Posts Tagged ‘ Minnesota

You & I Go Together Like A Cherry & A Spoon

The Twin Cities have an allure I cannot deny. I feel it in the anticipation between trips back, from the first sip of Furious once we’ve reached a safe cruising altitude to the last gasp to cram in just one more sight or sound before I resign myself to returning to Terminal 2. It’s in the latest building converted to condos in Lowertown, the next declaration that Uptown is finally over. It’s in the bike lanes, the lakes, the palpable fear in August there will not be many more days like this. Because there won’t be. So we must live them all because winter is coming and with it, a different pulse, an icy resolve to keep that vivacity alive, no matter how early it gets dark, no matter how many layers it takes.

But here comes that ambivalence again. I love the permanent autumn of San Francisco, watching fog roll over the Presidio through summer until we get our oddly placed one in September and October. It feels weird to bike without a hoodie and a toque whenever I leave. I could live in the bulk section at Rainbow, and I can always get a good burrito. Minnesota is where I’m from, but California is where I live, and will for the foreseeable future. Even as horribly broken as it is at times, it’s still an amazing place. Though honestly, I’ve been served up a heaping amount of dumb luck which I plan to keep on taking advantage of, so what do I know?

Invariably, any discussion of San Francisco turns to how much it costs to live there, or by proxy, how much it costs to live anywhere else. And it’s hard not to notice that everywhere you go. Most taprooms have $5 pours instead of $6. Everything costs just a few cents less at Target. Perhaps it’s a function of how I spend my time and money, but a lot doesn’t seem to cost that much less. I know it adds up; it’s an extra beer here or there or a couple more shows. Then again, I wouldn’t be making the same money in Minneapolis as I do now. Perhaps I could parlay that if I really tried, but I know what the pay scale is at Wells. I’m just trying to be honest here. While it’s not just about the money, I do like paying the rent. Well, I don’t, but my landlord likes it when I do. Still, who doesn’t live in San Francisco and have a escape route? It’s just as essential as an earthquake kit, and much the same you never know when you’ll need it. Because when you do…

So I idly browse Craigslist in Minneapolis (and let’s be honest, Portland). It’s nice to daydream in those bad days. Then it’s nice to go for a run and look at the Bay Bridge and say to yourself, “That’s the fucking Bay Bridge”. And remember how I mentioned those heaping amounts of good luck? The apartments aren’t that much cheaper everywhere else because of that. If I were rent-poor I already would have made my escape. Though you may doubt it, I’m not that much of a fool (most days). If I think about it, I can frequently pinpoint the frustrations that leave me feeling like it’s time to get out of here. Work is frequently the culprit and the best paths up seem to be elsewhere some days, Charlotte or back to Minneapolis or just anywhere but here. Perhaps the future for me is NoDa, but it’s more likely Northeast. It’s always been Minneapolis, it always will be.

My only constant sometimes seems to be that ambivalence. I don’t see it as a negative. It’s important to question yourself. Just don’t forget to live your life in the process. I appreciated getting caught in a storm in Minneapolis. Because it’s novel. Because it was a reminder I definitely was not in San Francisco in August. I appreciate falling into old patterns when I am back. I miss the fog. But I don’t pine for it. And it will be waiting for me anyway. If I don’t ever appreciate being in Minneapolis, then I should just get on the next plane out of town. Minneapolis is never just a vacation. It’s so effortless. If it ever is right then I probably will move back. Until then, I’ll dream about that investment property I can Airbnb all the weeks I’m not in Minnesota. It’s a good dream, and if it ever comes true, then perhaps it’s more than that. But for know, I have a life to live back in the City that I don’t exactly shy away from. And I plan to live it

The calculus remains the same, though. Minnesota has made an indelible mark on me; how do I keep the Twin Cities a permanent part of my life in more than just memories? That’s what every trip back is about. I didn’t figure it out anymore on this trip than the others. But between sidling up to the bar at The Depot or biking the Greenway most days or wandering the Fair or chatting with the wonderful people at Bang, I found what I was looking for. Minnesota is a part of me. We will always go together like a cherry and a spoon. Which perhaps doesn’t make sense, except that it makes perfect sense. Perhaps you just don’t understand. Perhaps you just need to go to Minnesota to find out

Echoes Of The Past

Every morning when I walk down to the bus stop, I can see the spires of Golden Gate poking out above the Presidio (unless it’s foggy like it was this morning). Every day when I leave work and walk down California I can see the Bay Bridge in the distance. They still fascinate me, but instead of being these rare and wondrous sights only seen in vacation or in photos, they are just quotidian features of my life. Amazing quotidian features but quotidian nonetheless. It rarely rains (at least because of the drought); it never snows (unless you’ve got a time machine back to 1976). Still, I know it sounds crazy to say that I miss winter. Even if I only had to deal with it for five days this year. I miss the fact that the lakes sound like giant bowls of Rice Krispies when it warms up, the snap, crackle, and pop of spring arriving. I miss the haphazard nature of Minnehaha melting. I just really miss Minnesota. I probably always will. I wonder if I made the right decision to move to Baghdad by the Bay, whether I should have held out for the Rose City or just hitched my wagon further to Wells Fargo in the Twin Cities with that counteroffer. I’ve already been to Portland twice since I moved here, and back to Minnesota twice as well, and will see at least Minnesota one more time before the year is out (and probably Portland just because, you know?). And I love getting to each place. But each trip also reinforces something. There’s just something undeniable about being able to say to someone “I live in San Francisco”. Even if my id still doesn’t reflect that, my payroll taxes definitely do. No, I still haven’t found a better croissant than the one at Tartine, but I do live two blocks from a great poppyseed roll, and it’s just a straight shot across Golden Gate to get an unbelievable corn blueberry muffin from Arizmendi. I have spent more time at Aquarius, though not as much as I’d like, though I did get back there for Record Store Day. And with my recent trip to see Mogwai at the Regency, I can scratch another venue off the big list, though, given how close the Indy is, I’m surprised I don’t get the more. But what can I say? Living here has taught me I’m more of a Rickshaw Stop/Chapel kind of girl.

