A Rumination With a View / by Courtney Mehlhaff

There are certain things in life that I just love, and I really should keep a running list, but here's one: the view from my office building in downtown Minneapolis. 

From the 48th floor, you can look either directly north or south from enormous windows in the lunchroom and lobby. Although the southern view presents you with several lakes, the Art Institute, the Walker, and the cathedral, I prefer gazing north over the river, the bridges, the library, the Mill City Museum, the Guthrie, and the Grain Belt Beer sign, all the way into NE Minneapolis, where I live.

The other day I was hurrying down the stairs on some errand, but I just couldn't help but stop and stare awhile. It never gets old. (And I'm not just saying that because if you lean around the corner a bit, you can see directly into the new Twins stadium). I had to pause for a moment because, if you'd told me seven years ago that I'd one day be working smack-dab in the heart of downtown, I would have called you a liar to your face.

But seven years ago I left South Dakota and came to "the Cities," as we in the rural tri-state area call them (duh, what other cities could we possibly be referring to?) I came with no job and knowing only about three people, one of whom was a high school acquaintance who needed a roommate. I had no idea where anything was or, if I did, how to get there.  

My early navigation attempts consisted of simply driving around aimlessly until something looked vaguely familiar. I distinctly remember once being so lost that I pulled into a McDonald's and bought a shake and french fries so I would have something to munch on as I consistently took exits I didn't mean to take. To this day, I'll occasionally pass a landmark and think, "Hmmm, I know this place ... I think I was lost here once ..."

I still take the periodic wrong turn, but I now have the ability to troubleshoot. And, three jobs later, I have much more than a handful of excellent friends. They are people I can't imagine not meeting, and I love them more for their quirks than in spite of them.

I realize that I've probably experienced only about 20% of what the TC has to offer, yet it's still been a wild, lovely ride. Whenever I visit my hometown, people ask me whether I like it here. When I reply that of course I do, they always seem a little shocked. But truthfully, I frickin' love Minneapolis. I love Minneapolis the same way I love my apartment, which goes like this: Whenever I pass by, I wish I lived there. And thankfully I do.

So I was reflecting on all this the other day in my brief pause before the window, feeling pretty proud of myself for having the guts to strike out alone somewhere new and generally pleased with all my small accomplishments since then. It was at this point that I turned, still gazing wistfully northward, and nearly Dick Van Dyked over a low oval coffee table in the lobby.

I get it, Minneapolis. Just keeping me in my place. Thanks for tripping me and not punching me in the face.  That's right, you heard me, St. Paul.