Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Anatomy of a Minnesotan

I feel like there has been an injustice circulating the interwebz, and I'm here to remedy that today.
It's about Minnesota, and winter.
For any non-Minnesotan reading (are there any of you? Sometimes I wonder) you may have seen dozens of Instagram photos being posted on Sunday with captions such as "Yay!" or "So pretty!" or "winter wonderland!" .... blah, blah blah.
But the thing about Minnesotans, is, there's a bit of a jekyl and hyde syndrome going on.
Sure, we love the idea of winter, snow is pretty, all that rainbows and sunshiney goodness... but then you put that Minnesotan behind a car on Monday morning after that first big snow of the season? and they want to MURDER. EVERYONE.
Here's a short list I've compiled for your edification on some of the less talked about parts of a Minnesotan winter.
1. Grandma ethel, who drives 45 miles an hour in GOOD conditions is now going 10 miles an hour. On the freeway.
2. You WILL get your car, or your significant others car towed at some point in your lifetime due to a snow emergency. -->This happened 2 years ago for me. The morning of my Civil Procedure final. They declared back to back snow emergencies (despite no new snow), nobody knew which way was up, and my Saturn (that I had literally been given the NIGHT before) was held hostage by the city of Mpls. impound lot. They towed my car from a plowed street, and dropped it in a snowbank in the tow lot. Then, they drove me back to my car, tossed me a shovel, and had me dig it out. That's not very Minnesota Nice, now is it.
3. Unless you wear skinny jeans tucked into boots all winter, you will at some point suffer from the traumatic, "soggy pant" syndrome. You get out of your car and walk all unassmingly to your destination. You sit down. As you start to regain feeling in your legs, you notice it. The chill in the bottom of your pants is actually snow, that is now melting all over your socks and ankles.
4. #3 results in #4: soggy SOCK syndrome. Which is actually worse than soggy pant. You know that perpetual cold you have all winter? It's from your soggy socks ruining your life. Srsly. Oh, "wear boots" you say? DOESN'T MATTER. that sneaky bastard snow will find a way into your boot. Through the bottoms, OR if you're lucky and traipse through a high enough snow bank, right down the top.
5-----> THIS.
6. Speaking of #3, MnDOT (MN Dept. of Transportation.. our pals who "plow" --yes, the quote are intentional). This year, MnDOT has dropped the ball in a big way. The streets in downtown Mpls (and EVERYWHERE) resemble a post apocalyptic wasteland. There is a 2 inch layer of rock solid snow, with craters down to the pavement. It feels like you're on a goddamned safari trying to get to work. When my wheel falls off, I'm sending MnDOT the bill.
7. We'll wrap up this list with the 3 stages of grief whilst trying to drive home from work in a Minnesota winter:
You leave your desk. You're happy. "work is done! time to go home!"
You're optimistic about the road conditions. "Oh, it hasn't snowed since Sunday. and I know it  still took me an hour to drive 4 miles yesterday but not today! Today will be better!"
You're cruising through downtown, hitting stop lights, "See! I knew it! woo hoo!"
aannnndddd THEN you see the entrance ramp to 394 is backed all the way up to the street. The entrance ramp that is, in and of itself, a MILE it weaves through downtown. "SON OF A ^!%@%#, MotherF$#%^, ARRARAGHHHH!!!"
(10 minutes later): hit steering wheel once for good measure to let off steam.
(an hour later): if you were to look into my car-- or any other of the cars around you-- you'd see a hollow shell of a human being. A vacant expression on my face. My foot automatically moving on and off the brakes without registering what it's doing. You look over at that car stalled on the shoulder because their little Mazda couldn't handle the stop and go. You feel sorry for them, but you must leave him behind.
(10 minutes later): you're still next to the fucking mazda. You look over. He's on his cell phone playing games, reclined in his seat. Suddenly, pulling over to take a nap sounds like a pleasant alternative. Just wait it out on the shoulder! You're so delerious you consider it for 2 whole minutes before moving on.
FINALLY, a break in the traffic! You're home! an hour and a half after you started.
and this, my friends, is what Instagram does NOT tell you about a Minnesota winter.
The good news is, I'm not always so surly about it. This has been therapeutic.
Also? Today was my building's holiday breakfast!
and who can be mad when they start their day off with that.. right? ;)


  1. BAHAHAHAHA! OMG. You just described this perfectly. The other thing about those craters? They turn into long trails, and then you can literally drive without steering because you're hooked up like a train. Just don't try to turn. :)

    Is it spring yet?

  2. LOL. My quote of the winter, "I want to cut someone". Also, this morning in the parking ramp at work, someone's tire was actually off their car. Like, side bent and falling off. And it was a NEW Mazda SUV. That blows. I am going to cry if my tires falls off but seriously, the roads are SHITTY. I want to move somewhere warm.

  3. bahhaha this is EXACTLY how I felt last night!

    After trying to get home through DT. I waited at the same stoplight eight times and FINALLY got to drive through it. 2.5 hours later I was home from work.

    I have yet to understand why those large snow banks are blocking one whole lane of traffic downtown. This is Minnesota, this shouldn't happen.

  4. Pretty sure you need to submit this to be posted on or some other MN bog. Great piece. And so accurate. Question...have you ever considered taking Glendale through the NOMI hood to get home? I hate that 394 entrance ramp. Not sure exactly where you live in SLP but it might be worth a try?

    Soggy bottoms are my least favorite things everrrrrr.

    I got towed once too. Similar situation as you. The plows had already been through so I thought I was safe. Nope. Those bastards towed me. Never made that mistake again.

  5. So so so true. SO funny. I was in downtown Minneapolis this morning and of course I wore my new booties which caused me to precariously teeter totter all over the ICE/SNOW COVERED ROADS (the "plowing" is so bad!!) Those snow banks are redick as well. Poor Greg had to scale one to get over to the parking meter. You know you live in Minnesota during winter time when you leave work at 3:30pm while it is still light out so that you can get HOME in time to run errands before 7pm (and then once you're home at 5pm, you finish up work from home hahaha)

  6. Oh my gosh. I almost posted about this after I saw that ENORMOUS pile by Gaviidae. So far, I have successfully tucked all outfits into my boots. I might not ever go back. I think our taxes pay enough for some damn salt, amiright? My 8 mile drive should not take an hour. It just shouldn't.

  7. hahaha, this is so so accurate! I love the description of the drive home. I sometimes get confused on where I am on the freeway because I'm just that out of it since I'm mindlessly pushing the brake/gas pedals.

  8. Oh boy!!!
    I would be one of those fools hooraying for snow since I'm in Miami. Although we don't have snow, it appears that a little water can create the worst accidents and traffics ever! And rubberneckers...don't even get me started!!

    Anywho...glad you made it home and I hope the snow has melted...for the better :)

    Andie's Traveling Pants

  9. you crack me up! and the soggy pants thing... i wear all types of jeans with my boots and i tuck NON skinny jeans haphazardly into the tops of my boots JUST to keep them dry, its a trademark of mine and everyone makes fun of me for it THAT and my over-sized MANstyle carhartt coat. oh minnesota... how we love you SO much!?

  10. This entire post is HILARIOUS! I have no idea what it's like - I live in Louisiana & the last time it snowed was in 2008 & only a little tiny bit! I did go to Illinois once & it was their record cold - i almost died, i was so cold! And i couldn't WALK in it, much less DRIVE! But anyway...this cracked me up. I feel for ya! (although - i agree that it IS sooo beautiful!).

  11. I like the snow for about an hour. When it's falling, and I'm inside. Other than that...NOT A FAN!