Thursday, December 15, 2016

So, we got a little mixed up. We're retired. We have time for that.

Risky Business. Tom the Rookie Barber gave Dan the full treatment today.
“And then I need to go to the Bible College and get a haircut,” Stan heard his brother-in-law say this morning. Christmas is coming and Dan did need a haircut so Stan volunteered to drive him on this nasty cold day. Ordinarily Dan could just take the Lake Street bus, but this was a good excuse to have lunch and look in on our “Midtown Dan,”  in his 10th floor condo in the old Sears Building in South Minneapolis.

But the Bible College? Haircuts? Jesus.

By the time Dan got into the car to head East down Lake Street, Stan had it figured out. Barber College, not Bible College. The Barber College is across the street from the old White Castle building, which boxed its final slider some time ago, and now nobody seems to want to rent a building with blue and white rooftop battlements. The sign out front of the college said “Public Welcome.” No mention of a guarantee. Dan’s a regular at the college, where barber hopefuls study shaving and snipping and practice other professional skills. Dan gets clipped there for $7. Stan’s no expert on barbers, his mother always cut his hair and he paid attention to what she was doing. These days Stan cuts his own hair, which some say is self-evident.

Dan asked for Jerrod, who has trimmed Dan in the past with a modicum of success, but Jerrod is apparently now too cool for school, so Dan got Tom, who was a polite, if not overly-confident young apprentice. Dan asked for “a haircut like his” pointing at Stan’s head. Stan didn’t know whether to be flattered or to blush. The youthful student proved a steady hand. Dan apparently liked his work; he had a look at it, then gratefully handed a nice tip to the aspiring lad.

Chasing nurses.
Tonsorial adjustment complete, it was time for lunch. Dan recently acquired a high-speed power wheelchair and has been skillfully speeding and turning 360s through the Midtown Global Market aisles, and over the skyways and into the tunnels of the adjacent world-renown Abbott/Northwestern Hospital complex. By now he’s sampled all the mainstream dishes offered at the many Global Market venues so he often opts for the  hospital cafeteria and its daily offerings of comfort food in great variety, which he calls "eating healthy." The hospital used to have a Mickey D's on the main floor, but it's been closed. Hmm. Going to the hospital cafe requires a journey of a couple of blocks on waxed floors in hallways, tunnels and elevators, but Dan’s got the time and the range: His Invacare Pronto M41 boasts 12 miles on a single charge.

Perhaps it was today's 7 below temperature that stirred their Pioneer spirit. The pair decided to push the envelope and strike out for new territory, heading way past Sister Kenny, past the Virginia Piper Building, through the Doctor's Building and on to Children’s Hospital where the intriguing Starz restaurant beckoned. Cops and the security people, always good judges of these things, highly recommend this venue, and assured them they could navigate the five city blocks without ever going outside.

Under 26th Street (Or is it 28th?)
Like Lewis and Clark, the explorers headed North, then Northwest. The first two blocks were in easy, known territory. Past the research labs, over the skyway, through the parking building, past the Abbott/Northwestern pharmacy, past the Skyway coffeeshop and on to the East Elevators.

A careless moment while pushing elevator buttons put the pair onto a third floor Virginia Piper nursing station instead of the lower level; a hasty retreat then another wrong turn and suddenly they were entering what is arguably the world’s finest underground heart surgical suite. They were redirected to the tunnel (well-marked, but oh well). It was long and toasty warm and gently sloped under 26th Street, past the Doctor’s Building and then on to the prize: Children’s Hospital.

A sign on the wall confirmed they had already walked (or rode) a half mile.

Up a clanky elevator and there they were, The Starz Cafe!, a bright and colorful expanse beside the lobby of the famed Children’s Hospital. They inspected the offerings in the salad bar, the pizza bar, and the deli, but then Dan returned to the comfort buffet and chose the Peking Chicken, which comes with rice, of course, but Dan is pure meat and potatoes so the kind server was prevailed upon to substitute the skin-on oven-baked new red potatoes that had teased Dan's gourmand urges.

Starz Cafe: Bright and airy, not like the dungeon at Abbott
A good choice too. Our epicure quickly gave the cafe Four Stars. Said his food was great, worth the trip, and he’ll be back soon for more. So we made sure he knew the way there and back, looking carefully for the signs this time. Much better than bread crumbs.

A warm stroll on a bitter cold day, a cheap hair cut and discovering good food at a new restaurant. Life is good.

Dan's pal, Officer Vicky of the Minneapolis PD, spotted Dan in the Children's Hospital cafe. She used to work the
 Global Market and got to know Dan there. They talked old times and she showed him texted photos of a mutual
friend who was walking his parrot on a beach in North Carolina this morning. We don't make this up.

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