Wednesday, June 17, 2009

opening night, mall of america, and buddy

Last night we had a lovely opening night party here in Minneapolis. That was where a few of us had a pleasant conversation with the manager of the Capitol Grille downtown. And when he proceeded to invite us to his restaurant for lunch on him, we graciously accepted and said we'd see him soon.

And we will.

Here I am with a few of my favorite girls in the show.
And then today, we just had to explore the Mall of America.

Though, we passed the Waterpark of America on the way, and I kind of wished we were going there instead.

But the mall really didn't disappoint.

We got lost in a maze of mirrors.
Actually, it really was quite confusing. Also, we had to wear these plastic gloves to keep from smudging the mirrors so we looked quite hilarious, to boot.

And there's this whole miniature amusement park within the mall.
We rode a roller coaster.
Which was operated by a woman who had never even ridden it herself.

Excuse me?

After she told me that, I assured her that it was quite fun and suggested that she give it a whirl sometime. You know, since she sort of makes her living off of it.

I can't really blame her, though. I worked at a coffee shop for almost a year and hated the taste of coffee the whole time and so never drank a drop.

I still don't drink it.

But I do think it smells lovely.

But back to the rides.

So there was one particular coaster that we had just ridden and, it being so much fun, we decided to ride again. Me, Brandon, and David were in line, biding our time, inching closer to our turn when the man next in line from the three of us struck up a conversation.

For the purpose of this story, I will call him Buddy.

Buddy was quite tall and very heavyset. He had slicked back hair and a trim mustache and sported an eagle t-shirt that was tucked into denim shorts. As soon as he asked us if we had ridden this roller coaster before, we knew he was special. We proceeded to have a conversation that went something like this:

Him: How many people does this ride seat?

David: Four.

Him: How many are you?

David: Three.

Him: Maybe we could all ride together.

Us: Yeah. Uh-huh. Sure (respectively).

He kept talking to us about the rides; it was quite clear that he has been a regular for a long time.

Finally we all got up to the loading dock.

Brandon jumped into the cart, followed immediately by David who, I couldn't help but notice, had quite a gleeful look on his face when it became obvious that I got to sit next to our new friend.

I sat down and buckled my seatbelt while Buddy lumbered in next to me. He sat down and part of him spilled over into my chair. He shoved to safety bar down as low as possible, but it stopped moving way before it should have. He started fumbling with his seatbelt, but could not see over his girth to get to it.

Would you like me to buckle it? I asked.

Sure, he said, happily.

I got the job done but by then the operator was trying to shove his safety bar down low enough for it to give that reassuring click.

It wouldn't budge.

She asked if we were all together, to which Buddy replied, I am alone, and single handedly melted my heart a little.

She proceeded to tell him that if he waited for the next cart, he could ride by himself and take both seats and fit. He said okay like it was no big deal and as he climbed back out onto the dock I heard him say, I really just want to ride this ride.

The three of us whisked off with Buddy watching and we couldn't even smile. We made that ohhhhhhhh noise that you make when something is either very very cute or very very sad.

In this case it was sad.

We actually had started to look forward to riding with Buddy, funny enough.

We stayed to watch him ride it and couldn't help but laugh at the obvious joy he felt while on the ride.

He wasn't embarrassed in the least over his ordeal; rather, he looked quite victorious as he rode that coaster by himself, smiling with two thumbs held high up in the air.
And he rode like that the whole time.


jason said...

Oh my goodness, that picture is amazing! I didn't realize at first that Buddy was actually in it.

Jessica Latshaw said...

I know! David was the one who took it, though--and it really is amazing.

It was also pretty amazing that Buddy never once took his two thumbs up down in order to hold onto his seat--I mean, it was a pretty scary ride!!!

beingawesome said...

ah the life of a solitary round man.

it's a pretty crappy life.. one i HOPE to not have for very much longer.

kathiek said...

Great picture! The car almost looks like it's going off the track! Does it spin around or something? I am glad Buddy got to ride on the coaster, even if he couldn't ride with you guys.

The Mall of America looks and sounds amazing!

Jessica Latshaw said...

Believe me, Rob--you are NOTHING like Buddy. Not one bit. Also, I could tell that you have been losing weight since I had last seen you-- you are looking great!

Mom said...

Jess~ I'm kind of glad that Buddy could not ride with you because the bar probably didn't go down nearly enough to keep you safe! You'd slip right out!

Jenna Latshaw said...

that picture is classic!

p.s. i can't believe one of the real housewives of nyc was there at the mall at the same time!

Jessica Latshaw said...

Jenna--actually Mindy and Bryan did two interviews along with her yesterday--isn't that crazy?!?!

Nina said...

Alright, I guess I'm feeling a little emotional today, because that picture of Buddy brought tears to my eyes. I'm glad he enjoyed his ride so much...but also glad that you didn't have to worry about falling out of the ride!

Jessica Latshaw said...

I know, Nina--it's both pitiful and sweet! And yes, I suppose what happened was the safest way to go;-)