Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Midnight Behind the Top Diner

Minneapolis, 1969

At one time there were diners all along Lyndale Avenue, one every ten blocks or so. From Richfield to Brooklyn Center, twenty miles of Americana, burgers and fries, eggs and hash browns. The Top Diner remains, it is a humble establishment, hanging on despite the existence of a McDonald's a block away. It is located in an industrial area; small machine shops and factories, themselves relics from the 19th century, keep going on inertia.

Aimless late-night prowling with a camera was as close as I got to achieving satori in my teen years. The ignored areas behind the shops became a strange world at night; abandoned vehicles and stacks of trash gained a spiritual quality in the semi-darkness. Further back was the overgrown riverbank. The thrill of trespassing added to my heightened awareness; every noise triggered a flight response. This night scene was akin to a stage set for some undecipherable plays; the curtain had risen, the lights had come up, but the actors failed to appear.

By Professor Batty


Anonymous NormanLake said...

thank you professor, for the memory jolt. I fell in love with those dark alleys in my youth. Along with the long gone diners, I also miss the neighborhood groceries, there were at least seven of them on my paper route. Most of all, I miss the aromas emanating from the many bakeries in nearly every 'hood, as I could sample specialties that every one. A cookie here, a tart or long john there fueled me on my route daily. It is a wonder I never blimped out, but the paper route helped wear off the potential poundage I may have gained had I been sedentary.

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