Bobby needs a new pair of shoes…

Those who know me well will tell you I’m a procrastinator. Those who know me even better will tell you that I do not like shopping for shoes. Put the two together, and you get something like this:

Yes, those are what I put on my feet to go out into the world, and I’d rather wear them than shop for replacements. But I’ve known for quite some time that these had to go. I also knew that I couldn’t come to Minnesota and not visit the Mall of America. Putting those two together gave me my plan for the day.

An all day transit pass costs $6 here, and I got full value out of mine today. First a bus which took me through several very pleasant neighborhoods in east St. Paul to a light rail station where I caught the train to the mall. But not before I encountered a very amusing work of public art.

Along the platform were several emergency telephones as well as a feature I’d be very glad to know about if I’m ever here in the winter, a small space heater with a button that says “push for heat.” Then, I saw a nondescript looking metal box with a counter, a speaker, and a button. Closer examination revealed it was a work of art entitled Small Kindness, Weather Permitting. Pushing the button advanced the counter by one and treated me to a very silly audio sketch about just how cold it is here.

I got to the mall and was able to find a pair of shoes. As for what I have to say about the place itself… Well, it’s a giant mall—with shops wrapped around an amusement park comparable in size to the largest such park in the state of New Mexico—but it’s still a mall. Many of you already know how I feel about malls, but if you don’t, all I’ll say is that 2 hours was plenty of time to see everything I needed to see.

I spent the rest of the day putting my new purchases through their paces. Since I’m going to be in Minneapolis tomorrow, I decided to check out St. Paul today. I began by getting off the bus at the state capitol and walking around there a bit. The big story there involves the area’s football team, the Vikings, and how much the state is going to pony up for a new stadium. There was a purple bus with 10-foot long painted horns on its side parked outside with several Vikings fans holding a banner saying “Don’t let us become the third Dakota.”

From there, I walked downtown. Here’s what kind of day it was:

While it’s a very pleasant city, there wasn’t really anything that grabbed me, so before too long I found myself at the bank of the Mississippi. I walked along it under two bridges before heading back to the hotel. It was only then I traced my path on Google Maps and discovered I’d walked nearly eight miles in total. Looks like I’m gonna have to go shoe shopping again before too long…

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