You see, I live in Minneapolis, and beginning tomorrow is the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Personally, unless I need to drive over there for a re-scheduled doctor's appointment, I plan to avoid St. Paul like the plague until after Thursday when everyone leaves. After all, they've already closed a bunch of the freeway ramps into St. Paul, barricaded some areas to prohibit protesters, and splashed red, white and blue elephants on anything that didn't move. I plan to watch the RNC on TV like everyone else. (Or, more likely, to not watch it...)
And this isn't the first time I have been History-adjacent since I moved out here a few years ago. Last year we were on our way to downtown Minneapolis for a concert at Orchestra Hall on the night of the 35W bridge collapse.
It's kind of strange and humbling--as well as being massively surreal--to be so close to things going on in the world, but only being able to watch them on TV.
A few days after the bridge collapse, I was trying to get back to my normal life and doing my best to drive where I needed to go, which was a more difficult task without the 35W bridge. So I did my best to loop around the site of the collapse and found myself stuck in traffic sitting on an overpass which had been half-closed after the accident. But it hadn't been closed for any accident-related reason. The right two lanes had been closed to allow enough space for the national news teams to set up their reporters in front of massive cameras and floodlights. From my vantage point, even in the middle of the closest overpass to the bridge site, all I could see was the news crews. They completely blocked the view of the collapsed bridge. So my only chance for a view was to come home and watch it on the news. (Like I said... it was a little surreal.)
So this week I plan to sit at home and occasionally channel surf my way past what's happening in St. Paul. I'll watch the news to find out which nondescript gatherings of people have been raided by St. Paul/state or federal officers. I'll check the web to see who is speaking and what they said. I'll tune my radio to hear the latest soundbites.
And, on Friday, I'll consider putting downtown St. Paul back on my list of places to go, glad that the Convention is History.