Minnesota’s the kind of place that you somehow end up in, and for the more puzzling of you, a place that you end up settling in.
When people ask me where I go to school, I respond, sighing, that I go to school in Minnesota. “Where?” They ask.
It’s not a bad place. It is just a bit insignificant, forgotten, slightly below average in the scheme of its competition. It’s not quite West enough to be granted the upper-class status of a West coast state (as the west-coasters have aptly discovered, “west” rhymes with “best!”) and as no such “north coast” genre exists, Minnesota simply gets lumped into the vast wasteland that is known as the Midwest.
I have been determined to understand why people settle here. I conducted some very important campus research on the topic.
“How do you feel about living in Minnesota?”
The responses were mostly variations of the same theme: “Cold. Indifferent. I don’t live here!” One student even screamed and then proceeded to disappear into the Arb…forever.
The accent is obnoxiously infectious. The weather is either stiflingly hot or blisteringly cold. There’s a surplus of snow, but nowhere to ski. The land is flat and the air, no matter where you go, always seems to smell of turkeys or cows. While Illinois gets to brag about being the “Land of Lincoln”, Indiana the “Crossroads State”, and Missouri the “Show Me” state (puzzling, but interesting nonetheless), Minnesota simply has “10,000 lakes”, which is a questionable fact itself: what are the odds that it actually has exactly 10,000 lakes? The Twins and Vikings/whatever other sports teams exist simply further the state’s average status, as they, well, suck. And the people are insufferably nice.
“Minnesota niceness” is perhaps more burdensome than beneficial. My Minnesotan friend visited New York City for the first time this summer. She was approached by a young man asking her for fifty dollars that he desperately needed to aid his dying mother or solve the cure to cancer or party like crazy that night or whatever else people come up with these days. Whatever he was claiming, he promised to mail her a check repaying her that weekend. She gave him sixty dollars, of course, never to be seen again.
And Minnesota is home to the Mall of America.
And yet, there’s something about this state that gets to you. I was bike riding out on the highway the other day, and the sun was glowing bright red over infinite rows of pink cornfields, cows lay lazily in fields of bright turquoise grass, the air was still and soft and warm, everything was comfortable, undisturbed and serene, and I so I began to wonder, in spite of all it’s faults, is it possible that Minnesota is actually a secret haven yet to be discovered by the rest of the world?