January 2009


At what point do we turn from being “nice” Minnesotans to Passive Aggressive Minnesotans? Within moments of leaving the womb? By the time we are in pre-school?

Last year, I didn’t experience what comes next. This year I have, and it is frightening. Today, over an over as I drove my son to the Wellstone Center in St. Paul, then later to MacPhail for Piano lessons, I was glared at, sworn at, sped by and given the almighty finger. Everything I did was wrong in the eyes of the people who didn’t want to share the road with me.

Freezing temperatures are one thing, but these behaviors are making us, as a geographic species look very, very, bad. I miss passive-aggressive. When did passive aggressive become the new f-u?

I am ashamed of my fellow Minnesotans. Especially the ones on the road.

And what about all the diesel particulate? When I was on a bike, I understood it. But I feel it when I drive. I thought I would be insulated in the little red wagon but it is a constant reminder of how I am destroying our planet.

Sigh.

I wasn’t cool in high school. Not a chance. But today, as I was heading the other direction from the 32 bus, I saw Ruth at the bus stop near my house.

She was wearing a hoody and nothing covering her chimney except her long strawberry blond locks. I shivered in sympathy. It was 14 degrees. I wanted to cry.

And then I remembered how uncool I was in high school. If I hadn’t worn those hats? The sensible boots? The mittens that never really matched, would I have been as cool as Ruth?

It is funny the way memory works. I wasn’t cool. I didn’t wear sensible boots. I never wore a hat, and because I was humiliated that a boy in my class had the SAME JACKET I had I usually just crumpled my jacket up in a ball to retrieve it once I was on the bus with the rest of the losers. The coat was a rainbow ski-jacket wanna-be. Today it would be dreamy vintage and cool for either gender but then it was the height of humiliation.

The Big One leaves our house (when he makes it to school these days) sans warm Sorel boots, hands tucked in the cuffs of his oversize and not warm Lands End coat and no hat. More often than not his neck is completely revealed sending shudders down my spine.

“But you have Lyme Disease!” I shout at him as he races away from me.

I have crossed the line. I have become my mother.