…or, How We Spent Our Independence Day 2022.
No, I didn’t forget or give up on this series, even if site traffic already did months ago. We were so close to the very end when Oscars season, two conventions, year-in-review entries, and mood swings got in the way. The cool part is, much like Watchmen, Kevin Smith’s Daredevil run, or the Dangerous Visions trilogy, future generations who read the full work in one sitting will have no idea there was a long, sad gap between installments. Sincere apologies, future internet users, or denizens of whatever replaced the internet, for this intro that may seem superfluous in hindsight!
Longtime MCC readers may recall our best annual travelogues usually include photos from the restaurants we’ve visited in other states and the foodstuffs we’ve found that we don’t necessarily have back home in Indianapolis. We do enjoy sharing those moments, but you may have noticed their conspicuous absence from this series except in Part 30, when we covered our culinary results from Days One through Five, the first half of our vacation. We had looked forward to leaving home and hopefully leaving the year’s troubles behind for just ten days. The more we drove, the more we had to face reality: it was the same kind of 2021 everywhere in America.
Days Six through Ten had their moments. In this context “moment” isn’t always a compliment.
One last state. One last stop. One last attraction. One last park. One last forest. One last cliff. One last statue. All the plurals throughout this series come down to these.
It’s fun turning our vacations into extended travelogs threaded with a sometimes weird, often self-deprecating personal narrative that ensures I’ll never be invited to write for a travel magazine. This year I thought I’d also toss in our answers to a question no one asked: “How did the world look from the vantage point of our middle-class accommodations?”
Show of hands, who’d be excited to visit a sock museum? Complete lack of hands, right? But what if the socks were turned into sock monkeys?
Some things are all about presentation.
Humans aren’t built for infinite velocity or nonstop acceleration. Life was not meant to be lived like a marathon without a finish line. We need our days off from work, our pauses between musical measures, our moments of calm between stretches of pain, our interludes between content-packed chapters, our tactile diversions from doomscrolling, our little isolation-booth time-outs from social media, and our interstate rest stops on long, long, long drives. Sometimes we need breaks from sustained input, from our cravings for visual or intellectual stimulation. Sometimes during those little recesses, the world can’t help sneaking a few minute interruptions through the cracks.
Day Eight began and ended in very different places, yet not so different as we compared notes between a pair of murals that have nothing to do with each other unless you dig too deeply beneath the surface.
Minnesota and Vikings are a peanut-butter-and-jelly sort of classic duo that we’ve seen paired before, like that time in 2014 when we visited a museum in Moorhead that told the story of one man’s dream of building an impressively detailed, fully funcitoning replica Viking ship. We appreciated the man’s courtesy in taking ownership of his results and refusing to pretend it was a real Viking ship he found buried in his backyard. Every small-scale museum has a story to tell, each according to its own beliefs and stubbornness.