I find something magical in driving. I’ll admit I was scared of it for a long time, panic attack scared. Okay, I still am sometimes, but it’s rare. The part I find magical is that driving fills in the puzzle pieces of the geography in your mind that being a passenger just can’t quite do. Something I do to occupy my time (and bring in a tiny, miniscule amount of money, ridiculously small, really) is mystery shop. As someone who works retail, I understand that I am the enemy. For anyone that thinks the state of customer service is in a downward spiral, I am happy to announce that I have had very little negative to say in my reports, and I’m always honest.
Anyway… Back to driving. These mystery shops often take me places I have never been before. Today my shop brought me to a section of Minneapolis called The Quarry. I’ve been to the Quarry before, but 1. Never been the one driving and 2. Never from my house. So I set off in the direction of St. Anthony Parkway, and began filling in those missing puzzle pieces.
(Bridge over the railroad on St. Anthony. Photographer unknown, picture from Bridgehunter.com. If I’d thought I was going on an adventure, I would have brought the new camera The Hippy memoed for us to play with and maybe someday buy. Maybe.)
To start, the Parkway, as parkways often are, is a different world within the city. I often find myself awed by parkways. Maybe it’s just a Minneapolis thing, I don’t know. But I can’t think of any other place I could drive and see a man shooting arrows at haybales while his baby sits in the carrier at his feet. After leaving St. Anthony Parkway I hit Central Ave. Immediately the pieces fell into place. A friend and I had driven this road after the 35W bridge fell into the Mississippi in an attempt to get to Crafty Planet. While we did eventually make it to CP, it wasn’t without a few U-turns. Next I hit 18th which would eventually take me to The Quarry. After leaving my mystery shop, I realized that on 18th I passed through the Johnson St. intersection. Johnson street is the new home of Crafty Planet, so I made a detour and stopped into the shop. I was now off course, and I had two options: Go back to 18th, or (smarter milage-wise, but riskier since I didn’t have directions) keep going NW until I hit Central again. I picked the later and was rewarded.
I refuse to believe that Minneapolis is the only place one can go to take oneself off their usual path and go exploring and learning more about the geography around them. Take a road you haven’t taken before. If you don’t turn yourself around too much, remember that no matter what road you’re on, so long as you keep heading in the general direction of your destination, you will eventually find something that is familiar. In the meantime, enjoy the view and the learning experience. And then stop to get some ice cream, because no matter what you’re doing, ice cream always makes it that much better.