STORY: David Stringer

  Orienteering: a Non-Event

I discovered a new event at the Transplant Games this year: orienteering. Actually, I helped to spontaneously create the event.
It took place when a group of us attempted to locate the Social Lounge in Dinkytown.

"Social Lounge" sounded very appealing after the intense and emotional events of the last few days. It sounded like a party where I could hang out with some of the terrific people I'd met here in Minneapolis, maybe over a coffee or even a beer. We are close to Wisconsin, after all.           

When I reached Dinkytown I saw small groups people wearing the distinctive team shirts. They were hanging out on the corner of 14th Avenue and Univeristy, exactly where the flyers had said we would find the lounge. Occasionally people would cross a street to the opposite corner. Some were venturing a block or so away from the intersection, peering into the doors of the coffee shops, bars and restaurants. They they would return to the corner. Eventually the smaller clusters merged into a formidable group of about forty.

We had come all this way to lounge, and we wanted to lounge!

As a group we moved door to door, but many of the doors were locked. One woman was sure that the word "Dinkytown" on an awning meant that must be the place, so most of the people marched hopefully down the stairs to start the fun. I stayed upstairs, deterred by a sign that mentioned Hip-Hop, which is not my thang. Of course, it could have been worse - it could have been karoake. One person said, "It looks like a strip club," but I'm not sure how he knew what one looks like. His comment made some of the women push toward the front of the line.

The group of frustrated socializers trooped back upstairs from the bar after learning that the manager downstairs had no idea what we were talking about. They returned to the corner. Some attempted to enter a store that sold University of Minnesota shirts, some of them at 30% off, but the manager evidently saw us coming, locked up the doors and fled.

I guess we were a pretty rowdy group at that time, and I was later told that some of the Dinkytown regulars called the police about the revelers taking over the streets. One woman became quite upset - not because of a communications snafu but because she was afraid she was missing a good party. But for the most part spirits were high.

One man shrugged and said, "I guess we are the party!"

Another concluded, "The Social Lounge is apparently not a where, but a who."

Someone else suggested, "Maybe this is a loss leader to get us to spend money in Dinkytown." I'm not sure what a loss leader is, but the remark seemed pretty funny at the time.

One of the highlights of the evening was watching a tow truck haul away a minivan. The owner jogged along side the truck to ask the driver where he could get the car. On his way back to his restaurant he explained to us that it was his wife's. The man had nothing to do with the Transplant Games, but it was still pretty interesting so I thought I'd mention it.

A few people noticed a typo in the Social Lounge flyer, a missing comma, which ended up saying that one of the attractions of the event would be "Karaoke Bowling." This led to some speculation about what such an activity might entail. One person proposed lining up ten karaoke singers and rolling a heavy ball at them. Another thought it might involve bowlers breaking into song. I never found out because I left the party early to go off in search of even more excitement.

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Last updated on: Friday, 05-Feb-2010 10:05:42 EST