There are four types of conversations you have about Minnesota when you go to the East Coast. Well, five, if you count “Shut up, I don’t care where you’re from.”
I like New York, but I’m not as impressed with New Yorkers as they are with themselves. Yes, you have great museums, but it’s not like you personally selected the art. Yes, you have astonishing skyscrapers, but you sneer at people who stop and look up at them.
Yes, you can get pizza at 4 a.m. Fine. We don’t need pizza at 4 a.m. because we are decent people who are asleep. Besides, your pizza is horrible. Imagine someone squirting ketchup on a doormat and shouting “That’s $7.50 a slice” and you have the New York Pizza experience.
And as for Minneapolis, New Yorkers always have opinions. Say, “I’m from the Twin Cities. We have the best parks and the fattest cats. In a recent survey we were listed as the top area to start a business that involves sunflower oil, massage therapy and the internet.” You’ll get one of the following responses.
1. The Bluffer. “Minneapolis? I’ve been there.” Proper response: “Did you leave the airport?” When they say no, you start to talk about how our airport is one of the best in the country, with easy access to the city, a cute train for those who are too tired to take the moving walkways and Nordic maidens with braided hair offering kippered herring at every gate, etc.
Go ahead and rub it in. They know their airports are misery pits where the baggage handlers are handed crowbars on their first day of work to make it easier to pry open your suitcases.
2. The Wistful Visitor. “Ah, Minneapolis. I’ve been there. It was many years ago.” When you ask for details, you learn it was really St. Paul and all they remembered is that they stayed in a house that was on a lake. You don’t want to spoil it, so you nod. “Ah, Lake Snelling, on whose shores our Capitol sits.”
3. The Know-It-All. “Oh, sure, Minnesota, clean and decent but half the year your fingertips fall off and your lips crack. Birds fall dead from the sky, right? Life ceases?” It’s like saying, “I married a Russian mail-order bride,” and someone responds, “Ah, yes. Very beautiful. But they stab you in your sleep.”
4. The Surprising Expert. We had an Uber driver who was born in Ghana, and when we said we were from Minneapolis, he nodded. “My brother lives in Anoka. How is the $15 wage issue proceeding?” “Uh,” I said. I didn’t know there was going to be a test.
At least New Yorkers were familiar with Minneapolis, even though they think they’re the best and look down on everyone else. That sort of smugness is annoying, and a little pathetic.
Unless you’re from Minneapolis, of course.