The past year has been amazing, of that there is no doubt. It was all the things I thought it would be a year ago, exciting, terrifying, exhilarating. Sad, lonely, hard, wondrous, beautiful, agonizing, amazing. I could go on. San Francisco is a multitude of contradictions, from its agonizingly frustrating mass transit (here’s to you, Muni) to the fact that Karl the Fog makes sure no two sunsets ever quite look the same. My job has not quite gone as planned, taking me a bit longer than I would have hoped to get down, but I have settled into it. I am still good at it, and I do still like what I do, and I realize though it seemed so distant just a few short months ago, I’m suddenly one of the experienced people sitting in that cube on California Street. Perhaps it has just slowed down. Now, instead of the questions regarding why I’m looking elsewhere (though let’s be honest, most everyone here has a plan B, or in my case, a plan P), the question is why I came here. And the answer is, how could I not? Whether it’s yarn-bombed benches at the Ferry Building or the Bring Your Own Big Wheels races, there’s still a quirkiness to this city that hasn’t gone away as much as you might think it’s been gentrified out from what you might read, or hell, what we all say. Not that anyone who lives in the Bay Area is particularly surprised that anyone would move here. Everyone who’s here already knows, if you can make it work, why wouldn’t you?

There is, of course, the question of what making it work means. But if I can make it work here, can’t I probably make it anywhere? Isn’t that what I came to prove? Hasn’t that driven the decisions that I’ve made professionally? Wasn’t this always a goal, a dream, now a reality as I sit watching sparks fly off the overhead wire ever so occasionally lighting up my bedroom some nights? I spent so long potentially preparing for this, and then so long just trying to acclimate, now I finally feeling like I’m settling. There’s nothing more to sell on eBay; there’s no more paperwork regarding the receipts for moving expenses and I just don’t need to look at the HUD-1 of the sale of my condo any more, or any HUD-1 for that matter. Though I do still occasionally see one in a professional capacity, and my knowledge of Minnesota and home mortgages still comes up from time to time.

A year ago, I was running around trying to soak up as much as I could while simultaneously getting ready to move. I was plotting a course that would take me through National Parks I could have spent days and weeks in, figuring out exactly how much would fit in a RAV-4, and seeing just how many more shows I could squeeze in at the various venues of the Twin Cities between pastries and beers with friends. I still don’t remember my last show at the Mainroom before I left (must not have been that memorable), but that didn’t stop me from making it back for Neutral Milk Hotel. Though they had a certain majesty at the Fox in Oakland as well. Two different shows, in two different places, with a sea of different people. The faces are starting to become somewhat more familiar here at each venue, and I know the door staff and bartenders, but it’s still and always true that none of them are the Entry. Though my Entry hoodie remains an excellent conversation starter.

There have been hard days here, I won’t lie. Days where I cry and wonder whether or not this was a smart decision, whatever that means. Days where I cry because I miss all that I left behind, just like I knew I would when I was leaving. I can’t imagine I’ll ever feel any different about Minnesota, about all my wonderful friends there, about the many things I left incomplete there that never will be finished now. But that has been true of all the stops along the way, and even if I live here the rest of my life, it’ll be true of here as well. It’s simply true of life. But I’ll always be Minnesotan at heart, always miss it, and always know that it has informed who I am the most, as an adult, as my authentic self. It’ll always be the place I legally changed my name, and emotionally accepted who I truly am. Perhaps that is in large part why it will always be special to me. But perhaps it’s just the wonder of Minnesota, really, a beautiful place with a lot of beautiful people that I miss daily. Though I still get my share of Minnesotans here, as we find each other, and it’s great to reconnect with old friends, like the week I saw three different good friends from high school simply virtue of being in the one place that seems to make that possible. For as great as Minnesota is, almost no one goes there unless they have a reason; it’s their loss. Minnesota is reason enough. But I live in California now.

So San Francisco, help me celebrate what will soon be a year out here. Come to Inner Sunset and grab a drink with me at Social Kitchen, or we can meet halfway in the Haight for Toronado if you prefer. Let’s finally play some games. Let’s get a float from Humphrey Slocombe or watch the City Lights at the Ferry Building. Hell, let’s catch a Giants game one of these days, even if it costs too much. Come with me to a show one of these days, I swear you’ll enjoy it. Or just hang out in Golden Gate. And Minnesotans, come visit. I know you’ve got a great state, but I’ve got a hell of a city to show off to you. Give me a reason to get back to Zeitgeist, or to cross the Bay and hit up Beer Revolution. If not there, well, there’s always some good Burmese to grab, or a Mission burrito, or really pretty much anything here. Just bring good walking shoes with you, and don’t be afraid to get them a little dirty when we go up to Mount Davidson. It’s always muddy up that way in the summer anyway, it seems. Whatever it is, let’s do it. Who knows when we’ll get the chance again, or how long I’ll be here. I’m not planning on leaving, but you never really know where life takes you. So let’s get out there and do something.

And if you can’t make it from Minnesota, don’t worry, I’ll be seeing you again soon.

Minnesota Bound

In which the author must confess that she feels quite different about going back a second time but she still talks a lot about what makes Minnesota so special yet again.

It takes a special kind of person to willingly go to Minnesota in February. I don’t have any blood relatives there, yet so many of the people there feel like family. But other than going to the one place that feels more religious to me than just about any other (bow at the altar of First Avenue), I didn’t really have much of an excuse other than I love the place, I love the people, and even if I never move back, I can’t imagine not going back at least once a year. Pretty much everyone I talk to here in San Francisco just looks at me like I have gone crazy when I utter sentences like “I can’t wait to go to Duluth” or “It’ll only be -13 when I get in, could be worse”. Well, not my fellow Minnesotans here. They know. There’s something wild and crazy for certain, but there are things you can only do and see in the dead of a Minnesota weather.
Be it frozen waterfalls or pond hockey championships, ice fishing or art shanties, bonfires on lakes or a good sundog, there are things you just have to be there to appreciate. And trust me, while I appreciate the fact that it will never get below freezing here, it also rarely gets above seventy too. There’s something compressed in San Francisco, this year more than ever, a lack of seasons. And as much as any good Minnesotan spends most of the winter complaining about the cold, there’s a bonding element to it all. There is something to be said for the nights that are just too cold to go out or how great twenty degrees with no wind feels after a subzero blast. And if the weather drives everyone crazy in the process, then at least everyone goes crazy together. It’s a unifying force anywhere, but especially places like Minnesota, where some days it is just that cold.

