RN: Can you believe how many people are here?
CP: Dunno. I thought it would be even more crowded. It is Yuptown, and this is Day 1 at CB2.
RN: Once you tweet all 423 of your followers, I'm sure this place will be elbow-to-elbow.
CP: You're joking, right? First of all, Señor Populare, I have 425 followers @claudepeck now. Secondly, this turnout doesn't hold a candle to the holiday parties at your former Uptown efficiency.
RN: I distinctly recall a bedroom in that apartment, but whatever. Like all urban gay men in their 30s, I probably would have furnished it here, in this lower-priced version of Crate & Barrel. Look at this joint. I feel like we're in an episode of "The A List: Dallas."
CP: Except everyone is wearing a black Summit Series parka, like it was Boulder. I smell a uniform. How's this store going to go over in Uptown, the area that you have studied so closely now for three decades?
RN: Well, my inner Margaret Mead is wondering how Hennepin and Lake has attracted three outdoors shops -- Timberland, North Face and Columbia -- when we're 250 miles from the Boundary Waters.
CP: Doesn't it make you miss the Lotus, the sort-of Vietnamese restaurant that used to sit on this very site? Alongside Orr Books?
RN: What I really miss is Borders -- actually, I'm going to date myself and say that I'm still mourning the loss of its predecessor, locally owned Odegard's.
CP: I remember when reading magazines at Borders was my part-time job. But Magers & Quinn, across the street from there, is a book-head's paradise. In just the past few months, they've hosted readings by Alan Hollinghurst, Bob Mould and Donald Ray Pollock. Long may it prosper.
RN: As long as we're spreading the Uptown love, three cheers for Dogwood Coffee Co., the anti- Starbucks.
CP: And then there is the Blond Wood and iGadget Paradise I like to call Pomme. Calhoun Square and environs have known tribulation over the years, but where else can you park once and experience this variety of retailing and not be in a faceless Dale?
RN: At least Southdale has free parking. And a J. Crew. A spot in the Calhoun Square ramp rivals one in a heated underground downtown facility. The last time I made the mistake of parking there for a movie, the cost exceeded my ticket to "Margin Call" at the Lagoon.
CP: Hey, this store gives me an idea. Could we attract a younger demographic with a cut-price, online-only knockoff of the column, titled simply WG2?
RN: Only if Mrs. Pynchon provides us with new offices, outfitted by CB2. I want that "Parlour" lemon-grass sofa, and I want it now.