Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Sunday, July 23, 2006 Lost in Downtown. Again.
So I was just getting ready to tell you about my walk from my office building to my appointment with the speaking-study people, all the way at the other end of downtown. The walk itself was fairly uneventful. It was the end of it that got weird.
Because you know that piece of paper with all the information about my appointment? We'd rushed out the door that morning and I'd left it at home.
Still, I was confident when I left work. After all, I'd been here before. I'd done this before. There aren't that many buildings in the area I was headed for. And certainly the one I had been in the first time would look familiar to me as soon as I laid eyes on it.
Plus it was a nice walk. I actually hadn't been to this side of downtown since M. Small was born, and it's changed a lot. I spotted the new Guthrie Theater building, which looks like a cross between a supply freighter for an alien invasion fleet and an IKEA (if that's not redundant). I also noticed a big building that at first glance looked like a record store, but seemed instead to house some kind of large recording studio. I'd never seen that before. You miss a lot when you drive everywhere.
The only thing was that the walk was taking me longer than I thought. At 3:29, a couple of blocks away from where I thought I was going, I called Trash on my cell phone and told her I was about to go into my appointment. "All-righty," she chirped.
At 3:40, I called her again and admitted, "Okay, I don't know exactly where my appointment is." I had spend the intervening ten minutes reaching and then entering, one by one, a cluster of buildings that looked a lot like the one I'd gone into two years before. Alas, none of the people inside them seemed to know what the hell I was talking about.
This is when it's handy to be married to a librarian. She could figure this out, I just knew it. I could already hear her tapping on the computer keyboard in her office.
"Where's the piece of paper you got?" she asked.
"Useful. What about an e-mail confirmation?"
"They never sent me one."
"Messages on our voice mail?"
"They never left me one." Believe it or not, I could have thought of all this even without a librarian. But I guess they get in the habit of asking the obvious things first, because most of the people they deal with aren't as smart as me.
I told her, "I think the company is called Cultural Logic. Find their address. I'm going to try this other building and if it's the wrong one I'll call you back."
Wrong building. I called her back. So far all the Cultural Logic she had found was in Providence.
"I'm pretty sure I didn't go to Rhode Island for this two years ago," I explained. "In fact, I'm pretty sure I've never been to Rhode Island."
Trash did some more searching. Nothing.
"Okay," I said, "So find out what Cultural Logic in Minneapolis changed their name to."
"You don't have a phone number?"
"A person's name?"
"Part of an address?"
"I had kind of an idea that it was 1100 South Second Street, but there's nothing there but a parking lot."
"No guy there with a computer on a card table?"
"Cultural Logic! Go!"
Trash also suggested I call my Mom, who happened to be at our house taking care of a pinkeyed M. Small that day. I asked her if anyone had called for me that afternoon. It was now 4:00 and I was a half hour late, so it wasn't outside the realm of possibility. They hadn't. I considered setting her to look for the confirmation letter, but since I had only the vaguest memory of what it looked like and where I'd left it, it seemed like it would be poor form of me to ask.
The next time I talked to Trash, she still didn't have anything for me.
"I am so disappointed," I said.
"Dude, you have to give me something!"
"Besides the time and date? Sheesh, lady."
"This is so not my fault."
"I know, I'm kidding. Listen, I'm just going to try this one more building and then I'm walking back over there and we can go home."
So that was a whole other conversation right there.
Trash told me to return the call I'd missed from Febrifuge about our plans for the evening, and then catch a cab back to our parking ramp, where she would meet me at the car in ten minutes. Except that all this yapping had drained my phone battery, which died as I was dialing Feb's number. And Minneapolis isn't New York, as you will learn if you ever try to randomly hail a cab here. Ten minutes later I was still a ten-minute walk away from where Trash was no doubt sitting in her car, trying vainly to raise me on my phone. Of course as a backup, there was the God-voice phone in her rearview mirror, but…oh yeah, that was with her too. Pretty much, she could call herself.
This is also when I learned that in the three-and-a-half years since I got a cell phone, it has become very hard to find a pay phone anywhere.
The day, meanwhile, had gone from "nice" to "hot" and the back of my shirt was pretty much soaked when I finally made it to her building and tried her office from the lobby phone. No answer. Her cell phone answered right away, of course. I explained. She suggested I get my ass to the parking ramp, where she was waiting in the car. I considered calling the God-voice phone just to verify that, but it seemed wiser to just be on my way.
When we got home to find my mom and M. Small hanging out in the back yard, I tried to tell my mom the story.
"I couldn't find the place," I said. "So I called Trash, but she was no help at all."
Surprisingly, Trash didn't care for that version. But see how much longer the truth is?
After mom left, we all went inside to organize some dinner for M. Small. There in the center of the kitchen table was the confirmation letter. The phrase "Cultural Logic" was, of course, nowhere to be found on it. Out of curiosity, I looked at the address of where I was supposed to be, just to see if they had moved (which they had), or if I had even come close.
Oddly enough, I had. I had walked right by it, in fact. It was the big building that at first glance looked like a record store, but seemed instead to house some kind of large recording studio.
So the downside is that I missed out on $75 bucks, and Trash is going to have to do her who's on first routines with her rearview mirror for a while longer. But on the plus side, now when they ask me back again in two years, I will absolutely for sure know exactly where I'm going. posted by M. Giant 12:37 PM 1 comments
Dude, I know you're a Mid-Westerner, but if you're ever on the east coast, you really should check out Rhode Island. Newport is an awesome town: you can eat fresh seafood, down some great beer, get your palm read, buy some cute nautical stuff, and check out the amazingly vulgar displays of wealth that are "The Mansions".