But it’s no longer a unifying force for me. I just see the status updates and tweets and laugh about it a little. Now, I pray for rain like the rest of the Bay Area, and I absentmindedly wonder when the next earthquake might be when I hear the sirens every Tuesday at noon. When I go back to Minnesota, I am just an interloper now. And unlike last trip, it won’t have the quite the overwhelming nostalgia of the first trip back. Sure, I’ll be seeing people, places, events for the first time since I left, but it won’t be everything like last time. And I am sure elements of the Cities will look totally different and foreign to me. It’s only been four months, but change happens quickly and it’s hardest to see when we’re in the middle of it. Someone in Minnesota will suggest a favorite place to grab a drink or a meal that wasn’t even there when I left. My mental maps of Minnesota and Saint Paul become more and more outdated, my mental cartography now concerned with the fastest way between Inner Richmond and Hayes Valley in a way that didn’t mean anything until six months ago. While those maps will never be totally outdated, they have the potential to become obsolete, the longer I go between updates (though hopefully they’ll always remain better than Apple maps). My last trip almost felt like something I had to get out of my system to truly accept that I do live here in San Francisco now, that (my current issues with the DMV excepted) this is now where I live. The last trip had that weird mix of hopeful nostalgia and longing. This time around, it feels much less so. There will still be elements that are inherently Minnesotan about this trip, the pleasure of seeing Low, or having a Summit or a Surly with friends. But there are also new bands to hear and new beers to try. The place hasn’t exactly sat still on account of me.

Minnesota will always be a part of me. One does not live somewhere for a decade and not build up that kind of relationship. And there will always be parts of me that belong to Minnesota, little offerings that I have left behind, freely given, never to be returned. It’s where I really learned how to live, or at least how to be truly be myself. That will never change. It’ll never just be any trip. It’ll never feel quite like a vacation. Sure, there will be time off, but it truly feels like those old trips to Virginia felt, where there’s no way I’ll see everyone and there’s always too much to do. That’s how I used to recognize that Virginia was home, or at least where I was from. But now the trips to Virginia are lazy days mostly, many people have moved on, and though I was born there, if my parents weren’t still there, I’m not certain how often I’d get back. My last two trips were both for weddings, after all. It doesn’t really feel like going home, not like going to Minnesota does these days. Where I was born is a static fact, something that will never change, and it’ll always be the Commonwealth. Where I’m from is a bit more mutable. And for a few more days, it’s time to go back and visit where I’m from.

On The Road

As I’ve documented in recent entries, I’ve gone carless. In my home life at least. But in the last week and a half, I spent some time behind the wheel of a couple different vehicles while traveling. I suppose I didn’t absolutely need a vehicle in Minnesota. Though I don’t know how else I would have gotten a couple other places, the majority of the places I visited would have been just as accessible via public transit. It’ll only get easier when the Light Rail finally opens (2014 is almost here?). But for this trip, I went through a nice little off-airport company that hooked me up with a car made in the same decade I was driving it (a rarity for me). It was, on the whole, a pretty nice experience. In Virginia? Well, if I’m only trying to get around Arlington and DC, sure, I don’t need anything, but otherwise, I don’t know how I would have done a wedding reception in Lorton without a vehicle. My parents, as per usual, let me use a car, which I always appreciate. First, it’s good to periodically brush up on my manual vehicle skills (don’t worry, I’ve still got it, just don’t ask the clutch for an opinion). Second, between staying with them and being able to borrow a vehicle, it really makes any trip to Virginia much more tenable (both in cost and access to things). Now I’m heading back to my personally carless life in San Francisco. And I’m happy about that. Here’s some things I’ve learned with a bit of perspective. Some I’ve mentioned before; some I’ve subtly realized over the past 11 days; some just hit me right over the head:

1) Even when gas is only $3.09/gallon (like it was at several places in Minnesota), I’m glad I’m not paying for that anymore. Even if it was only twice a month, that adds up pretty quickly. That’s $100 pretty quickly. Not that I’d be driving all that much. But I’ll take all the found money I can in San Francisco. Not that it was found money, per se. I still pay for transit in San Francisco, but the majority of it is a flat monthly fee of $76, pre-tax (thanks Wells!) that lets me take most modes of transit in the city. I don’t think I ever appropriately appreciated how much I spent on gas, even when I did a better job at budgeting. Even when I was biking fairly consistently, carpooling to shows, and using MetroTransit occasionally, I still managed to rack up a decent monthly bill. Even as the cost has gone up, it’s still just an expected expense to most of us. Now I think about it a little differently.

2) I definitely did a couple careless things in the first few days in the car. It wasn’t because I was texting or trying to eat while I was driving or anything like it. It’s just because I forgot how taxing driving is. It really demands your attention. I don’t miss that at all. I don’t miss nearly hitting people that you swore weren’t there before, because even when all of us pay attention, things like that happen. It only takes a second for those sorts of situations to become something much worse. I don’t miss vehicles that probably didn’t come out of anywhere even though in my mind they sort of felt that way. I’d rather save my energy for other endeavors, thank you very much.

3) I found my relationship with parking changed a little bit. Obviously it wasn’t an issue everywhere, but it’s sometimes it’s just a tedious waste of time trying to find a space or a lot. Of course, the same argument could be made of waiting for MUNI or BART. But at least when I am doing that I can just relax and wait for the vehicle, or check my phone, or just stand there. Sometimes I spent more time trying to park than I did at places I went. And I also embraced pay parking a lot more since I don’t do it all that much anymore. Logically, in my city-dwelling mind, I know that free parking is a myth. We (as a society) pay for that one way or the other. That’s a resource that the city is deploying, whether it’s on street parking that could be used in other ways that benefit the area (wider sidewalks for better walking and outdoor seating for businesses or bike lanes come to mind as alternatives) or surface lots begging to be turned into just about anything more useful like apartments or businesses. But I grew up in the suburbs. I grew up going to malls and shopping centers that had endless miles of parking lots in my mind. Free, endless blacktop was sort of an expectation. So I still feel like I should be able to find parking anywhere I go, just a little. Even if I know it’s ridiculous. Perhaps some time away from a car as an everyday item will help me finally get away from that attitude. I had much less trouble pulling into garages and feeding meters on this trip.

4) I hate traffic. I really really hate it. I certainly still get stuck in it, on the bus, riding with other people. It’s a big problem that plenty of people have spent a lot of energy on, and will continue to spend energy on. I sincerely hope there’s anyone out there who enjoys it. It’s nice to not feeling the frustration of sitting in a car inching along a city street or a major interstate more often in my life. The bus does it all the time and it’s still a problem. My commute could still take a lot less time if there were some magical solution to congestion (though there are definitely good ideas, like congestion pricing). But I’m pretty nonchalant about it on the bus. When I’m sitting in the car? It’s a whole different issue.

