Friday, October 29, 2010

Zombie Clowns and Shopping Witches! (I Get Paid For Doing This)

Last week's adventure -- which was going to be Trick-Or-Treating At The Zoo - -was rained out. So I'm forced to tell you about a less fun day I had - -a day at work.

Not every day as a litigator is glamorous, as I've pointed out before. Put another way, don't believe everything Sam Waterston made you think about the law.

Some days, like yesterday, I spend my afternoon reading 3,500 pages of banker's documents about a business loan, sitting in the conference room of someone else's law firm, drinking coffee that remarkably is worse than the coffee at my own office.

Other days, though, there's a hint of elegance and excitement about the job, like the day I had to drive to Stevens Point for a deposition and got there about 45 minutes early.

Did I say elegance and excitement? Sorry about that. What I meant to say was empty malls and cool toy shops.

And murals.

I had to go to Stevens Point about a week ago. I'd been there only once before, on what Sweetie and I still agree is the single most boring trip we ever took. We'd driven up there one time for the weekend on a getaway, only to find that there's no place to get away to in Stevens Point. The only landmark there was a giant, inoperative steam locomotive, and we could never figure out why it was there. Was Stevens Point known for locomotives? Trains, in general? Steam? Who knows? The only other thing about that trip was that the local mall had a pet store with tarantulas in it -- only the tarantula cage was empty, making me think that one had escaped, and making me feel a little creeped out the whole time we walked through the mall.

So I was not all that excited about returning to that city, and even less excited to realize that I'd made such good time that I had an hour to kill before actually having to work. I opted to walk around the downtown and see what I could see, and here's what I got paid for that day.

Stevens Point, whatever else it may lack, cedes ground to no other city in two areas: Wall art, and tattoos. I was greeted, where I parked, by a large mural that actually stretched around the corner of the building it was on. I think it's of the 1910 New York Yankees:

Or it could have been of "Market Day" in 1910, if you want to go by the bottom caption. Whichever it was, the crowd in the mural presented a mixture of the grimly determined (the guy second from right in the front) and the overly jovial -- the guy in the green cap and goatee just over his shoulder.

I like to think the Market Day 1910 Crowd was drawn facing a giant wall of Zombie Clowns: Sure, they may kill us, but it'll be amusing!

From there, I walked through Tarantula Mall, which I found to be both sunnier than I'd remembered it, and emptier. I was one of three people in the mall, not surprising given that there was only one actual store open in it (a hair salon). The only other "store" in the mall was a Children's Museum & Dentist's Office. But it was closed, so no children would be learning or getting fluoride treatments that day.

Leaving the mall, the door behind me closed with a resounding crash that echoed all over, and left me standing in an alley of sorts, where I saw this door:

I don't know what's behind it, but I suspect is has something to do with why everyone in that first mural was grimly determined. What kind of city is plagued not just by Zombie Clowns but also by Shopping Witches?

The alley led onto the main street of the town, marked by the plethora (is 2 a plethora?) of tattoo shops. Here's the Monkey Wrench Tattoo parlor. It was the more scenic of the two.

A little further down, past the tattoo shop and past the library, is another wall mural, depicting (I assume) the settlers of Stevens Point deciding to stay here despite the lack of tourism opportunities. The bearded guy in the front is obviously holding something designed to fend off Zombie Clowns.

The high point of the day was my trip into Geppetto's Toy Shop, one of those amazing toy stores that simply didn't exist when I was a kid, chock full of neat toys and throwback toys and giant playsets and books and musical instruments and whimsical gadgets (note: Under federal law, when describing a toy store of this sort, you are required to use the word "whimsical.") I walked through it twice...

I had a lot of time to kill, still...

and ended up buying two wind-up toys for Mr F and Mr Bunches, an airplane and a boxing kangaroo that would jump up and do a backflip.

Then I stopped back at Shopko -- which anchors the mall-- to pick up a Stevens Point t-shirt for Sweetie, only to find that while they did not have Stevens Point t-shirts at this store, they did have Christmas gear set up, just down the aisle from the Halloween costumes:

With that, I retired to my car to eat lunch and watch people for the next half-hour until I had to get to work.

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