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Monday, October 25, 2021

We headed off to Minnesota last Wednesday to explore another new place and see how Minneapolis is handling the latest phase of the pandemic. The transitory phase, as I see it, is somewhere between the daily briefings, lockdowns, and masking of March 2020 and the under-appreciated freedom of March 2019. I think we’re around 25% open now. We just feel like it’s more. But pandemic signs are all around. They just fail to surprise us now.

Pandemic observance in Minneapolis as it turns out is not that different from Orange County, California. The weather, on the other hand, is quite a change. We’ve been treated to a brisk late autumn with yellow leaves beginning to fall and the nighttime lows dancing around freezing. The apartment we’re staying in requests masking in indoor common areas, and many people comply. These lounges are spacious and uncrowded, as are the skyways which give sheltered access to many downtown areas.

Some people in the skyways wore masks and some didn’t. When we entered stores from the skyway, however, all of the staff and most of the customers did wear masks. Entertainment is beginning to open up. We went to see The Music Man at the Chanhassen dinner theater on Friday night, and masking was required except when we were eating. The show opened on July Fourth, the first one since March 2020.

It was their first production since the pandemic, completely full on Friday night, and everyone was having a great time. Starting November 15, they will require proof of vaccine or recent test as well as a mask to enter. At this point they have upgraded air filtration, health checks on employees, and numerous sanitation measures in place. It was wonderful to see live theater again.

In the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden stands a row of 28 white granite benches engraved with poems from Jenny Holzer’s 1981 work Living. The poems are short, thought-provoking, and often startling in this outdoor setting. This one is particularly captivating in this Covid-obessed era:

We’ve spent a lot of time outside enjoying the farmers market and beautiful parks before the winter sets in. Minneapolis is pretty much like the rest of us—opening up cautiously.

Today’s Notable Headlines

No news today–this is a vacation!

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. I intend to journal the pandemic experience from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, as a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary world crisis.

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