5) Driving can really makes me angry and apoplectic. I have more colorful invectives for a guy who squeezes into the space I’m keeping between me and the car in front of me than I do for a lot of other things in life (and some of them probably deserve those invectives a bit more). I wonder why that is. It’s like driving fills all of us with the same amount of vituperation this guy had for the person who made his poor burrito. Is it because it’s a safe space to be angry at someone like that? I mean, the other driver is definitely not hearing whatever it is I’m saying. I pound steering wheels like the best of ‘em. Why do we do that? I am not the only one. I’ve been a passenger many a time and seen other people who are normally pretty staid individuals string together curses that make me blush when someone doesn’t signal. I am certain I’ve done the same.

6) Despite all of that, I really miss nice, open road driving. The kind where you just go. Dropping gears when going around a corner on a winding road on Virginia that no one else is on? It’s like a birthright. I miss popping on the right song or record and just going when you get the chance. I miss the illusory feeling that I can go anywhere. I had places to be most of the time when I was driving and it wasn’t like I just got in the car and drove west or anything crazy like that. But it always feels like, even if it’s just for a moment, you always have that potential with a car. It’s still that expression of freedom. Other vehicles require more planning, but the car? It’s the biggest embodiment of that feeing. Most of us will never get in a car and just do that. But haven’t you thought that, just for a second behind the wheel?

7) It’s nice to not worry about the kind of responsibility that driving entails. Think about it terms of alcohol. It’s no secret I enjoy a good beer or cocktail when I get the chance. With a good meal or at a show, it’s just a nice compliment. Some nights, I have a couple more. I’m still thinking about the cost, or whether I even want to have a beer. But as we say in the business, by not using an automobile as my primary transportation, it’s just mitigating the risk. I am still mindful of how much I drink in the sense that it’s my job to take care of myself. As I should be. I still stay completely sober the majority of the time I go out in San Francisco. In Minnesota, I had to exercise that extra layer of discretion for the first time in a while as I was drinking and had access to a vehicle. I have no problem exercising that discretion. There’s plenty of awareness around that and I am not an idiot. It’s not a little thing one just forgets about driving. I am still trying to be responsible because that’s on me. But if I’m being honest about one of the benefits of being carless, that’s an honest thing to consider. Not an excuse to get wasted by any means, but still a true aspect.

I don’t think I ever appropriately appreciated the cost of driving. I doubt many of us spend our time thinking about it. Or at least appropriately understand it. I still am only scratching the surface on these kinds of thoughts. It’s obviously a great thing to be able to do. I love driving at times. There are places I never would have been, things I never would have done without the cars I’ve owned. I will at least continue to rent cars or borrow them on occasion and I think it’s a worthwhile skill to have even if I’m not using it all that much. Some day in the future I may own one again. But there are obviously a lot of costs associated with it that I never really paid much mind to, because they are subsidized by society in one way or another. It makes me realize there are probably a lot of things I do that I don’t really question my relationship with. I’ve begin to challenge those things a bit more as I’ve gotten older. Where I live in relation to where I work, the true cost of the things I use in my life, what I eat (or don’t eat), how I get around, those are all help make up who I am. It’s good to challenge those ideas. It’s also good to revisit them. I am sure my relationship with the automobile will continue to evolve. This is a reminder to continue to think about even those things that have been integral to our lives. Because those things can change. Quicker than you might believe. I’m not saying you should go out and get rid of your car tomorrow. But spend a couple minutes thinking about it. I assure you, it’s a curious exercise.

Why Don’t You Stay Behind?

When I look around the Twin Cities, there are fuzzy, gray figures at the edge of a lot of those places, people, standing on the periphery, that I never got to know so well, that remain undeveloped in my mind, out of focus while I stand at the Entry or while I drink at the CC. In some cases, they are people I knew long ago. In some cases, they are people I never really got to know. There’s a darkness that starts to settle after a few days here, as the long shadows of my time here begin to creep into view. There are names that I don’t think about much, and even though it didn’t seem that way at the time, names that I have forgotten. But something’s still there.

A week is just about the perfect amount of time to be here. I am, perhaps, justifying my own decision to use a week a vacation here, but it doesn’t feel that way at all. As I sit in the terminal waiting for my flight, it feels that way. There’s always too much to do. At least that’s how I feel when I travel. Whether it’s a totally foreign destination or someplace that I know quite well, the list of things to do is always longer than the amount of time I have. Or the amount of money. Or my ability to schedule. I know that I missed some people; I know that some people missed me. It happens. I know that it was not intentional on my part, that things just fell through, that there are some people I definitely should have tried harder to schedule with or get in touch with. And others may also share in those feelings. As I told a friend, I try not to get too presumptuous about that sort of stuff. It’s a little careless of me to think that just because I’ve been gone for half of 2013 everyone’s gonna just clear their schedule for me. And I can’t pick my trip to fit everyone’s schedule. Hell, I have enough trouble making an itinerary that fits my own. But a week is enough time to hopefully fit in as much of that as possible. As I look down the list of things I set out for myself, I got through most of them. But the longer I’m here, the more there’s that creeping feeling, the more some things I thought I’d forgot come to the foreground because there’s nothing in San Francisco to remind me of them.

It’s not like it’s all terrible things, either. Some of them are certainly bad memories. But most of them are just inchoate sorts of affairs. Budding friendships cut off by circumstance. Opportunities that I didn’t take. Reminders of decisions I made and the occasional consequences of them. I know this all sounds vague, but it’s hard to pin down, which is why. It’s obvious what kind of memories I get when I pass by 2703 Aldrich to the degree that I lived there for a tumultuous year and a half prior to transition; it’s the last place I shared with Christian, where we hosted an amazing Tetris party, but also where our friendship dissolved. It makes sense that I’d be flooded with a mix of conflicting feelings when I look up at that second-story balcony. But it’s less obvious what sort of memories kick up walking toward Lake of the Isles, or in the parking lot of Pizza Lucé. There are weird, dissociated memories of talking with people at the 400 for hours only to realize you never spoke with them again and that place isn’t even there anymore. Perhaps it’s not so much that I see good or bad things here (though I certainly have my share of memories associated with places) as much as I just see a lot of potential. Perhaps it’s just because I haven’t had time to build up those sorts of memories in San Francisco and I’m at such a different point in my life that I will never, ever view it like I view the Twin Cities. Whatever it is (and I struggle to come up with an appropriate name), it certainly feels unique to this location.

