She stands in front of us blinking.
We pause, obviously a bit too long.
"Civic Center ...?" I say. "We don't have a --"
"Hah!" she interrupts in a cruel, mocking tone. You can see her back teeth. "You don't even know that your city has a civic center!"
And now it's on. I love strangers. I'll practically drive them someplace. But she just broke the trust with that "Hah!" she chirped. I didn't mean to say we didn't have a civic center. I meant to say, "I'm pretty sure you aren't looking for the civic center at 7 p.m. on a Friday night."
JCrew exhales. One does not mock JCrew. Tell us we don't know something. We know lots of stuff and we know where it happens and we know the best route to get there. JCrew can probably even tell you what's the menu or what's for sale.
My friend makes a series of three points, like she's a witch with a wand cursing these historic buildings across the street.
"Federal Building, Courthouse, City Hall," she says, looks at the woman.
I can tell she wants to rip this woman's this woman's spleen through her throat and serve it back to her for dinner with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Feta.
"What exactly are you looking for?" I ask the woman.
"We're from the cities," she says. "We're supposed to be at a hockey game. Benilde-St. Margaret is playing."
"Try the DECC," I tell her.
"We tried the DECC, but Minnesota was playing," she says.
"There's more than one rink at the DECC," I tell her. "Try Pioneer Hall."
"It said that the game was at the Civic Center, though," she says.
"They don't play hockey at the civic center," JCrew says. She sounds a little testy.
"Try the Heritage Sports Center," I say.
I explain how to get to the Heritage Sports Center and she walks away and joins her family.
"Bitch," JCrew says. "Did you hear me when named those buildings?"
"That was great," I say, then imitate her. "'YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW YOUR CITY HAS A CIVIC CENTER.'"
A few seconds later we see the foursome walking the circle drive that leads to the three buildings. We hear her puzzling over our advice.
"I'm sure she just assumes that we don't know anything about our city," JCrew scoffs.
Then she looks at me. Gives me the full elevator. The jeans, the XL black hoodie, the fingerless gloves, the knit cap.
"Well, I guess you do look pretty suspect," she says.