23 August 2011

I'll Take Mine with Mayo


I had dinner in Rochester, Minnesota this past evening. In fact, I had spent the entire day there, and some of today as well. Then, on the way home I missed a turn and became so seriously lost that even my iPhone couldn’t fine me. I had issues. 
Downtown Rochester, Minnesota is a bustling, crowded city scene. There is a thriving community of restaurants, bars, cafés, and shops of all sorts. It is summer, and so the restaurants all have outdoor seating and at all times the tables are occupied and people are eating and drinking, talking and laughing about the world outside. I ate and I drank and joked about the wicked world outside. The Barnes & Noble establishment there is particularly large and extremely well stocked. I browsed. Rochester, Minnesota appears very much a tourist town. 
But people visit Rochester, Minnesota not for its scenic value or its culinary offerings; there is little of much historic interest here except that Rochester, Minnesota is the historic home of the world renowned medical facility, the Mayo Clinic, and people arrive in droves here because they are sick and would be made well. Too many tourists to Rochester, Minnesota come for healing as pilgrims and penitents once traveled to Lourdes or Turin for redemption. In the center of the downtown, the series of buildings and hospitals that comprise the Mayo Clinic towers over the city, literally and figuratively, as those space ships in the science fiction movies that hover over the metropolis casting shadows over everything. And the glass doors through which one enters the various edifices give the building the appearance of floating above the earth’s surface removed from the dirt and grime of the world. When they walk into the buildings of the Mayo Clinic, the sick can experience hope despite the seriousness of the illness that brings them to the remarkable facilities in Rochester, Minnesota. Here there is no hint of death, decay and disease; here, there is only light and sparkling. 
But it was an interesting phenomenon to be in Rochester, Minnesotaat least this section of the cityand understand that in all probability everyone whom I saw out in the streets of the city was either sick themselves or were here because they were caring for someone who was sick. The others out there on the streetsmany wore the identity badges of the Mayo Clinicwere responsible for attempting to heal the sick, and all of the others serviced the sick and the caretakers and the medical servicers. They were the waiters and the bar and shopkeepers for whom the Mayo Clinic and all its illness is a godsend. 
I wonder if Rochester, Minnesota might not serve as some kind of metaphor: in the center of life rests mortality but all about life goes on, ob-la-di-ob-la-da. 

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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25 August, 2011 06:23  
Blogger GigiCookie said...

The problem is how much time will it be before all our cities are like Rochester? Our food is making us sick, our air is making us sick. It could be that Rochester is what's to come.
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01 September, 2011 06:47  

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