A week is enough time to revisit some of those feelings. It’s enough time to see old friends, make a couple new ones, and go all sorts of places that I feel welcome simply based on the virtue that they know me. Sometimes they know me as nothing more than the person who always orders the #7. Sometimes they were already asking questions about life in the 7×7. Sometimes it was just the simple statement that I had not come in for a while. I am glad to relive all of that. I am glad that I managed to coalesce friends into coming out to happy hours, into playing poker, into playing Innovation, into sharing drinks at the CC, or whatever else it was. I wish that I had more time sometimes, that I had thought to organize a dinner last night a few weeks back instead of just kinda bouncing it around with some people without making plans. But like I said, other feelings also start to creep in. The longer I sit here, the more I begin to doubt myself. Why the hell did I go through all this trouble to move? Why leave this behind?

It’s that potential again. What would have happened? Of course the Twin Cities are full of little memories that make me wonder that, but moving to San Francisco? That’s a pretty big what if scenario. I doubt there will be many others in my life of a similar magnitude. For whatever reason, all the other stops in my life do not feel as riddled with reminders of the decisions I made. I never seriously entertained staying in Virginia for college, nor did I want to. Nor did I seriously entertain the notion of staying in Iowa for more than four years. And while I can certainly think of memories that invariably cause me to wonder how things might have gone differently. I don’t get reminded of those sorts of feelings the same way in Virginia or Iowa. Or perhaps I do. Perhaps that’s why it’s always hard for me to go back the first time. I have, perhaps, just forgotten what those feelings are like for those places.

But shake it off. Those feelings are always there, just a bit. It’s natural to wonder what would have happened to have done just about anything in life differently, big or small. But it’s useless to dwell on it. The older I get, the more going to Virginia feels like a vacation, the more foreign it becomes. My parents live in a house I have almost no associations with. My friends, for the most part, do not call the Commonwealth home anymore. The places I remember are now fairly distant memories and I rarely see any of those things when I make it back to Virginia. It’s hard to imagine that Minnesota will ever feel like that, but I don’t really know if it will. I could just as easily spend the next 10 years on the West Coast as I could come back. Part of the idea of moving to San Francisco was being open again to where that undercurrent in life will take me. What opportunities in life will I follow? What will I gain? What will I give up?

We make those choices all the time. And this trip was always going to be equal parts reveling in all that I have, the memories, the friends, the places, the things I learned about myself both in Minnesota and as a Minnesotan, and seeing occasional reminders of the things I no longer have, either as much or at all, in my life right now. And what I do with those feelings is on me. Stay too long, and those hypotheticals and negatives may subsume all the positive stuff. Hell, they are probably comingling all the time. The trick is to avoiding letting the hypotheticals and the negatives consume all the positive stuff. This trip was the right balance of great new memories, and a mix of nostalgia, great old memories, all that I left unrealized and some negative thoughts of things I miss, that I never will find again.
The last song I heard as I pulled my rental into the Ace lot was “Blue” by The Jayhawks. It is a song I very much associate with Minnesota. It’s a perfect song for this feeling. I don’t know how to answer many of the questions it poses right now. I’m still thinking about it hours later, at the airport, on the plane. It is, of course, just a coincidence, a quirk of timing, or as another musician still heavily associated with Minnesota after all these years best put it, a simple twist of fate. The last song could have just as easily been a meaningless affair by a band that I do not care about. That it worked out that way is nothing more than how things came together, like so many other parts of my life. It is no more significant than whatever significance I assign to it. I logically appreciate all of that. But none of that changes the way that it made me feel. Whether it’s a requiem or just a simple farewell I’m still not entirely sure.

Past Perfect

Wednesday night figures to be a weird one for me. For the first time in a long time, I’ll be setting foot in Minnesota not as a resident, but as a visitor. If past experience is any indicator, the first time back will be particularly tough. It was the first time I went back to Virginia from college. It was the first time I went back to Ames from Minnesota. I’d like to think that as I’ve gotten older, I’d get better at navigating that weird sense of lost potential at leaving a place behind. But I haven’t. I know it’ll be fun. I know it’ll be great to see some people that I haven’t in a while that are no longer just on the other side of the metro area. I know it’ll be great to go into places that feel familiar, that have Surly on tap and have cribbage boards behind the bars. But those places won’t be the same.

Whenever people move on, they keep these images and ideas of places. And though I’ve obviously had new and exciting experiences since I’ve been here beyond the more banal things like finding a new favorite bakery or bar to catch a Caps game in, they are always going to be compared to those experiences in the Twin Cities, big or small. The two places are quite different, but that comparison is natural. Minnesota is what I know. It wasn’t where I was born, or even the place I’ve spent the longest, but it’s the place that feels like home the most, at least for me as an adult. I have these ideas of the places that I frequented, The Bulldog, First Ave, A Baker’s Wife, and everything I go to here is seen through that lens, fairly or unfairly. It’s in our nature to compare things. Now I’ve learned to set aside some of those expectations. It’s useless to pine for that which I cannot have here, and even more useless to worry about that when I have so much that I didn’t necessarily have before. I can run to the Pacific Ocean. I repeat, the Pacific Ocean. That’s pretty fucking cool, right? So I try to keep the comparisons to a minimum. They still crop up from time to time, of course, because it’s a natural impulse. But I do the things here that there are to do. And as much as my life a year ago was built around venues like the Entry and the Turf and First Ave and the Triple Rock, now it’s built around Rickshaw Stop and The Chapel and Great American Music Hall and (though I still haven’t been yet…but soon!) The Fillmore. It extends beyond music, of course, but that’s a nice tangible one to latch onto. So even as I logically appreciate that I’m someplace quite different, there’s still those natural comparisons going on in my mind.

But when I go back, I’m going to Minnesota, not my Minnesota. In the past few months, it’s moved on and changed and grown, too. It feels like a city in a bottle to me, this static image that I keep on a shelf and occasionally look at. Because my version of Minneapolis and my version of Saint Paul have both done that. They’ve stopped growing the same way they did when I lived there. Of course I still hear about things going on in those places. But my images and ideas of the Twin Cities don’t necessarily change much with it. Perhaps it’s a touch different in a day and age where it’s so easy to share information about those change, but the overall concept still feels the same. I’m going back a place that is not quite the same place. I no longer own that condo in Lowertown. And there’s no guarantee that the baristas and bartenders are still in the same places that I remember them being in. Certainly with my friends that I’ve kept in touch with I’m aware of the changes big and small in their lives, and I can see what those changes are much more easily thanks to the proliferation of quick communications technology. And while my knowledge base is still pretty strong in regard to what’s there, of course it’s going to atrophy. I have a lot of new things to learn, and a lot of streets that seem to make even less sense here. But gradually, my mind has started to make some order of the streets of San Francisco, of its buses and venues and bars and what not.

