Sunday, October 07, 2007

VIEW FROM THE DRIVERS SEAT

As I mentioned, I am driving the 18 route for another week. Last week, I noticed what an interesting view there is along this route.

As I was driving out of downtown Minneapolis on Nicollet Mall, the mixture of people was very interesting to me. There were the yuppies sitting on the sidewalk patios having their overpriced drinks, the sign people sitting on the corners with their not-so-original signs asking for money and the teenagers with their pants hanging off cussing and running around like kids do. Mixed in all this were the cops that hang out, mostly on 7th street and the cabbies that apparently can't read. (I've noticed they line up by a restaurant near the hotels at Grant and Nicollet and are always lined up so far back that at least 2 of them are in the zone CLEARLY marked "no stopping").

Once I past Grant street, the scenery changed a little. There were the classy, sharply dressed gangs of middle aged white people going to the show ( Isn't it called Triple Espresso?) . A little further and you have to dodge the customers that hang out at the African coffee/tea shop on the corner. They seem to think crosswalks are just pretty paintings in the street. The whole idea of crossing at the corner when traffic is clear seems foreign to them. Maybe it is.

As I continued south, I noticed a couple guys standing near a bus shelter, but they didn't seem to want the bus. Then I noticed a guy laying on the ground who appeared to be having seizures. I pulled over and asked the other guys if the guy on the ground needed an ambulance. They said they already called one so I drove off. A few feet away, I started thinking maybe those two guys beat the other guy up and I was considering calling for help anyway. Within a block , I heard the ambulance and watched in my rear view mirror as it pulled up next to the guy on the ground.

As I continued my scenic journey, I approached Franklin and Nicollet. You are pretty much guaranteed characters here. There are drunk Indians on the bus benches. (I realize this is a nasty stereotype, but I am just calling it as I see it. If you prefer inebriated Native Americans...so be it. Heck, when I have too many, I'm a stereotype too...a drunken Irish chick. Deal with it!) There are usually a couple crackhead prostitutes stirred in with a few homeless people and a couple "normal" people that just want the bus to come so they can get the hell out of there. The REAL comedy is... they just built these two three story buildings at this intersection. They are expecting people to PURCHASE a condo and LIVE with this outside their door. There is a lovely view of the always busy liquor store and the constant entertainment from the characters on the corners. What more could you ask for?

Franklin is probably the most interesting corner until you get to Lake Street. What a view we have here. There is ALWAYS something going on. From the drunks and day laborers hanging out on the benches next to the Kmart driveway to the no-future-but-death-or-prison baggy-pants, crack-showing (and selling) gang bangers wandering around with no life and nothing to do but get into trouble to the honest, hard-working people just trying to get home before the sun goes down, there are always interesting people to watch here.

I used to wish I could get paid for people-watching.

I guess, in a way, I do.

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