For all practical purposes, he had.
My downtown driving instincts have gone from timid to bestial. Somewhere, Ducky is smiling. In this car, Smooth is hyperventilating.
Four blocks later, I find a choice parking spot a half-block from our destinations. Two bucks and hour ... but at this point, you couldn't pay me two bucks a minute to drive in this crap - and I don't think you could pay Smooth to watch me do it.
A credit card spits out a receipt for our dashboard, and just like that we're in Uptown Minneapolis. At best, Uptown Minneapolis is a vibrant and artistic community driven by diversity and the courage to innovate. At worst, it's a thousand of Mike Tyson's weirdest moments being played out simultaneously by a whole neighborhood.
It had been three years since I had categorically “hung out” in Uptown. Back in those days, I was living on a couch and eating a one-dollar order of mozzarella sticks for lunch at Liquor Lyle’s. Uptown reminds me of good times, but it also doesn’t.
My eyeshot is filled with pastel plastic sunglasses. Red pants occupy the sidewalk in droves. Beards, beards, beards. Uptown is a rare beast in that, while your curiosity compels you to admire it, you also kind of want to kill it and mount its head on your wall.
Logic is waiting for us in front of the Muddy Waters Eatery. Face is still parking.
I'M NOT TYPING ALL THIS AGAIN.
The HUGE Comedy Building is a block away. Face had the tickets, and the gentleman at the front desk looked it up on an iPad. While at front, we heard a Moped zip by with what sounded like a John Deere engine.
“What was that?” the desk beard said. I offered my above-stated theory.
“That sounded very Uptown,” I answered.
I’m pretty sure everyone in Uptown shares a collective hatred for everyone else in Uptown, regardless of how alike they all are.
A man with his arms stretched across the lobby sofa struck up conversation with me as we waited. The exact content of it got blurred out by
Looking back, it was an incredible exchange:
His dismissive retorts reeked of Uptown’s “Whatever, bro.”
“I just heard the guy behind us say he’s cultivated the best collection of pictures on the Internet!”
At the bar, Minnesota-based beers were highlighted on the chalkboard behind the barkeep. I had a couple bottles of John Henry 3 Licks, a good beer. He asked if I’d like my receipt e-mailed to me. I answered affirmatively, and he processed the purchase on an iPad.
The essence of cool is effortlessness, is it not? By that metric, the people of Uptown are causing a massive draft with their collective lukewarmness. The hairstyles you see in Uptown are the opposite of effortless; and outfits are so randomly-paired, they require weeks of premeditation. They care. They care a ton.
Uptown makes me look effortless, and it takes me 10 minutes to put my contacts in sometimes.
Uptown denizens talk about Uptown like it's their own person Hell when, in reality, there's no place they'd rather be. Their fictive makes a pestilence out of their peers when, in reality, 10,000 clones of themselves would produce the exact same atmosphere. But that's the fun of Uptown: You meander about the anti-establishment crowd in their establishment-produced kits, loathing themselves into Crayola chinos and itchy faces. If you asked them what they actually liked, you probably couldn't even get an honest answer.
Because they probably don't even know.