Saturday, November 26, 2005

Cold Enough Fer Ya?

OK, my profile lies who wrote that thing?? I don’t really actually live in Minneapolis...technically. At least technically not anymore -- I guess not....since.....1886. Although, I do frequently receive mail addressed to me living at my current street address in Minneapolis....and there are times after entering my zip code online that the gremlin on the other end insists the zip and the city I’ve entered don’t naturally correspond SO WHERE SHOULD THIS PACKAGE BE SENT TO, ANYWAY?!? at which point I know better than to argue with this Gollum so I hit the submit button in the dim hopes that the wool slippers I’ve ordered from Sierra really will show up on my Minneapolis doorstep thereby saving me from a winter of misery in my old house with no insulation where the walls meet the floor isn't that what baseboards are for whaddayawant?

Besides, I still have the holdovers of living in Eden Prairie: anything east of Highway 169 is urban and urban = Minneapolis.

So, welcome to Suburbanites Anonymous.

Hi. I'm The Old Bag and I live in St. Louis Park, once a Minneapolis neighborhood called Elmwood, which is a friendly community of diverse racial and religious populations including walkers, bus-ers, and cyclers. Anything I could want is within 4-15 blocks from home: library, post office, service station, LBS, pizza, videos, oriental takeout, groceries, beer, Target, Big Lots, Ax-Man, bank.... For anything outside the radius I’ve got road shoulders and trails. I’m smack in-between the Cedar Lake Trail (AKA the bike highway) to the north which leads into downtown and through its pedestrian mall to the Mississippi River and its old flour-milling district; and the Midtown Greenway to the south which takes me into Uptown with its sidewalk cafes and urban lakes on over to the Grand Rounds and off to the parkways of St. Paul.

I'm still working on changing the way I think. When I first moved here, I continued to operate under the assumption that everything was at least 15 minutes away by car. Last-minute to the core of my being, I suddenly found myself arriving everything! The first time I ordered pizza from the local Beek’s I hopped into the car and drove myself 5 short blocks (yes, as opposed to 5 long blocks...things are rectangular here) then sat for 10 minutes at the red and white checkered table while supper finished baking.

When I finally adjusted I found the gift of time. The gift of fresh air as I walked my errands. The gift of friendly people out in their yards.

The one thing I just couldn’t quite get my thoughts around was the walk to the grocery store. It’s at the outer edge of my radius...and walking back with BAGS?! of CANS and MILK CARTONS?!

So, I was at Cub Foods the other blustery day locking up my bicycle. A friendly soul hurrying in from the parking lot asked if I was cold -- he had that Minnesotan I-know look, and he even nodded as he asked since he knew what my answer would be. I got a kick out of his surprised change of face when I caught myself saying Actually no! Windblocker is a beautiful thing! We smiled and wished each other a good day as we headed inside.

- The Warm Old Bag


jen said...

oooooh mary SHOULD get a blog!! that would be way fun!

Ptelea said...

People who don't get out in the weather except to rush from one warm refuge to another just don't get it. When you have the right gear - whatever it takes - you simply are comfortable. I think they assume you are just tougher than they are. I don't hike in the winter because I enjoy being cold, I hike in the winter because I like to hike and I know how to stay warm, protect myself from wind and water and get back inside before the weather gets the best of me. Simple as that. I know, because I used to be one of those people.

the old bag said...

Got that right. Many just can't be convinced that the right clothing makes being outside really pleasant (and I know since my internal temp comfort range is about this | | wide). But, neither can they quite get their heads around cycling at night, cycling to work, cycling to the store....