Today I walk out of my dorm room, deciding to explore the city of Eau Claire further than I had previously. I've heard good things about the Acoustic Cafe and determine to venture there. I jaywalk across a street and walk over a bridge on Lake Street. A river slowly passes below. I can see a seemingly random painting of the Mona Lisa pasted on the corner of a building across the bridge.I take a left on Barstow and continue my journey on the right side of the street. I pass a couple that look to be seniors on campus and a family of three exiting an art supply shop. I notice across the street is something that would appear to be a movie theater with the word "HOLLYWOOD" plastered above it, but upon closer inspection ends up being a church. There are many Christian-related buildings surrounding it. I come up to an actual budget movie theater. "Up" and "Transformers 2" are playing twice each later tonight. Eventually, I reach the end of this strip of buildings and still no
Cafe. I cross the street and trace my way back from where I came. "Drawing Lessons" by Tin Hat Trio comes up on my iPod. The sound of it seems to fit the mood of this part of the city. I get to a crosswalk and wait for the white light of the walking man to appear, signaling my safe passage across the river of speeding cars. An older woman waits opposite me smoking a cigarette, staring off into space. The light changes, and we each cross paths going our opposite ways. We'll probably never see each other again. I'm not even sure if she noticed me. I come across a model train store. Then a shop selling Native American merchandise. It seems rather ironic. Next up is a school of martial arts. A little boy of no more than ten walks out in his karate uniform in his bare feet. His mother follows closely behind him. The boy begins showing off some of his kicks in front of me, the bottoms of his feet quickly turning black from the dirty concrete. I begin to lose faith in finding the sacred Acoustic Cafe. Perhaps I should stop at that church shaped like a theater. Sorry, bad joke. Anyway, just before I make the turn back across the bridge, I finally spot it. I must have missed it while staring at the ugly-yet-pretty river. I step up to the door. A man outside asks if I have a light. I don't, tell him so, and finally walk inside. Most of the people here are a few years older than me. I order a dish of vanilla ice cream for $1.99, receive a penny as change, sit down at a booth, and write this.