“I watch another white dash fly beneath us”

15 Sep

Road Trip Journals Part One: Minnesota

If it had been daytime, my journey would have ended in the parking lot of a gas station immediately off an interstate exit.  Face decked out in mascara pinstripes from tears of frustration, I would have been sputtering out uncontrollable giggles as my friend Megan lovingly made my lack of navigational skills the butt of a constant stream of jokes.

Luckily for me, I entered the concrete labyrinth of the Minneapolis/St. Paul interstate system at 9:30 pm.  To my naive surprise, there was just enough traffic to make me a shaky mess as I tried to passively merge in and out of the various roadways, ramps, and finally exits.

Then, I got lost and had to have Megan retrieve me a mere five blocks from her house.  Considering I had driven ten hours before getting lost, I still consider this a win.

Megan, one of my fellow PCVs, and I got together while my host Megan was working on Thursday.  Starting with lunch at Joe’s Garage off of a gorgeous park in Minneapolis, we spent the afternoon walking through the sculpture garden and Walker Art Center then headed to REI to look at backpacks for our impossible packing situation.  I could rave about the Walker Art Center; two of their exhibits were phenomenal.  After studying time in my literature senior seminar, I’ve been fascinated by anything that deals with time.  So when I glanced up and saw the next exhibit Megan and I were about to enter, The Quick and the Dead, was all about the artists’ interpretations on time, I had to stifle a squeal of joy.  Among my favorite pieces were Francis Alys’ Paradox of Praxis 1, a video of his performance art piece of pushing an ice block around Mexico City until it melted into nothing; Adrian Piper’s What Will Become of Me, a collection of her hair, fingernails and skin in jars that will be joined by her ashes upon her death; and Pierre Huyghe’s Timekeeper, an abrasion to the wall of the exhibit revealing the successive layers of paint that have been added to the wall from past exhibitions.  

Working my way along this gallery I found a thick velvet curtain to what seemed like a small room.  A neat, white plaque was posted next to it reading “One viewer at a time.”  Already nervous from the gallery attendants that linger eerily close to you while you’re trying to think deeply about the pieces you’ve just paid to view, I hesitated to enter.  Curiosity piqued, I did the obvious thing — grabbed Megan and whispered a quick, “You go first!” as I shoved her toward the entrance!  When she came out the entrance and whispered back, “It’s great!” I pulled aside the curtain and slipped in before any of the hovering attendants could unnerve me.  I was greeted by an empty white room.  Perhaps twelve feet long in total, there was another tidy white plaque on the left side wall halfway through the room.  Looking around suspiciously, I approached the plaque slowly and read the title, “Suspense.”  Just as I tiptoed up, music started playing softly.  Attention focused on the plaque, I only slowly realized the music that was playing seemed out of an early black and white film.  Carried over into current films, what I heard was the sound of a shaking hand about to open a mysterious door, a shady figure approaching a lone preoccupied woman; what I heard was suspense.  I was tickled, and flashed Megan a huge, dopey grin as I scampered off to the next piece, struggling to regain my composure.

Another piece I adored was Robert Irwin: Slant/Light/Volume, a one piece exhibit that apparently had only been shown twice before.  Irwin’s piece is dependent upon the viewer.  I could have stood for hours striving to look deeper into the hazy space he sections off from the rest of the gallery.  The art center even offers mats at the door if you want to plant yourself and soak in your own thoughts.

That evening Megan and I met some future PC colleagues, Alia and Pat, for some last chance spicy Indian food since Ukrainian food seems…well, spice-less.  Each time I have the opportunity to meet volunteers I’ll be training with, the pride I have in what I’m doing increases.  These are some amazing, humorous, curious, driven individuals.  How can any of us not succeed surrounded by peers of that caliber?

Labor Day weekend was spent with Megan and her friends Dan, Miyan, and Katie at her lake house.  Saturday and Sunday were filled with warm sun and cool lake water, gooey s’mores, and dozens of reasons to laugh until my sides ached.  Plus, I got to try wake boarding:

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