This trip will be my first stark reminder of those changes. Maybe that’s why the first one is always the toughest for me. This is the trip where I have to truly accept that I’ll never know the city as well as I did; even if I move back, I’ll have to learn it again. I’ll be at a different point in my life and I’ll have to grow with it again. What I expect from the places I live changes over time, even if I don’t consciously appreciate or realize it. But this will be tough because it forces me to reconcile that what I remember about places changes too. Certainly most of the institutions I’ve visited over the past ten years will still be there. But even in five months, First Ave went and purchased the Turf Club, which is a pretty big change if you ask me. None of the institutions that I remember going to have closed, at least, but they’re all slightly changing, and one day, I’ll go back and they won’t be there. And I won’t be there either, not in the same way I was.

The Twin Cities are changing on you, too, if you are still there, the same way San Francisco is changing on me, but we miss it due to landscape amnesia. Ames is still a town, but it’s hardly the town I remember, and I’m hardly the person who spent four years there. It’s a much more detached quality now, even though I still have friends there. It’s just far enough in the past now that it’s a different feeling. And I’m sure somewhere down the road, I could end up feeling the same way about the Twin Cities. Or I could end up back in the Twin Cities. Who knows? That’s a ways away.

There’s a great couplet in a great song by Keepaway (an otherwise pedestrian band) called Yellow Wings. “I think I finally know what I want/I want to be two places at once”. It’s certainly not an original thought. But it’s one that’s been on my mind a lot as I start figuring out what I need to bring for this trip. It was really hard to leave Minnesota. It’s gonna be really hard to be back there and not feel that way again. This is in no way me saying that moving here was a mistake. Irrelevant of where I am in a couple years, this is the decision I made, and one that I still think is worthwhile. It’s been fun so far to test my mettle against San Francisco, to try and tame it and not go broke, and to experience all that it has to offer, even if it’s felt hard sometimes. Sure, it’s expensive, but it’s also felt hard because I don’t know that many people here yet and any move is hard and any new situation is too. There are plenty of days where I see some concert going on in Minnesota or I see a nice picture from a state park or someone texts me a picture of a Spotted Cow from a cookout and I wish I were there for those moments. Not that I actually would have necessarily gone to that show or that park or that cookout had I been there, though. I think it’s about the potential. Right now, that potential is in San Francisco, and even though there’s no way to do them all, there’s so many things I could do. That potential used to lie in the Twin Cities. Now that potential is gone. Sometimes, I wish I were both places, and I could do all the things both cities had to offer. But there’s no way to solve that central issue. I can’t be both places at once.

But for a week, I will be there and not here in my apartment in San Francisco. If there’s a little melancholia behind a toast at Lyle’s, or a game of Innovation, or a show at the Triple Rock, well, it’s just me working that out. I accepted what I would be giving up in leaving Minnesota six months ago when I accepted this job. The first trip? It’s always accepting that once again. In some cases, I left places because my time was through there. That was certainly the case for Virginia, as I’d graduated high school, and Iowa, because I’d graduated college. In this case, I didn’t graduate anything. So maybe it won’t be the same. But I think it will. It’s still working that all out once again. Even if I thought I had it figured out as I looked at my empty condo one more time, as I shared those always amusing 2-for-1 glasses with a few of you at Lyle’s, as I got into my overloaded car that I no longer own and I plotted a course toward Pipestone, MN, the first of several stops on the way out west. Perhaps it’s just as hard for me to work out the past as it slides into the past perfect as it is for me to work out the present sliding into the past. Still, it’ll be great to see everyone. It’ll be great to look at Minnehaha again, even if I won’t get any pictures of it when it’s frozen this year. It’ll be great to have cheese curds. It’ll be great to sit with old friends and play games and meet new babies. It’ll be great to see a familiar face behind the bar at The VFW, even if it’s a salty one. It’ll be great to catch up because I have no doubt your life has changed in more ways than you have shared on Facebook or Twitter. Perhaps I will even try something new while I’m there, something I never actually did while I lived there like go to the Mill City Museum. Perhaps in addition to the cities I know, I’ll see parts of the Twin Cities I didn’t know. Even if bits and pieces start to fade, there will always be new experiences to be had. For a week, all that potential will be back in the place where it rested for so long.

This time, though? I know the ending. I get on a plane and I fly to DC for a long weekend in the place where I grew up, a place that I have plenty of memories at as well. I had lived in Virginia long before I lived in Minnesota. And perhaps that right there is the key.

This Is Happening

Every time I sign into Lexis Nexis, I’m greeted with a picture of the Bay Bridge (going into San Francisco). There’s something mildly idyllic about looking at it when I can pop my head around a cube wall and see snow falling some winter (or spring) days. Here’s a city where that would never be a problem. Sure, it has its own, but snow is not one of them. Don’t get me wrong. I love snow. But some days, grinding down 94 in a car or a bus (or if you are really brave, down Summit on a bike), I have to wonder. What would it be like to live someplace else? I’ve lived in the Midwest my entire adult life, and Minnesota the entire effective part of it (college was great, but I certainly didn’t feel very adult). And when I look around the landscape, I look at cities that I could see myself in. Some I’ve only heard tales of, or have not been back to as an adult (here’s looking at you, Pacific Northwest). Others, I’ve had the fortune of getting to a time or five in the past few years, like Los Angeles and San Francisco. And there it is again. It’s certainly a city I’ve gotten to know over the years. Not extensively, by any means. I’ve only been there a few times. But every trip I take always leaves me wanting a little more, a bit more time to see what’s a bit further down Valencia or where I might be able to find a better croissant than at Tartine lurking in the city (probable answer: nowhere). I want to spend a bit more time digging through the stacks at Aquarius, and I really ought to see a show somewhere other than the Independent (though that Keep Shelly In Athens show was sublime). Well? Now’s my chance.

