Meet Me By The Hammocks

When I moved home to Minneapolis, one of my best friends was about to leave.

“I got accepted!” she said one day. “Grad school, getting my masters in teaching for special needs. California. Then maybe I’ll move back to Israel.”

“. . . Yay!” we chorused. “That’s so . . . great, for you.”

Last week I found out she was visiting. In a couple of days, were we free Saturday? Did we want to meet at the State Fair, or afterwards?

“I HOPE YOU LIKE THE HAUNTED HOUSE,” I wrote back. “AND ALSO BABY ALPACAS.”

Adelia and I planned on meeting up with her around 2, and just staying a couple of hours. On our shuttle ride from the parking lot she told me about her own graduate school work: a paper she was writing about Walter Benjamin. “Basically the modern city and society is our downfall,” she said, as the bus warbled around another curve. I gripped the seat in front of us and focused on non-barfing exhales. “We have too much demanding our attention, just walking down the street: so many strangers we approach and pass, red lights, stop signs. We are constantly on alert for our own survival. And with the loss of craftsmanship, we lose the habit of telling stories. We no longer have the luxury to daydream.”

“Sooo, he wrote this in the ’20s?”

We stepped off the bus and into the masses.

It took us a few hours just to meet up with Jamie, due to the cellphone service/textsuck black hole that generally surrounds any area containing cows. We stoically watched a greyhound adoption presentation, twice, and remained unconvinced. I was attempting a gluten-free diet as of a few weeks prior, and I pulled out a list of the booths that would serve me. “Too bad everything’s deep fried here, even the fruit,” I said. We decided to get out of the Pet Center and meet Megan by the entrance. “I need coffee,” Adelia said, “and some breakfast, and a different eyeglass prescription, and a lot less ragweed, and fewer people around me, and where’s Jamie, and agh agh agh.”

Things weren’t looking up. “Meet me by the hammocks,” Jamie’s text bleeped.

It’s funny how mood, and with it, reality, can change in the span of twenty minutes. We got coffee. We swung on the hammocks, hiding within their billowing cotton like toddlers in a clothesline and pointing at the stuffed parrots overhead, until politely commanded off. We could see Jamie, but she couldn’t see us. “Tee hee,” we said. “There you are!” she cried. “Hooray!”

“Hooray!” we said.

And we stayed another four hours, creeping through the haunted house, gnawing cupcakes (they’re better with gluten, guys), patting animals on the head, taking ghost pepper challenges and screaming through the sky on the flying chairs. Because that’s the way we roll.

The next day, she was halfway across the continent again.

Full album: here.

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