(Flying Out to) Minneapolis
(October 10, 1996, through October 11, 1996).

I also called Victor the night before I flew out; we had been in fairly close contact since Wiscon to talk about our similarities and differences (among other stuff) and we'd been planning on another conversation that night. He wasn't there, though, so I told Lynn the flight plans I'd never quite gotten around to talking over with him. I took a direct flight out the next morning, and had a fairly interesting conversation with my seat mate, who was on the way to a Parents' Weekend at her daughter's college. She'd heard about open marriage, but hadn't thought about it much and was quite surprised to hear that nonmonogamous relationships can be based around love rather than sex.

For my part, I was surprised not to see Victor at the airport, but I hadn't really confirmed that he would meet me, so I continued the conversation with my seatmate while walking her part of the way to her connecting flight. And decided to be much clearer about my travel plans in the future. I then went to the bus stop I'd discovered on my way back from Wiscon, and made my way downtown.

Minneapolis reminded me of Seattle in many ways. For one thing, I know that few cities cluster all of the tall buildings in their downtown core, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this design elsewhere for the first time. There were also several produce booths along one street where you could buy directly from the growers, which reminded me of Seattle's Pike Place Market where some families have had the same stall for generations. This was also a bit like Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue and the July Fourth celebration where I grew up the only other places I've seen vendors in the street. I did my part for the Minneapolis cash economy by buying a cinnamon roll to eat for lunch and a pound of Basswood honey to thank Lynn and Victor for housing me over the weekend.

Minneapolis also had the same Calvin Klein ads on its busses as Seattle but the downtown populace was dressed much more conservatively. And I had the sense that my usual costume of t-shirt over turtleneck was more than several folks knew how to handle although everyone was unfailingly polite. What's more, Minneapolis had such an oppressively wholesome aura about it that I found myself shuffling along with slower-moving people instead of cutting through them. And waiting for lights instead of jaywalking which I've done ever since I got run over while walking legally because I wind up paying closer attention to traffic. The total effect was like the Twilight Zone: familiar cues reassured me that everything was okay, but important details were subtly WRONG.

I went to pick up a bunch of bus maps from the transit center which used the front of a bus for a window and looked really cool and then I took a bus to Victor's house. Nobody answered when I rang the bell, so kept re-reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X until Victor let me in. I was quite impressed with their duplex: I've got a serious case of real estate envy anyway, but their place is nice and roomy, and they've done a lot of interesting things with it. Victor shortly went off to play some early TSR role-playing game, and Lynn and I had a brief chat she started taking apart her Macintosh to add in a new component, so I was left to feed and entertain myself. For the former, I made myself some "Austrian Style Noodles," a recipe from The Book of Ramen by my friend Ron Konzak; like most of his recipes, it's quick, nutritious, and tasty. For the latter, I called up an acquaintance named Steve Hayes. I didn't really know him well, but a mutual friend named Sharma Oliver had told me that he'd moved out to Minneapolis for some temporary work and asked me to give him a call while I was in town because he was a bit lonely. I got to know him a lot better during the ensuing long, enjoyable talk, and then I crashed out in the guest bedroom for the night.

Go to Part 6: Minneapolis and alt.polycon on Friday

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