And as expected, Minny Apple has changed. I mean, the city has to as I would expect in the thirteen years since I was last in this place. If it didn’t, then I would declare that the city is very much stuck in the past.
When I visited Minnesota in August 2003, right at the peak of starting my last year in college, I saw this state as a land of opportunity. Perhaps a place where I would go to graduate school. With the fact that my best(est) friends were online, I was willing to travel anywhere. My ties to the Bay Area were far and in between. Loose ties in fact. I wanted something completely new. I wanted to reinvent myself. And that’s what Minnesota held for me in August of 2003.
I arrived at MSP, looking for faces that I had only seen in digital photos. And fortunately, the two guys that I met—Cheez and Tanner—matched their photos. As one might expect though, there were taller than expected. Like 6 feet. But all was well. Then I was whisked off to Duluth, then one day in Minny Apple.
I remember days of trying new things—water skiing, lying down in the middle of (barren) railroad tracks, being around a lot of white people, spending time with the guys. I was the exotic Californian. But when I look back, I wonder, what would I have thought of the person that I am now sitting in a fancy hotel downtown attending a conference in ethnography? Knowing that I hadn’t even returned to Minneapolis for over thirteen years? Knowing that the risks that I took then and the beliefs that I held, that they would change over time? Would I have expected it?
But the thing is, which is still true to this day, I just don’t concern myself of the future. That is, of one year ahead. Five years ahead. Ten years ahead. What matters most of the time is about tomorrow, next week, next month, maybe 6 months. But after that, I don’t really think that deeply. It’s about distant goals—yes perhaps a thought leader, perhaps finishing my novel, perhaps being a sustainable writer, perhaps doing what I want to do in life, having more confidence and security and of course better public speaking (aka commanding the room). Would I have approved of the life I had now?
Likely yes. I would have admired the ability that I found my own form of self-expression. Even more about building the connections, the relationships. For the latter especially was the reason that I was drawn so much to those 6 days in Minny Soda. Because I felt valued as a person for once. Being everything that I was at the age of 21.