People of the Minneapolis Skyway

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Skyway, downtownOver the past two months, I’ve noticed patterns people have while wandering through the Skyway in Minneapolis. First of all, as far as I can tell, Macy’s is the worst place to be between 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM on any given weekday. You basically have to walk through half of the second floor to get from one building to the next. Whenever you are in said department store next, picture hundreds of people rushing through the area in which you are trying to shop. Yeah. It’s like that.

But not everyone rushes. You will find those who are on their mobile phones. There are two kinds of these people. Those who are texting, tweeting or just surfing the web while they wander through the IDS Center. Yep, I’m guilty of doing that, but I stay to the right and try to keep up with the flow of traffic.

And then there are those who are actually using the phone as a phone. Of these people you will find two subsets. One is on the phone for business. These are usually the quiet ones. They are on some godforsaken conference call and decided to run to Starbucks in the middle of it. Hello, *6 to mute your line! The others won’t shut the hell up. They are talking to some poor soul who can’t hear them over the roar of people walking, ambiance music playing, and groups of Target employees having a mobile meeting.

Speaking of groups of people, you will see more of these folks as lunch time nears. Odds are they walk about 3 abreast and don’t move out of the way of oncoming pedestrian traffic due some subconscious psychological need to be the Alpha Dog in the group.

If you see folks wandering around in groups at other times, the odds are pretty good they are Target employees. Rarely will you ever see a lone Target employee wandering through the Skyway. I think it’s a corporate mandate…or something. Don’t get mad Target. I kid because I love you.

Then there are the people who walk too damn close to me because they have to put out a fire in their conference rooms. Seriously, back the fuck off or I’ll cut you. I don’t care if you need to get to Caribou Coffee before the next meeting about TPS Reports. I need my personal space so I know you aren’t about to steal my purse or worse.

I am still baffled by the random appearance of strollers. I suppose they are new mothers who are stopping by the office to show off their babies, but some of those kids look to be a good year or two old.

Did I mention one time I saw a train of toddlers once? Literally. About 10 -15 of them were connected by some jimmy-rigged green belt that helped to corral them throughout the Skyway. I suppose they were on a field trip, but I doubt they were over the age of 5.

It’s a jungle in there…

One of the things I like about Minneapolis is the Skyway. Why? Mostly because I don’t like to go outside. Plus, you don’t have to stop for traffic. Granted, today when I was starving to death and searching for food, I felt like a main character in a zombie movie. You know the zombies who move fast like a tidal wave of undead? Everywhere I went there were PEOPLE! Herds of them everywhere! I was constantly in someone’s way. It took all of my willpower not to “accidentally” punch everyone.

It’s possible that I’m PMSing, but odds are it’s just a reaction to high stress and low blood sugar.

Note to self: Stay out of the Skyway between 12:00 Noon and 1:00 PM unless it’s an emergency or you want to face your crowd phobia and possibly start randomly punching strangers.

IDS Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota The crazy thing is that 45 minutes earlier and later, the 2nd story pathways are practically empty. Thank goodness my job is flexible and I can go get lunch whenever. What really sucks is when I get busy and can’t get away to one of the five places I get lunch. I’m trying to expand my horizons, but I feel like I’ve found most of the decent eateries. Plus it seems like everything is laden with tomatoes, which are my digestive nemesis.

Then again, it’s possible that the people volume could get worse in the winter. I mean today was a pretty yucky day weather-wise, so people were scrambling for air conditioning. It was like a sau-na out there. And I don’t care what anyone says. 87 degrees and 63% humidity is just as shitty as 105 and 5% humidity. Dry heat, wet heat, it’s all crappy because I hate sweating.

It is however that time of year when school starts and everyone decides to look busy. I mean there aren’t any schools in downtown Minneapolis, but of course that doesn’t stop people from changing their routines.

Seriously, if it wasn’t for people, I’d probably be in a better mood.

Wandering the Minneapolis Skyway

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Skyway, downtownYou know why I love the Skyway?  Because it’s indoors.  I can explore blocks and blocks in the city of Minneapolis and never have to be subjected to dirt, bugs, wind, rain or ne’er-do-wells passing a joint around on a corner.  Yes, I saw that today as I was driving home.

Regardless, the Skyway reminds me of the casinos in Las Vegas.  Not because there is gambling and funny noises, but because you don’t have to go outside to have a good time and places are farther away than they seem.  I have walked more in the past two weeks than I did when I would do my silly circuit on Capitol Mall in Sacramento.

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With apologies to Petula Clark

Today I had an appointment downtown in Saint Paul.  The lights weren’t much brighter there because it was the middle of the day. And I certainly didn’t forget all my troubles or cares.

What I found odd, was that there was almost no one walking on the streets.  Sure there were a few sketchy folks wandering about…saying hello to me as I passed by…  They weren’t being friendly.  I lived in San Francisco long enough to know when a hello means hello and when it means someone is looking for trouble.

I just walked on the sidewalk to my destination, pissed off and making sure my face looked like I wasn’t going to take any shit as I clutched my purse.  Unfortunately, I had to have my phone out so I could figure out where the hell I was going.

I couldn’t park in the building of my appointment because the lot was full.  That didn’t bother me much.  I am used to parking challenges having lived in the Bay Area for 10 years. I parked in a building I thought was just down the block.  Of course, getting out of the building and to the street put me further away from my destination than I felt comfortable.

When I finally reached my appointment, cold hands, sweating from exertion, and slightly pissed at being in an area that felt about as safe as the Tenderloin or Upper Market (maybe I was being dramatic), I decided I would rather work in the suburbs than downtown.  I will work downtown if that’s where my dream job is, but I’d prefer the laid back attitude of the suburbs.  Plus, I could live close enough to work to have a short commute.

After my appointment, I noticed something in the elevator…a button that said “SKY” on the second floor of the building.

Intrigued, I pushed it.  If it lead me to a dead end, I would just get back in the elevator and put my “fuck off” face back on and make it to the car with the determination of my pioneer/conquistador ancestors.

The doors opened to…a shopping mecca. It was FILLED with people.  People who in every other city (at least on the West Coast) would have been at street level, wandering about in search of their coffee, lunch and/or business meetings.

Notice how few pedestrians are on the sidewalks.

Notice how few pedestrians are on the sidewalks.

In a daze, I remembered my Dad telling me about this place called a Skyway.  Some mythical place that included an interconnected series of walkways to various buildings.  I was nothing like I imagined.  It was freaking awesome!

Slowly, but surely my problem solving abilities returned to my awareness.  I found a map.  It had the building on it where I parked.  I didn’t have to go back downstairs to street level and face any likely imagined fear of being mugged.

After my Skyway experience, I began to wonder about the food trucks.  If most people downtown are wandering around on the 2nd floor, where do the food trucks congregate?  I know they probably only operate in the spring, but I still wonder.  Do people leave their wonderful tubes and meander outside to enjoy a gourmet treat or two?  I shall have to investigate.