It’s exciting. It’s terrifying. It’s exhilarating. It’s crazy. But it’s what I’m doing. In late May, I will be working as a Financial Crimes Consultant 2 (oh, the numbers). Still for Wells; just in San Francisco. You know, little things. Now this shouldn’t particularly come as a surprise if you see me in the Twin Cities. It has certainly come up a lot in conversation recently. But this, this is definite. Waiting to sign all the paperwork that comes after it, and all the other shenanigans that go along with that, but I have accepted the offer. And for the rest of you? It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise either. I’ve had my eye on the West for a while; even just internally, there are a lot of good opportunities in the areas I’m interested in working in Portland and San Francisco. There are pretty good opportunities here in the Twin Cities too. And it’d be no surprise to me if one of those opportunities brings me back here one day. But today takes me away from the Twin Cities.

Of course, I’ve already been working on getting ready for this. I’ve made career decisions in the past few years, mindful that they may lead exactly to the kind of opportunity I find myself with. And in the shorter term, as this became more realistic, I’ve spent plenty of time trying to prepare myself for the possibility of moving. That’s why April has been so crazy, with the spotty writing, and the spotting getting out to do things. It’s why I’ve had a bunch of auctions up on eBay and I have a few more to get up. It’s why I look at almost everything in my condo and see an associated number I can hopefully negotiate for it on Craigslist or with friends in need of those particular objects. Hell, it’s why my condo is listed. I’ve had one foot in the door and one foot out for a bit now, trying to navigate this opportunity and make sure it was the right fit. Today, I confirmed that.

Now, I’m left with a few terrifyingly busy weeks to get everything in order (or as much as possible). I don’t really know where I’m going to live, or exactly when I can expect someone to buy my condo. I have no idea how I’m going to get my stuff out of my place, or exactly how I’m going to get everything out here. I’m trying to reduce the load of what everything entails. I wonder exactly how much work it’s going to be to leave things in (relative) order at work. I wonder what my last show will be in the Mainroom and exactly what venue will step up to replace 7th Street Entry in my heart (probable answer: none). I wonder how it’s going to be to not know all the people at the doors of the various clubs. I wonder why I bought good winter boots last year now.

I will cry. A lot. I’m leaving behind so many people and places that I love by doing this. It doesn’t mean I won’t get back to them, or even be back sometime down the road. But it’s still emotional. I am going to miss Minnesota. I feel like it’s the first place where I finally found myself, like all the years before that were just precursors to who I am fully. I may have been born in Virginia (and had many wonderful experiences there) and had a nice stopover in Iowa (with a lot of wonderful people), but I feel Minnesotan. I doubt that will change. But I also know that there will be new places and new people. And some of the old people will pop up in surprising ways. None of that makes it any easier to give up what you know. Perhaps if I hated Minnesota or my life there, I would just find myself saying good riddance and loading up the car to be a simple, if tedious, task. That is obviously not the case though.

So Minnesota, carve out a little time for me to grab one more beer at The Bulldog. Come, buy my Expedit (or really, my entire condo because Lowertown is an amazing neighborhood) or a lot of my other stuff. Spend another couple hours with me at a show at the Entry or the Turf. For my part, I’m due up for one more picture of Minnehaha at least, one more chocolate donut at A Baker’s Wife, and one more of many other things. There’s no way I’ll have time to do it all. But none of us ever have time to do it all. I’ll do my best. You have to give to get. I am giving up a lot, but I know in my heart I’m getting a lot back as well. There will be new bars to find, new favorite beers to try, new favorite places to stand in the local venues, new cake donuts, and new beauty to find tucked in the heart of the city somewhere. See me off well, and make some time for me to come back as I will for you. Let’s all have fun one more time, whether fun is a game of poker or a game of Settlers, a margarita from Barrio or a Margherita from Punch, or whatever else it may be. Whatever it is, it’s gonna be a hell of a time, these next few weeks. Let’s do ’em right.

And California, I’ll be seeing you again soon.

What I Did This Weekend

Here’s a few of my favorites from the weekend:

Crashed Ice

Crashed Ice 01

Crashed Ice 02

Crashed Ice 03

Crashed Ice 04

Crashed Ice 05


Minnehaha 01

Minnehaha 02

Minnehaha 03Minnehaha 04

Minnehaha 05

The Art Of Nothing

In the past, it’s been a general habit not to write in the Commonwealth. Whether it’s a lack of a computer or me not having the time, though, I’m taking this trip back to the homeland a bit differently. One of the problems that most of us have with vacations is that we try to do too much. One could argue that that’s a permanent sort of problem that most of us have. I am no exception. I may give off that vibe that I do too much all the time (though I don’t feel that I do). I may just do too much all the time. It could just be that I got lucky and won out on the “how much sleep I need to function” end of things. Really, we’re never going to know for certain. All I know is that today, for the first time in a long time, I really didn’t have anything to do. My parents asked me to help out with a couple things (considering the free lodging, free car, and years of expenses from my upbringing, certainly manageable), but otherwise today is a wide-open day to just sit around and not do anything. It’s really a glorious feeling.

Even when I try to do it in Saint Paul, I fail at it (at least on the larger scale). It’s hard to do nothing in your own space. When you look around, all you see are the big and little things that need doing, whether it’s a half-completed house project or a pile of dishes waiting to be loaded up in the washer. And it’s hard to do nothing someplace you’ve never been before. Shouldn’t one seize the opportunity to see what is down that next street in San Francisco, because it’s going to be something amazing? But this is Virginia. Not that I’ve seen it all or done it all, but growing up 18 years here, I certainly had the opportunity. And even if I only make it back once a year, I still have plenty of time to check off the little things I want to take care of on a trip, whether it’s a trip to a new venue (Red Palace) or a laid-back meal at the kind of brew pub we all need near where we live. So maybe this is just a bit of a unique space where it feels easy to get away with it. I’m not pressured to try some new restaurant, or go check out Air and Space for the nth time, or hit some trail. Certainly, I can and will do things like that on this trip. Just not today.

I definitely thought about making today a bit more busy. I was looking at things to do heading east into DC. Maybe a museum or something of that ilk. I was looking at things to do heading west, maybe a hike or just a drive away from all the people of northern Virginia. In the end I settled on something entirely me (Deafheaven at DC9) that doesn’t even start until a fair bit later. And while I could turn it into a hectic DC day of museum-hopping, monuments, and music, I just wasn’t feeling it. There will always be a monument that I haven’t gotten to in DC. At least when I only get back as often as I do. But there’s not always time for nothing. As we get older, it seems so much harder to find time to just do nothing. There’s always something that needs to be done. There always will be. When you are where you normally live, it feels irresponsible not to at least tackle some of the many tasks that need to be handled. When you are away from home, it feels irresponsible to not seize the moments that you have and do those things that you may never have the opportunity to do again. Though that’s just as true of wherever you might call home, the attached weight and pressure is just different. It’s easier to ignore something that you can (but won’t) do tomorrow, like go to the Minnesota History Center than it is when you are out of town.

