Friday, November 7, 2008

The Song Said Let's Be Happy

I don't want to overstate things. I have no interest in political messianism. And I know what the realities of public office can do to moments of possibility, glimmers of hope. I'm aware that these things are true. But this week, right now, I really would rather just think about how fucking awesome this is. I rarely make use of the diary function of blogs but some of the things I've felt in the last few days are just way too sweet to not record.

On the bus, early Wednesday morning: the light was thin and gray, the day was wet and cold but felt radically, beautifully new. Not that any extant problems were automatically solved but that, for the first time in years, I felt genuinely hopeful that maybe I could think of our time and place as anything more than a total nightmare. I thought of how wonderful and weird and unpredictable our country is; I thought about my friends; I thought about Abraham Lincoln and Sam Cooke; I thought about how proud I was that we could actually do something good. I felt (and still feel, I guess, when I think about it) really happy.

One beyond-amazing Minneapolis detail I want to leave you with. It was about midnight on Tuesday, post-chili, post-champaign, post-Black Eyed Pea holographic interface. Unable to resist the car horns and group shouts and popping fireworks and hi fives with strangers, my foxy co-conspirator and I took a walk. There were party sounds coming from multiple directions, but the locus of the noise seemed to be 26th and Lyndale. This is one of the more magical corners in our city, equally able to supply a body with used records, delicious muffins and serious, cheap intoxication.

So here's what was happening there: 50-100 folks of typical Uptown vintage--cycle hipsters, pink-dreaded, hemp-laden, culturally damaged, post-everything hippies, gutter punks and basically straight-laced grad students in full, celebratory uproar. Joyfully--chanting, singing, stomping, bikes and signs aloft--marching the intersection's full circuit. From the CC Club's southwest corner, to that shuttered building's southeast corner, to Treehouse Records on the northeast, to Common Roots Cafe on the northwest. Just basically crossing the street. With the light. Cops were on hand, but had no real beef since the throng were neither breaking any important laws nor significantly obstructing traffic. And when one driver did have to wait a moment to turn as the crowd filed off the street, he gently backed up and literally said "excuse me." He fucking apologized for almost interfering with a spontaneous street celebration. The whole thing was this beautifully raucous public expression of ecstatic politeness and rule-following. Living here can be just so hilariously awesome.

1 comment:

David Roth said...

I think that last detail is now my favorite single synechdochic detail about Minnesota. It replaces the Minneapolis episode of A&E's homicide-investigation docu-show "The First 48," when basically everyone interviewed by the cops in the episode somehow ended their conversations with the cops by saying "thanks."