Let's all be more like this man sipping whiskey on an empty I-35W

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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

You will be two-thirds of the way to a fine whiskey sour. 

This is one of the lessons we can draw from the fabulous above photo, which features a Minneapolis resident who made glorious use of on an otherwise bothersome situation. 

The I-35W freeway near his south Minneapolis home recently closed for construction to the road, and repairs to its overhanging bridges. When will this work be finished? Never.

Joe, seen above, has lived off the freeway's Diamond Lake Road exit for more than two decades. (We're keeping Joe's surname a secret, just in case MnDOT gets curious about anything other than faster ways to fix potholes.) A few nights ago, he, his wife, and their two daughters ventured into downtown Minneapolis for dinner. 

They took I-35W on the ride home, traveling south, and as they rode, noticed its entirely empty northbound companion to their immediate left. This major traffic artery, with its steady flow of hundreds of thousands of daily travelers, day after day and year after year, had become a ghost town.

Joe thinks it was probably his idea. But instantly, all four of them were into it.

"We just thought, why don't we go back to the house, get a couple chairs, and have some fun on the highway?" Joe says. "You can't do that every day."

They also grabbed a bottle of Jameson whiskey, product of a recent trip taken to Ireland. At one point, with Joe lounging on a chair, holding the bottle, and relishing the rare view, one of his daughters snapped a photo.

Joe didn't even notice she'd done it. Only later, he says, when they went back to the house, did she tell him that she'd posted the image to "the website" -- he means Twitter -- and that people were loving it. 

Joe drives "all over" the area for his job in medical sales, so he's not a daily commuter on I-35W, a fact he states with not a small amount of relief. But it's still the fastest way downtown, so he knows it well as his pathway to concerts, sporting events, or dinner out with the family. 

Joe recalls the time about a dozen years ago when parts of 35 were closed for work on the Highway 62 interchange. That was the last chance the family had to safely "frolick on the highway," and they did it back then, too.  

I-35 probably hasn't changed during the two dozen years he's lived nearby, but Joe's experience of it has. He's used to it now, the hum of engines and tires emanating from over the sound wall. It seems quieter. 

It will probably never feel as peaceful as it did the other night.

"We were kind of celebrating the quiet," Joe says. "When it's shut down, it's kind of nice down there. The situation was perfect, no cars. We had to take advantage."

Previously, in Let's all be more like:


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