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Column: My trip to the big city

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Last weekend found me downtown in Minneapolis, meeting two of 'The Young Girls' (the daughters, who are not so young as they used to be, but are), to attend the first roller derby of the third 'Young Girl.' That now makes two out of three of 'The Young Girls' seemingly intent on roller-skating their parents into a nervous reconsideration of our parenting methods.

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We met at a downtown hotel, where I had booked a room, as in, "A room is a hundred bucks? What? That's crazy!" For just a room, it felt like a lot of money, but I felt a lot better when I told 'The Young Girls' with a bit of glee, "I took it out of your inheritance, you know." My dad used to tell that to me. Dad was right. It was fun to say.

Since the roller derby was at the convention center, about six blocks away, we decided to walk to the event. I was waiting for the green walk light to come, when my daughters took off and jaywalked across the street.

"Hey," I told them, "I once got a jaywalking ticket right around here somewhere in downtown Minneapolis back in, um, um, 19, um, um, '64."

"Oh, you did not."

"Oh, yes I did!"

I worked for Western Union as an electronics tech, first job out of tech school. I put together enough money to bankroll going back to college, which seemed constructive, because it kept me out of Vietnam. For awhile. As a long-term strategy, it was mostly a delaying tactic, as it turned out.

We jaywalked our way to the convention center, watched a couple of hours of mobs of young women in tights, crash helmets, elbow and knee pads, and attitude, as they skated in a mob around a flat circle.

There does seem to be something fun about it, I admit, even though it seems totally disorganized and it's hard to understand exactly what, if anything, is happening.

Then we headed for a downtown bar, where, to make a long story short, I had the first drink I've had in a long time. I think they over-poured it, judging by the impact it had on my ability to think, talk and otherwise be my usual ready-for-bed-at-10 self. Then it was after midnight, and we were walking back to the hotel.

My posse, as I had come to fondly think of 'The Young Girls' and some of their friends, recommenced jaywalking. Well, it was midnight, and there was hardly any traffic.

Then, the last traffic light before the hotel, they didn't jaywalk. I did. That may be because they saw the cop car parked right where I was jaywalking to. Nice posse I had, huh?

I heard the cop car's broadcast unit come on with a click, "Sir, do you realize that jaywalking is a ticketable offense?"

I turned to my posse, still waiting across the street, and raised both shoulders in the shrugging pose that says, "I told you so," then turned toward the cop car and decided to go over and let the brandy do the talking. They seemed friendly. Probably bored.

 Suddenly, there was 'A Young Girl' on each elbow suggesting that doing so was not in my best interest, dragging me in the direction of the hotel, even though I told them that I was sure the cops would like to know that they're not getting any jaywalking virgin here, I'm a hardened jaywalking criminal, trying to get by in a police state, even though it was clear back in 19-something and...

I had a great time.

Just a little bit of a headache the next morning.

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