Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The View From A Far

Your geographical location plays a big difference in how you perceive distance. I can bet that you rarely hear someone from Alaska, Texas, or one of those brown square states that occur in the western US say: "What? Drive all the way to________? You've got to be kidding! That's on the other side of the world!"

And I really don't think that it has to do with the fact that they are all driving SUV's and are sexually aroused at the thought of carbon emission and are waiting with baited breath for the day that their savior makes the tides rise and washes away all the heathen tree huggers. I believe it is a reality of their existance. If they want to get groceries, take their kid to the doctor, or see a movie, they have to drive a hell of a long way to do it. This is their life.

Compare this to people who live within ten miles of everything they need.

"What? Travel to West Duluth???? Are you crazy? I Live in Lakeside!"

"You know, if I want to get ______, I have to travel across the bridge."

These are two comments that I have heard in the last two days.

I must admit, I don't get it. I swear there are people in either Duluth or Superior that would not cross the bridge even if they needed to get a heart transplant in the opposite city. Once again, I don't think this comes down to gasoline. I have heard these sentiments echoed even when we weren't forced to leave our first born child by the side of the gas pump.

Occasionally, when my friends and I get a wild hair up our ass, we actually travel down to the cities for the day to prowl yarn stores. When I've told this bit of trivia to the muggles out there, they are amazed.

Hmmm. I guess that leaves me to ponder how the hell their ancestors ever left Norway and Sweeden to come here.

Perhaps I'm missing the boat on my thesis and it isn't geography at all. Perhaps it is hard wired into the very genetic material of the people in this region.

Wanting to travel great distances and visit strange and unsettling lands such as can be found in the wilds of Superior, Wisconsin is too much adventure.

This is a distinct possibility. It is in direct correlation to how the folks around here view food. It must be bland, it must have no color, and if you so much as even think about reaching for the spice cupboard, you will be stoned in the village square. Also, it helps if you soak disgusting foods in lye first, just to add to your suffering when you eat it.

Oh my god, I'm surrounded by martyrs...


Rebecca Hartong said...

I don't know what causes it, but you're absolutely right about people in northern Minnesota traveling distances. Actually, I'm not even sure it's the distance that's a problem. It might be the time. (Which, up there in the land of relatively little traffic, is pretty much the same thing as the distance.)

I have a friend up in Ely who is looking for a weekend place out in the woods somewhere. You'd think that would be pretty easy to find around Ely, right? But, when confronted with the idea that the kind of place he wants might involve driving for about an hour to get there... horrors! It's too far away! Driving for an HOUR?!? No!

I explain to my friend that here in northern Virginia where I live, people typically have to drive about 2 or 3 hours to get to their weekend houses. Each way. And it's just not that big a deal. I guess we're so used to spending a lot of time in the car, dealing with Washington DC area traffic, that 3 hours to the country seems like a small price to pay.

So... I guess it's all relative.

This could work out well for my spouse and I when we finally get our vacation/retirement place(s) in the Duluth area, though. See, my idea is to get a small cheap place in town for the times when we need or want to be close to civilization and another place WAY out in the country for when we don't. Since we're used to spending a lot of time in the car getting from place to place, we might be able to find a country place that the typical Duluthian would consider too far away!

Shelly said...

I have a friend in Superior who never visits because its "just too far" to drive to Congdon.

I am also guilty of this--the mall? Ugh...going up the hill at all is such a drag for me. Not to mention, its the MALL and I don't want to be there anyway because everything involving "mall" is awful to me, but children are asking, so, I grudgingly go.

But I'm taking a day trip to Minneapolis today, and I will think of you...

Rebecca, if you're looking for digs in Duluth, you can buy mine! Slightly used 4 bedroom. We're moving out of the land of lye fish...cajun just sounded much more interesting. And yes, food was a big factor in choosing the new locale...