Leo Tolstoy once said, “All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” It makes sense because both are ways of introducing immediate conflict, and we all know that you can’t have a story without conflict.
I don’t know if this counts, but this past weekend, my friend Cari came to town, and we went on something of a crazy journey around Minneapolis. It was pretty much the best weekend ever.
Cari arrived Friday morning. We walked around the ruins of the old Gold Medal Flour mill then took the train to Mall of America. It was cold, windy, and overcast, and hence the perfect day to spend at the mall. We had margaritas and Mexican for lunch then went shopping and found the dress I am more than likely going to wear for my wedding. We had three dollar beers for happy hour then saw the movie Gone Girl. We met Paul downtown for dinner at a Thai place, where we had a good laugh because I accidentally ate a hot pepper, thinking it was a bean.
Saturday, we woke up early, and Cari and I went to yoga class then came home and played around with inversions and arm balances in the living room. Paul fixed us lunch then Cari and I went for a walk on Historic Hill in Saint Paul. It was a quintessentially perfect fall day: sunshine, blue skies, brilliant orange leaves, and just enough of a chill in the air to put apples in our cheeks. We gawked at the turreted mansions on Summit Avenue and strolled past F. Scott Fitzgerald’s childhood home and the house where he wrote This Side of Paradise.
We then met up with Paul, and the three of us walked to 612 Brew in Northeast Minneapolis where we had one of the most interesting beers I’ve ever tasted: Indian Spice Ale, which was basically like drinking chai tea-flavored beer. We talked and laughed and tried to play 80’s trivia before walking to Sociable Cider Werks, where we drank hard cider and played cornhole. (Fun fact: in Minnesota they call cornhole “bags,” and they call Duck, Duck, Goose, “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.”)
We started to walk back downtown because we had bought tickets for a play at New Century Theater, but we realized that at this rate we weren’t going to have time to eat dinner and make the show. Luck was on our side, however, because a bus was coming down the street, so we hopped on, and magically this bus deposited us at the Whole Foods a mere five blocks from the theater. We ate delicious healthy things from the salad bar and bought adorable pink cans of Sofia Coppola champagne.
But we had dallied too long at Whole Foods, and now there was less than five minutes to curtain. Laughing, we ran through the streets of Minneapolis and arrived at the theater just before curtain. We had second row seats, and we drank champagne while watching Eating Raoul, a ridiculous but fun musical about a couple who resorts to cannibalism. Afterwards, we walked home and had popcorn, the most scrumptious pumpkin cake in the world, and an impromptu dance party in the kitchen.
In the morning, I drove Cari to the airport, and even though I had something of a headache, it went away immediately after eating a yummy breakfast of bagel with cream cheese and lox. As Paul and I cleaned up popcorn and deflated the air mattress, I marveled at what a perfect weekend it had been. We’d done everything we’d wanted to do, and everything had worked out perfectly.
It was one of the greatest weekends in history, and yet, I realize, it makes for a terrible story because there were no conflicts, no obstacles, and even running to make the play added to our fun. So Cari coming to town wasn’t the stuff of great literature, but once in a while I don’t mind not having a very good story if it means I can have such a great time.