What is love? It seems a few hundred folks in Minneapolis who gathered this past Sunday at the annual Barbette’s Bastille Day wanted to celebrate their amour — for France’s independence, for Cotes du Rhone, for Fat Tire brew, for brassy music, for raucous dance, for flying skateboards over and trashing an old Oldsmobile, for a perfect sun-soaked summer day, for a fire-eating and twirling trio finale.
Sometimes love’s not so easy to find. Perhaps a bit concealed. Sometimes without realizing it, we may find we’re staring right at it. That’s kind of how I felt as I roamed about those who were partying like it was 1794.
No, no, nothing like that.
More like I was taking a photo of a bloke silk screening of T-shirts with the imprint that read, “I <3 MPLS” Just on the other side of the parking lot there was a vendor selling “SIX ONE TWO” T’s. I understood that. In fact, back when cell phones came out and I was traveling a lot, I had this crazy idea of creating T-shirts that would be sold at gift shops at airports with the urban zip codes. Before I knew it, someone also had the idea and ran with it. Good for them.
Finally, after a couple of those Cotes du Rhone that mellowed some of inhibitions, I approached the silk-screener. “Excuse me. What does the equation one is less than three MPLS mean?” I asked. He both frowned and smiled at my inquiry and replied, “What?” I pointed to the design and tried my question over again. He got it. “It’s a heart. I love Minneapolis.” We both exploded with laughter, mine at my self revealing ignorance of the text messaging modicom and him with his joy of schooling me. I left telling him “I heart that!”
Best case scenario is we all learn from one another. And generational learning can go both ways. I learned that less than three, <3, is an equation that equals love. And I just heard Lilly Allen sing in “Everything’s Just Wonderful” a saying I first learned from my grandparents, “That’s how the cookie crumbles.” I <3 THAT.