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BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH Minneapolis 2002 - Minneapolis Municipal Impound Lot

Readers' Choice: State Fair

Sure, there are more obvious choices: the walking path along Lake Calhoun on the first warm day of spring, as pleasing swaths of flesh are displayed for the first time in too long; the State Fairgrounds on a sticky August afternoon, as sweltering seekers of deep-fried foods jockey for position in the feed lines; Dinkytown at midnight, as beer-fueled frat boys celebrate (and occasionally riot over) some sporting triumph. But no Twin Cities locale provides a more reliably entertaining parade of humanity than Minneapolis's municipal impound lot during a snow emergency. To begin with, there's an ample and predictable supply of meat to observe--a prerequisite for people-watching excellence. The study conditions at the impound lot are optimal: Fluorescent lights reveal faces in full, bleak detail. Because towed folk are stuck in slow-moving lines, you have them in your sights longer than in other public spheres. People at the impound lot have one thing in common: They are irate at having had their vehicles towed. Some are angry at the mayor. Some at themselves. At the cops. At the whole wide world. This mass of collective ire evidences itself in an infinite variety of forms: the scowling slacker, the vocal common man, the baffled immigrant, and all combinations thereof. Sure, the karma ain't the best. But there is a peculiar honesty among those assembled here, who, in their rage, are strangely united and utterly naked.

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