Life is more fun and exciting when we move through it with anticipation. It is easy to get into a rut or a funk when all you have to look forward to is drudgery.
Jim was always the traveler in the family, and he was happiest when we had an upcoming trip. He would plan for months and pack weeks in advance. “I have to have something to look forward to,” he would always say.
Later, to make it through the caregiver years, I took Jim’s advice. I’ve kept up the habit of marking my calendar months in advance when I have an upcoming event or trip.
It doesn’t take a major event to give my spirits a makeover—I’ve learned to find joy in unexpected places. I spent last week in Minneapolis for a benefits conference which is held in three or four different locations throughout the year. Minneapolis isn’t the most popular location, but it is the one that worked out for my schedule. To sweeten the deal, my co-worker and I went online and found tickets to “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Guthrie Theatre.
With the extensive traveling I’ve done throughout my lifetime, I had not once been in Minnesota. As the plane came in for a landing, the thing that caught my eye was all the lakes. It looked like every housing development was clustered around its own lake.
Our hotel was at the city center and Brenda, my co-worker, and I pulled our suitcases toward the exit with full confidence we could catch a taxi to the hotel. All the taxis were on the other side of the street behind a barricade. I had never seen a setup like that before. We found a policeman and asked him how to cross the street. If that doesn’t make you feel like a country cousin, nothing will. He called it “poor design” and we had to go back inside the building, down a level, cross under the street and then up a level to come out on the other side.
On the way to the hotel, Brenda asked the taxi driver where the Mall of America was located. “It’s the other side of the airport,” he told us. “It will cost you about $80 for a taxi from your hotel.”
How can you go to Minneapolis and not visit the iconic Mall of America? Isn’t that sort of un-American? Not to be deterred, we checked with the concierge, knowing that downtown hotels would not want to lose customers because it cost so much to get to the huge tourist attraction across town. Sure enough, he told us we could exit the hotel turn the corner, go two blocks and take the light rail to the Mall of America for $1.75. Much, much better than $80.
The best way to get to the Guthrie Theatre where the Tennessee Williams’ play was showing was on the light rail. We rode the street car known as Hiawatha to watch a “Street Car Named Desire.” The theatre was only two blocks from a Transit Station, and when the play let out at 10:45 p.m. we walked to the station. The trains passing by in the other direction were jammed with Twins fans who had boarded at Target Stadium. Before long, we hopped on and rode back to the hotel. Round trip equals $1, experience priceless.
We kept noticing a lot of young ladies wearing tiaras and beauty queen sashes. They were in town for the Queen of the Lakes competition and the Aquatennial Torchlight Parade. Before the parade, hundreds of runners participated in a 5k run. All this took place within a half-block of our hotel. I don’t recall ever seeing so many people run and the parade turned out to be the parade that never ended. Long after we were back in the hotel room we could still hear the pa-rum-pa-rum-pum of the high school bands.
As a bonus, the conference turned out to be one of the best I had ever attended. Interesting speakers updated us on all things benefit related.
While riding the light rail, we noticed all the people climbing on board with their suitcases to go to the airport. The train stopped at two different terminals, but a chart showed that we would get off at Lindberg to fly on Delta. Okay, we could take a taxi for $40, or ride the train for $1.75. It wasn’t a tough decision at all.
All in all, it was a great little break from everyday work. Having something to look forward to helps me wake up in the mornings and want to get out of bed. Having a good time and not breaking the bank, is a plus. Still, as much as I enjoyed it, a week was long enough and I woke up with a singing heart this morning because I’m at my favorite place—home.
copyright (c) July 2010 L.S. Fisher