By Kenneth Justice
Less than a couple hours ago I returned from Minneapolis, Minnesota and the latest leg of my Drinking in the Culture Tour; my excuse to get away from the daily grind and experience coffee house culture in different cities throughout the Western World.
This past weekend was pretty awesome. Not only did I get to meet with a number of fellow bloggers, I met so many different people and had more conversations than I ever could have imagined. From a South Dakota Yoga instructor to a homosexual professor who teaches at one of the local universities on conflict studies among youth.
All weekend long as I sat and listened to people, titles kept popping into my head,
—) She’s the man, he’s the woman…REALLY???
—) Trapped in a marriage but I think I’m gay….REALLY???
—) I wanna rape you…REALLY???
—) I don’t need god, I just need my humanity…REALLY???
—) The best thing about Minneapolis is Saint Paul…REALLY???
To say that I met a lot of good people and had a ton of good conversations would be an understatement. Unfortunately, because of the early hour that I’m writing this I still have a ways to go on putting together all of my notes.
I have a habit of jotting down notes on my arms and hands with a black ink pen while I’m talking with people and as I look at my arms as I type this morning, it looks like I’m one of those heavily tattooed people and all I’m missing is a Mike Tyson face tat.
I wanna take a moment to send out a special thank you to fellow blogger Jay who graciously drove me around all weekend and put up with my sorry ass. He gave me an intimate look into the real Minneapolis that I never would have experienced had I been nothing more than another tourist wandering around.
This year the most pleasant surprise has been the people who’ve put me up at their houses and given me tours of their cities. I’ve been able to go to places that were off-the-beaten path and all the while have been amazed at the connections I’ve made via blogging. I never would of imagined that writing down my ramblings and then posting them on the Internet would lead to me meeting so many good people all around the country.
A thousand years ago it was normal fare to take in a stranger and give them a warm meal and a place to stay. Traveling bards and minstrels might perform for their hosts, and writers and travelers would share stories and news from far-away lands.
Because of modern media and the Internet we have NEWS delivered to us 24/7 and who among us would really want to take in a lonely traveler from a far-away land? I wonder if the average person would put me up at their house in the same manner that so many of my fellow bloggers have extended such warm welcomes to me. I honestly don’t know.
Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the media has portrayed the world to be a scary place. Hitchhiking, talking to strangers, letting a lonely traveler stay at your house all tend to stir our minds with images we remember from late night horror movies. Let someone stay in your guest room or on the sofa and you’re liable to think they will end up being Freddy Kruger with five feet long arms trying to slice your throat while you sleep.
Yet what I’m learning is that the world is nowhere near as scary as the evening news portrays. For every murder or stabbing, there are millions of people who have good hearts that want to reach out to their fellow human. The bad news is really not representative of what we as a people really are; sure there are a lot of bad apples out there, but there are a lot of good apples as well.
But for now I’m thankful for the people I’ve met and for all the great conversations and time I had over the weekend. And to that young woman who kept telling me she wanted to rape me, I’m sorry I let you down but that’s just not my thing.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning
Categories: Culture & Society