This Labor Day weekend, I...
- Took in some local art of the political variety. (My favorite? It's a tough call, but I think I have to go with McCain and Obama as Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots.)
- Introduced myself to my neighbor's new attractive young roommate with the explanation, "Hi. I'm Stefanie. I'm not showered and stuff." (In my defense, I was outside working on my garage, but still. I am smooth.)
- Checked out two brand spanking new bars/eateries, like the trendy about-town girl I am not.
- Baked my first pound cake (and found that plain old boring pound cake can be tastier than I thought).
- Helped a good friend ring in her 34th year on the planet.
- Saw the sleepy city of St. Paul turn into a police state.
- Lost four pounds, despite the aforementioned new bar, new eatery, and pound cake, and the not-yet-mentioned butter-drenched gnocchi and mocha chip waffle cone. (I have no idea how I achieved this, but I have little confidence that it will stick.)
- Finish painting my garage.
- Have a deep, meaningful conversation (or any not-so-deep but meaningful non-conversation) with my neighbor's new attractive young roommate.
- Eat more than one serving of fruits or vegetables on any given day.
- Have a drink with Jon Stewart. (He is totally in town, though. I am listening to him mock Minneapolis as I type.)
- Attend the concert I had a ticket to, thanks to the aforementioned new-formed police state.
That last bit possibly warrants more explanation, but suffice it to say that the riots you probably heard about during yesterday's protests at the RNC site led Security to block every street into downtown St. Paul from both pedestrian and vehicle traffic, thereby preventing me and my friends (and presumably hundreds of other concert-goers who had similar problems effectively communicating an earlier meet-up and departure time with their friends) from reaching nearby Harriet Island in time for the show. And far be it from me to say anything disparaging about stone-faced, burly men in protective riot gear wielding wooden sticks and tear gas, but those particular SWAT team members? NOT HELPFUL. To wit...
Us: "How can we get through?"
Not helpful guys with sticks: "You can't."
Us: "Well, how can we get to Harriet Island?"
Not helpful guys with sticks: "We don't even know where that is. We're not from here."
Us: (Pointing a mere ten blocks in the distance) "It's that way. Is there any street that's not blocked?"
Not helpful guys with sticks: (Pointing to their right) "Go three blocks that way."
(Upon arriving three blocks that way and meeting yet another set of men in bullet-proof vests and helmets wielding wooden sticks...)
Us: "Isn't there ANY street where we can get through??"
New set of not-helpful guys with sticks: (Pointing to their left, the direction from which we just came) "Three blocks that way."
At the risk of typing something entirely insensitive and inappropriate, can I just say that if this same level of genius and helpful concern for the local residents was in effect in New Orleans a few summers ago, it's no wonder that scene was the well documented fiasco it turned out to be? Nevertheless, SWAT Team: 1, Us: 0. We gave up and went out for late afternoon drinks instead. I will have to catch Billy Bragg next time he's in town. Meanwhile, to the RNC Security staff, I would like my ten dollars back.
Based on yesterday's experience, I'm not so sure our plan to infiltrate the Republicans where they're drinking will actually happen this week, but I'll be sure to keep you posted if it does.
So. What about the rest of you? Seen any good riots lately?