But if there’s always going to be too much to do in the day-to-day, shouldn’t we as individuals make more of a concerted effort to find time in which we don’t do anything? Or least not anything that feels like it’s pressing down on us? I’m not just talking 10 minutes here or there. I’m talking half a day or a whole day. Certainly I did things today. So far I went for a run, grabbed lunch, swung by a car wash, and picked up a box fan. Somewhere, I carved out a bit of time to take care of this. And I just talked with my mom for a while, something that I definitely don’t get the opportunity to do every day, but nonetheless, another sort of carefree-feeling activity. Still, there are little spaces where I lie in bed or sit on the couch. Maybe a record’s on, but just as likely there’s nothing playing, and I just relax. I revel in those small moments of nothing. We all need them to recharge. Sure, there’s always something going on, and I do my damnedest to get to as much of it as possible. But there’s the paradoxical need to make sure that while trying to do as much as possible, I set aside those times to practice the art of nothing. I’m not talking putting on a tv show or a record or picking up a book. Not reading an article on your smart phone. Just nothing. For a few minutes at least. But sometimes you just need a bit more. Not that often, but I have to respect those times. Today is one of them. And other than stealing a few minutes here and there, who knows when the next one will come? Probably August if I get another backpacking trip in. Just remember to try and leave a little time for nothing somewhere, because I’m guessing just like me, you need it.

Explore Minnesota

As I was riding home today, I’m pretty sure I saw half of the Twin Cities, walking dogs, riding bikes, jogging, just enjoying what has been the best day in a winter full of good days. I think we can officially put winter to bed for 2012. Certainly it will be chilly in the mornings still, but I don’t see a high below 40 or a low below 20 for the next several days, so I can start thinking about shedding a layer on the morning rides, slipping in an extra five minutes, and hopefully getting home a few minutes sooner since it’s that much less clothing to put on and take off. That’s the hidden cost of winter biking. There’s a lot of layers going on there, and all that clothing takes a lot of time. So I think I can suffer through a couple mornings in the near future as I keep hitting the bike.

Unfortunately, I only just crossed the 700 mile mark for 2012. I know, I’m so lazy. On the plus side, I have ridden 32 of out 66 days (outside, at least…exercise bikes hardly count), and that percentage is sure to go up as we get into the stretch where I ride to shows, Twins games, or whatever the hell else catches my interest. I know that the longer days are ahead of me, when I start turning in 40 and 50 miles instead of just 22. And you know what? I look forward to it. Of course, spring and summer come with their own special hazards as more and more people crowd the roads and trails. It’s always a little treacherous on these first few nice days, not because of the ice (though that will be back in force one of the next few mornings), but because everyone out there is getting their bearings. I want them to, but you have to pay attention. People are still working on the kinks on their rides, still getting back in the swing of the simple courtesies of the road, and generally that stuff is not automatic. But it does come back (except for those jackasses who just never had it and never seem to want to find it).

It’s going to be tougher to get a tune-up, but that’s a good thing. That means more people are getting ready to get out there. Don’t take it into the shop just to put it back in your garage or basement and not pull it out again. There’s a bike storage room in my building and I swear 4/5ths of those bikes never move. Some of the owners may not even live there any more at this rate. Setting that aside, I should call Freewheel and schedule some time, because my bike needs some work as it is.

And if you want to see Lake Calhoun, you better go now. Because it just gets ungodly as it warms up. It’s the one place I am happy to be when it’s raining or cloudy or cold because half the Twin Cities is there if it’s nice. Bless their hearts, but there’s too many people who are just there to be seen. And there are so many better lakes in the chain. Maybe you are out there to see and be seen. I’m fine with that when I’m walking. But it’s a mess on a bike. There’s just not as much to see at 15 miles an hour.

Look, I’m not saying I expect you to start biking to work tomorrow (though, you know, it’s not that hard…). I know we all have a lot of things in our lives that pull us simultaneously impossible directions. While it would be noble to ride to work every single day, that’s just not going to happen in my life. Not that I shouldn’t try to make it happen every day, but there’s a lot to juggle. Sometimes I need to be in Brooklyn Park at 6, and while I certainly could do that on a bike, there’s still the fact that I would somehow need to get back to Saint Paul later that evening. Even someone like me who bikes a fair amount has to make those decisions. And maybe it’s not biking for you. All I’m saying is, I get that winter is an easy excuse to not do things. Especially this winter, when the normal wintry things weren’t even possible. Minnehaha was a little sad, though it was also nice to see the only partially frozen falls. It’s a bit different.

Anyway, it’s time to get onto those goals. Because this year, I’m figuring out how to get my bike from Saint Paul to Hastings. And though my mileage was a little disappointing for the first couple months, 6000 miles is still a realistic goal. Because the 200 mile weeks will begin to pile up. It’s not all that much anyway. My parents will ride at least as much as me probably, and I have an uncle who will definitely ride twice that. I bike because I enjoy it. I don’t expect everyone to. But if you are getting out there, are you enjoying what you do? Because you should. There are too many great things to do, especially right here in Minnesota, for you to be spending too much time doing one that you don’t enjoy. Whether it’s on a lake, around a lake, or nowhere near one doesn’t really matter. We can get too caught up in all the various bullshit of life. The long work days, the things we need to do, I get it, I have them too. The dishes still don’t wash themselves and until there’s a fundamental restructuring of the way our employment is structured in this country, I don’t think the long work days will stop any time soon either. Personally, I long for the days when the bike paths and road trails are so crowded that we actually have to pay more attention to that infrastructure. While it’s a bit contrary to a large part of why I bike (seriously, cut 5-6 hours of driving in traffic out of your life and see how much less stress you feel) as more bikes mean paying more attention and probably falling into those same pitfalls, I think we as a society are a long way from that. And it’s never going to become most people’s primary mode of transportation. So if it’s not biking, that’s fine. And if it’s not why you bike, that’s fine too. Get out there and run, or walk, or take those dogs to Cedar Lake. Make this the year you finally see Cascade River or the Devil’s Kettle. And if you don’t live here, I’m sure there’s plenty to do wherever you are. It’s not that hard if you look for it. The question is, do you really want it?

%d bloggers like this: