Friday, October 2, 2009

Adventures in Minneapolis

Took the bus to work again. I'm wussing out in the mornings with a 20% chance of precipitation in 45F weather. How exactly do I think I'm going to adjust to biking to work in the snow and ice?

One funny thing happened on the bus: the 4 bus runs up Bryant, turns right on 31st St, then left two blocks later on Lyndale and takes that into Downtown. There's a bus stop just at the corner of Lyndale and 31st, so the bus driver has to pull over immediately after turning to pick up anyone waiting there.

There was a very intelligent-looking young woman at that bus stop this morning. She had long natural hair twisted up and pinned in a loose, attractive style, librarian glasses, a long wool coat, and a certain knowing half-smirk on her face. Something about how she carried herself suggested that she was very into women's issues and was probably very fond of a South American nation or two.

However, she wasn't immediately apparent. She was hiding behind the bus shelter while waiting for the bus, so the driver never saw her and sailed on past. She flung up her arm and trotted up the sidewalk in shoes that were not designed for running, and a young woman in the back of the bus hollered for the bus driver to stop for her. He did, in fact, to my surprise, and the educated-looking woman clopped up and caught her bus. She sat a few seats up from me, and a homeless woman behind her made a big deal of letting the young woman know that she was the one who told the bus driver to pull over for her. This, of course, was not true at all.

The young woman thanked her. "I was waiting there for ten minutes!" she said. "I couldn't believe he just blew past me like that!" Apparently, whatever she might know about women's issues or Brazil, she had no grasp of perspective. Because she was obvious from one direction of traffic, she assumed she was obvious from all directions of traffic and could not conceive that a bus coming from the south could not see her standing on the north side of a bus shelter.

So I saw this taxi driver pulled over by a cop. My first thought was, Holy crap, what does a taxi driver have to do to get pulled over? Because they're insane, they're reckless, and they're at the least inconsiderate. They're constantly running lights, jockeying between lanes, wedging themselves between cars and pedestrians. I could not conceive what over-the-top act a taxi driver could finally have performed to attract police attention.

Then it turned out the driver had some class of medical condition. When the ambulance arrived they hauled him out of his car and he looked dazed, gasping for breath, arms held stiffly to his sides and legs slightly bowed. He did not appear to have practiced a career of hygiene and proper nutrition, so I imagine his life finally caught up with him, whether it was a diabetic shock or coronary disease. An EMT got some defibrillator paddles ready as a peace officer steadied the taxi driver on his feet and led him away from his cab. But I kept on walking and missed the denouement.

Today I tried this ill-conceived Starbucks taste test, promoting their new VIA coffee. Heard about it on Facebook. I don't know what the salient characteristics of VIA are, and the taste test was haphazardly structured. I was given two small paper cups of coffee samples and I took my time sensing them: the cup marked with a X was mild and creamy, and the cup marked with an O was bright and tangy.

The clerk said, "Excellent! Now, which one is Pike's and which is VIA?"

How on God's green Earth am I supposed to know this? I've never had Pike's (and I don't even know what brand this is supposed to be) and of course I've never had VIA because it's new! Not only that, they're two completely different flavors, with only color and temperature in common. Guessing that the bright, sharp flavor might be a more popular, common brew, and assuming that Pike's is a popular (somewhere) competitor's blend, I supposed the creamy one was VIA and the clerk congratulated me on my success. I was awarded a coupon, which I would've received even if I'd guessed wrongly.

Great "taste test," guys. The difference between this and a tray of samples is that I got to hold up a line of paying customers while picking apart the flavors of each sample.

And over lunch I tried out a new place: Turby's Pizza, on the Skyway level of the Baker Center. It boasts being the only oven-baked pizza in Downtown, which I'm pretty sure is patently untrue.

Also, it's lousy pizza. It's just greasy with a tough, resistant crust and there was nothing noteworthy in its ingredients or seasoning.

It was interesting to note that the intelligent-looking young woman from the bus this morning was working the cash register here, though.



is there any decent food to be found in the skyway system ever?

i think the Pillsbury building had the two best, by far: the pizza place for which i cannot remember the name and Eddingtons, for the carbo-liciousness of beer cheese soup and unlimited breadsticks. i ate at both many, many times when i had my job with Hennepin County.

Marina said...

I wonder, sometimes, that anyone catches a bus in this city at all. It seems like the bus shelters and associated trash receptacles and free circular boxes are placed precisely such that the most comfortable, out-of-the-way place to wait for the bus is also the most invisible.

Christian said...

BATTLEFINCH: Oh yes, plenty of good places! Tensuke Sushi was good, but now they call themselves by a different name. There's a Sawatdee with a limited menu down the hall from that. And I love Potbelly's loaded oatmeal on certain mornings.

Marina: It would not take much for a city planner to look at a potential bus stop and figure out which way the shelter should face, or consider where people are supposed to stand. Also, there shouldn't be anything blocking people trying to leave by a bus's rear door.

Cinamingrl said...

I don't believe that one can be able to tell how intelligent a person is by their looks. I've seen some really scroungy looking men who are scientists with Phd's. I think that some people are very good at creating a certain look, that says "I'm smart."

Christian said...

That's very true. It would have been more accurate to say "her lips reminded me of a smart person I once knew," and not "her lips impressed me with her intelligence."