two bedrooms upstairs. One still had a bed in it and another had a mostly empty dresser. There was some cheaply made necklaces and a clothing magazine from the 50's. The carpet was tan with the smell of dust and age. The wall paper was peeling and tired of dangling from the wall. The little bit of glue that still clung to the paint was ready to give up the ghost. I went back downstairs.

    I saw the pantry with rice and other bags with holes in the bottom. To avoid having a small furry animal run up my pants leg and bite my johnson, I shut the door just as quickly as I opened it. I hadn't seen a mouse, but I wasn't in the mood to go looking for one. I went out to the barn.

    The barn was less than impressive on the outside. It was just like any old barn you would expect to see driving down a country road. Wait. When you're driving down a country road. Not the barn. The paint was chipped. The siding was coming apart. The shingles that were left on the roof were packing their bags waiting for the next big storm to take them away. Then I stepped inside.

    The first glance took my breath away. The air was heavy with the dust that doves kicked up when they flew from my arrival. The cracked siding was letting in the late afternoon sun. The golden rays sang through the stuffy air. There were old tools and tractors and hay wagons that sighed at the sight of a human.

    "Is someone coming to put us back to work? We've had such a nice sleep, it'd be a pity to go back into the field now. Not sure my gears could take the strain anymore" they seemed to say.

    The floors were littered with hay and chains. There was a thick layer of dust coating everything I touched. I could smell the left over stench of cows filtering in and out of the pasture door. Strolling in for milking. Lazily walking out at the end of chores. In and out. In and out. Day after day. More grass. More hay. More milking. Blasé.

    Within a couple of minutes I was coughing and sneezing. The joys of air-borne allergies. I headed to the shed.

    Inside there were boxes and boxes of old magazines and tape cassettes of bands I had never heard of. I think most of them were country western which I derived from the pictures of the singers. Nothing worth taking home. The tapes were all damaged from moisture and neglect. There was a big fur coat and a denim jacket. There were lamps and tv stands and an old radio and dishes. Everything you would expect to see in someone's garage in the late 50's. I couldn't get to the back of the shed because it was so packed with stuff. I could see a nest in the rafters right next to a wooden canoe. I wondered how difficult it was to lift the boat up there. It must weigh a ton. Then I started looking at the rafters and slowly backed away. Did you know you could start an avalanche with nothing more than a noise? I didn't want to test the theory.

    I'm not sure how long the property had been abandoned. It looked like there hadn't been anyone there in decades. It's astounding to think of how much space we have in America that we can have places where people just don't go. There's no reason to go there. I've been in areas of the world where people are stacked on top of each other because there's no room. They can stuff a family of eight into a two bedroom apartment without AC, but I think that's illegal in the States. We have rooms to spare in the rural regions of Minnesota. Places to keep our extra fur coats. We've got space, and we like it that way.

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Such Great Heights

    I was walking downtown Minneapolis with a friend. It was the weekend and we were wandering through the skyways. Minneapolis has a lot to offer as far as indoor walking is concerned. There are miles upon miles of skyways to explore.

    We were walking through one of the incredibly tall buildings, and I asked my friend if he wanted to see the view from the top of the building. I wasn't sure if going to the top of an empty office building was allowed, but as we walked past the security guard, he just smiled and said hello.

    We made it to the elevators and smashed the up arrow. The doors opened and we stepped on. We hit the lowest floor available on that particular elevator. Level 45. That should be good, right?

    The doors closed and my heart met my bowels. I have never experienced an elevator reaching speeds comparable to NASA's Explorer shuttle taking off. We got off on the 35th floor in a matter of seconds both of us swaying with dizziness.

    What we found was several hallways leading to doors of offices and conference rooms. We could barely see through the windows and felt rather cheated by the staggering heights we had reached.

    "Well. Shall we go down?"

    We smash the down arrow. While we waited for the car I looked at Justin and asked if he'd rather take the stairs. "Kinda..."

    "Going down" said the elevator.

    "Well, since it's already here..."

    We stepped on and my heart met my throat. I was convinced I had stepped on a death drop headed straight for Dante's ninth level of hell. When the doors opened again, one could have witnessed two quivering boys curled up in respective corners of the elevator, begging the carny to let them off. Thankfully, it was a weekend and people don't frequent their offices at that time. Dignity spared.

    The rest of the day was spent in the safety of window shopping from the skyway. I will forever leave high speed elevators to those who need cheap thrills on their way to work.