Midnight Behind the Top Diner
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.