So I am in Minneapolis. I bought a ticket last month to see Death Cab for Cutie in St. Paul and I wasn't about to waste my free weekend. So, money problems be damned! I can brave the big city by myself once again. And I have.
It's about an 8 hour drive between Dickinson and the Twin Cities, but it didn't really seem all that long. Boring, though, god yes. Once you get out of the more interesting part of ND and into the truly flat part-- sorry, Red River Valley, you suck-- it's a bore. But it was worth it. The concert was a good experience-- kind of strange, again, being there alone, but I don't think anyone really noticed, and who cares, honestly?
Death Cab is not my favorite band by any stretch, but I definitely wanted to take the chance to see them since, when I think about it, I realize I've been listening to them for years and years now. The first song I heard of theirs was "Photobooth" which my friend Sonia sent to me over AIM (AIM!!) and which I eventually put on a cd that I listened to as my family relocated to California. I didn't listen to them much after that, I thought they were too "scene" and that all of their music kind of sounded the same, even though I kept downloading their albums and sampling. Finally, around the time my family moved back to Texas and I stayed put, I started listening to them alot. I remember when things were weird between me and my friends and I just felt so lonely and unwanted and awkward around everyone and I didn't know what to do so I drove to the beach and sat there for hours one night with my ipod, listening to Transatlanticism-- which, by the way, is one of the most beautiful songs ever composed. That night a bunch of stupid kids were also on the beach, though far away from me, and they started to set off fireworks. After that, once things got better, I was working all of the time, but when I'd get off of work at 1AM and walk home I'd be so wired that I'd have to walk around a bit, mainly in the sketchy park across from my apartment complex. I'd pull up the Plans album on my ipod and listen to it for forever, just walking the park or sitting on the swings, thinking. "Marching Bands of Manhattan" I also associate so much with my last days at VC, when it started to feel dried up and hard to deal with, when most of my friends were gone or not around.
Anyway. So that's why I wanted to go to their concert. And it was lovely. Ben Gibbard is a very interesting creature. They didn't play sound of settling, or what sarah said, which was a bummer, but they played everything else that I wanted to hear. I was actually a little surprised at how emotional the whole experience made me-- I felt a huge jump in my heart when Gibbard started to sing "I Will Follow You Into The Dark." I full-on started crying at the end of "Marching Bands of Manhattan." And Transatlanticism was glorious. And the songs from their new album [WHICH THEY JUST STARTED PLAYING IN THIS COFFEE SHOP THAT I'M IN].
When you find yourself the villain/in the story you have written/then it's plain to see/that sometimes the best intentions/are in need of redemption/don't you agree?
Anyway. I've been thinking about Follow You Into the Dark and the new song, St. Peter's Cathedral. Gibbard is very anti-theist, which is strange to me, and is what, I think, gives his music such a passing melancholy. Not happy, not utterly sad. Yesterday I explored St. Paul-- I saw The Fitzgerald Theatre, the downtown, Mickey's (the famous diner of Prairie Home Companion, Mighty Ducks, and Jingle All The Way fame), the Capitol, and St. Paul's Cathedral, up on a hill looking over the city. It was the most beautiful building I'd ever seen-- I don't think I've ever seen a REAL cathedral, except maybe in San Fran, however this was HUGE and furiously gorgeous, not like any that I've noticed before. I spent a long time just walking around it and staring, and I couldn't help but think of Gibbard's music, "there's nothing past this," and what an incredibly different perspective that is from mine. If I really did believe that there was nothing past this, what would I be? What kind of person? I don't think I'd be writing beautiful music about it, that's for certain.
Anyway. After all that I went on my pilgrimage to find F. Scott Fitzgerald's old neighborhood, thanks to a walking-tour guide I found online (glory be the internets and phones with online capabilities), bought a cup of coffee, and wandered. The whole area is historical and well-preserved, so there are a bunch of gingerbread houses and amazing brownstones, all with their original style intact (or restored, I guess). I found his birthplace, a duplex-type brownstone which is now being used as apartments (CRAZY. Someone is LIVING there). It had a lovely front porch with twin hanging porch-swings. I know, obviously, that these swings were not there when F. Scott was, however from the looks of it there were some kind of swings. So I took the liberty of climbing the stairs and just sitting there, looking out over the neighborhood, rocking back and forth next to F. Scott's window. Did he ever do that, I wonder? How different did things look to little Scotty? After that I wandered a few blocks to the home that Scott's parents moved into after Scott had gone into the army. Another brownstone with the most ornate gutter/drainpipe I've ever seen.
The story goes that Fitzy met Zelda in Alabama while he was in the service, and they wanted to get married but she finally dumped him because he was a poor writer. Depressed, F. Scott came home to St. Paul, moved back in with his parents, and finished This Side of Paradise, his first book. It was in this house that he got the letter that he was going to be published, and he ran outside and into the street, telling all of the cars passing his good news. Of course this meant that Zelda would come back. And he wouldn't have to live with his parents anymore. He was 23. My age.
I got to see that house and that street. That was worth the 8 hour drive through nothingness, let me tell you.
So after all the fun in St. Paul I drove around for quite a bit in Minneapolis, getting a feel for uptown and downtown, located my hostel and my room which I am sharing with four other girls, one of them INCREDIBLY crazy and apparently perpetually drunk/a snorer. I got went to the outdoor sculpture gardens at The Walker art museum, I wandered downtown and went to go see Beginners at the local art house theatre.
This morning I dragged myself up after a night of strange sleep, hauled out of the hostel, and made a loop uptown then came over to Hennepin-- the "groovy" part of town, and am currently nestled safely in "Uncommon Grounds," one of the most famous coffee shops ever, apparently. And definitely the "hip" place to be in Minneapolis. Anyway. After this I shall hop on over to the city hub and say hi to the statue of Mary Tyler Moore, see the Guthrie Theatre, and check out the Old Mill. And eat, good lord, eat. This is a pretty fabulous city, however, I have to say, the drivers drive ANGRY and the people aren't the nicest you've ever met. Surprising, since I've never been disappointed by the Midwest.
I love living like this. I wish I didn't have to make money. I wish I could just roam around all the time.