Spring in Downtown: where the sun and stars are out

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May 3, 2004 // UPDATED 1:28 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Julie Swenson
Julie Swenson

Finally, it's spring and gorgeous outside, which means I'll do anything to get out of the office. These days, I actually leave the skyway to go to lunch. Don't tell my clients, but a trip across the street for printer toner now

takes all afternoon instead of an efficient

10 minutes.

Today's ploy for workday sunshine is simple: take the new intern out for coffee. This 15-minute check-in meeting suddenly turns into an hour and a half affair, including a quick stroll outside and a brush with fame and a little healthy eavesdropping.

The new intern, young Tim, has a lot longer to go until his 40th birthday than I do to mine. And since he's a former model and I'm a movie star in my dreams, I feel a little like Demi Moore as we walk in and order two of the largest possible cups of iced tea.

We head into the sitting area and pass someone sweating through a job interview, another table engrossed in preparing for a sales presentation and -- you won't believe this -- we see Beck sitting alone at a table.

Yes, Beck, as in two-turntables-and-a-microphone/musical genius Beck. I'm sure he is composing something brilliant as he stares into his coffee looking sad with messy hair. As we walk by, I nonchalantly lean over and whisper to Tim, "Is that Beck?" and he bursts

out laughing.

The young intern thought I said Bjork. Even I know the difference between the dark-haired singer who wore a swan to the Oscars and the blonde man sitting alone at Starbuck's in a retro blazer and a pink scarf. Whoever he is, this guy must be a rock star to feel comfortable looking like such a geek.

But with one look from the intern, I can tell that Tim thinks I'm old and confused. Ashton would never look at Demi this way, and instantly I'm reminded that I am not a movie star, that I drive a Geo and have never been married to Bruce Willis. It's time to get back

to work.

As we pack up the laptops to leave and Tim stops laughing in my face, we instinctively tune in to the conversations around us. First the job interview. Tim asks, "Is that a man

or a woman?"

I want to say, "of course, you can't tell, you're 25 and from Hibbing," but before I can get the words out I strategically stretch my back and see that it's definitely SNL's "Pat" vying for a job in finance.

Next we tune in to the out-of-towners. How do I know they aren't from around here? Easy -- the lady of the group is carrying a white airplane pillow under her arm. She probably took it off a Northwest Airlines plane.

What neither the intern nor I realize is that the out-of-towner is watching us staring at her. She catches Tim's eyes and asks, "do you have the time, are we in Central?"

I'm sure Tim is too young to know what Central means when he pipes up, "Yes ma'am, we are; it's 11:54 by my watch."

Since when do former models wear watches? Then she asks where the Hilton is and Tim tells her, "It's a few blocks south of here. You can take the skyway or -- since it's such a gorgeous day outside, much like you, ma'am -- I suggest you take the sidewalk over there."

The out-of-towner is visibly flattered. She's definitely past her 40th birthday, maybe even her 50th. As we walk out onto 6th Street into the sunshine, I'm sure Ashton made her day.

Julie Swenson (Julie@abbaspr.com) owns the intern-hungry Abbas Public Relations.