Sunday, October 16, 2005


OK, listen up and listen good 'cause I'm not gonna say this twice.

Cabela's, the hunting and fishing superstore, located outside Minneapolis (and other places around the US of A) is incredible! Please note, that I am not at all a hunting and fishing person and am in fact a militant vegetarian who likes to impose my strident views on the cruelty of factory farming at any perfectly nice dinner party. But Cabela's almost converted me into a cold-blooded, well-outfitted killer of animals. Or into a Civil War re-enacter. Or into a homemade jerky producer and connoisseur. Or into someone that likes to sneak around the woods, undetected by even the trees, who would consider me one of their own.

There were two excursions to Cabela's, one yesterday that I went on and one today that I opted out of as I feared I was going to get sucked into the hunting and fishing lifestyle. Oh sure, they make it seem as American as any other cult and equally harmless, but my first visit (and if god is willing, my only visit) hooked into the needy, weak side of my personality that makes me want to join stuff and wear matching outfits. I'm not proud of this character defect, but at least I know what I have to contend with in myself.

This Cabela's is HUGE and it just opened a few days ago. Not the "Grand Opening" as a helpful sales clerk informed me, for that is later at the end of the month and there will be sales involved, but the plain old opening where they hire some rent-a-cops to manage the incredible traffic stampede, open the doors and sell merch. But stores are not what they used to be and Cabela's is more like a retail experience set in a taxidermy theme park, with a very impressive live-specimen walk-in aquarium thrown in. You have to see it to believe it people.

I was so enchanted with the stuff, all the stuff. The guns alone made me want to buy one. I consider myself a pacifist and not at all in what Cabela's would probably view as their target audience (pun intended) but picking up a long-ass, heavy, serious business 30-06 rifle with a site that would turn my blind cat into an assassin gave me the terrifying surge of power that such a weapon is designed for. Yes, I wanted to buy it for a second. Because I realized I could kill something if I had to or wanted to or accidentally left a round in the chamber and decided to show off one night after a few brewskis. I learned a lesson about what makes people want to hunt and probably put us at the top of the food chain. I knew I had to get out of there, or I was gonna end up taking a piece of baggage back to New York that was going to require more hassle than taking my shoes off and pulling my laptop out of the bag.

But enough of my musings on my "epiphanies". The show was especially interesting tonight because we had an early curtain at 7:00 that ended up turning into a regular 8:00, thanks to morbid malfunctions of the sound computer right before we were scheduled to begin. Translation: Dan's computer was playing dead and if the computer goes, all bets are off. The audience patiently waited for Dan to do triage and get the thing operational again and after his heroic efforts and a lot of sweating, he resurrected the beast and the show went on. Hats off to both Dan and the Walker audience, who all patiently endured the unexpected pre-show intermission.

We are sad to turn our bikes in and leave Minneapolis but this is all in the ephemeral nature of the theatre. It is an experience, not something to hold onto like that pretty rifle in Cabela's. You can't take it with you, except as a memory and a memory that will easily pass through airport security. Farewell, Twin Cities.

Next stop, Columbus, Ohio, home to the OSU Buckeyes and the very first Wendy's. And the Wexner Center for the Arts and as yet untold adventures in retail consumption, making theatre and maybe some fall foliage thrown in.

So long for now,


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