Feeling Minnesota (Meh...Sort of)
I have now lived in the Twin Cities for seven months. Relocating is a 'b' people, seriously. I'm not going to get into my job(less) woes in this post since little has changed since my last post. However, I do want to put forth my opinions and observations of my new home however slanted and distorted they may be. Hey, it's my blog right?
Anyhow, I may have mentioned something about "Minnesota Nice" in previous posts, but I'm going to briefly recap. I'm not sure where this label came from originally, but I have a feeling it is somewhat dated. Either that or it can only be applied to a certain segment of society that could just as well exist in any other midwestern city. My point is that I've lived in MANY different cities (and even countries) over the years and have come to understand that no matter where you are there are going to be both nice people and assholes. Sadly it's usually said 'holes' that are in abundance while the more friendly types should probably be put on the endangered species list. I don't think that Minneapolis/St. Paul is really any different.
Of course, it's always a slow process of meeting new people when you move to a different place, a phenomenon that only increases in degree as one gets older and more set in their ways. I find that while I can still tolerate most people, the older I get the less I am actually inclined or even motivated to do so. Combine this with the fact that no matter where you go, people for the most part stick to what they know. That is, people tend to hang out with people that they've known for years, taking in new friends here and there as the years go by. It's a lot different when you move to a new city. Unless you are moving to a place where you already have a nice stable of friends, making inroads is going to take some time. Especially when one realizes that most casual encounters are rarely going to result in long-term friendships. I find this to be most evident with 'friends of friends.' These of course are the people you meet through other people you already know pretty well. They seem to come with a built in trust factor that you don't get with strangers, and since you often find yourself talking with these people by attending some social function where introductions are automatic.
I haven't had many opportunities like this since I've been in the TC's because I just don't know that many people here to begin with and those that I do know from my past are mostly married and have children. This isn't a bad thing, it's just very rare that they ever have time to do the things that we more freewheeling (or perhaps less responsible) folk find appealing such as spontaneous after work phone calls to meet up, gets some food, and 'hang out.' When you have children (it seems to me) you really don't 'hang out' at all. All social engagement require weeks of forethought and planning, and even then need to wrap up around 9 or 10 p.m.
And I've changed as well. In my college-ish days I might just decide to smoke a one-hit and drive around town with no destination in mind, but simply a desire to cruise the quiet streets with the windows down and feel the summer air on my skin. I used to be such a night owl often staying up past 2 a.m. simply on principle even without any particular plans. Now I'm usually in bed before midnight, and when I'm not, chances are my butt is parked on my sofa.
If all this sounds a bit melancholy and nostalgic, that's because it is. And to be honest, it is for me one of life's most painfully sweet emotions. It's not something undesirable, but like a connoisseur of refined tastes, something to be savored. Because after all, most of us will admit that the good times are rare, but even the bad times are so wonderfully human that life would be so much more empty without them.