I’m not one of those people who does very well with geography. I own a GPS. I rely heavily on said device. 99% of the time, I have no idea where I am, even when I’ve been there multiple times. It’s markedly worse, however, when I am first visiting an area. For example, I spent the weekend in Minnesota. I have no idea where Minnesota is. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have a general feel for it, but if you were to ask me to point out Minnesota on a map of the United States, I can only say one word: Fail.

Specifically, I spent the weekend in Minneapolis/St. Paul. And I guess if you were getting even more specific, I’d have to say Minneapolis was the sibling of the Twin Cities in which I spent most of my time. I hypothesized on my shuttle ride in from the airport to the hotel that Minneapolis wouldn’t differ too exceptionally from Birmingham. Rush hour traffic. Smog. Buildings. History. Crime.

I can’t comment on the criminal aspect of Minneapolis, but I know it isn’t worse than Birmingham, who ranks quite highly in the national homicide rankings. I think we’re number three. I personally was not murdered, attacked, or otherwise infringed upon during this trip, which I am immensely grateful for. I was robbed of a weekend, but I can’t blame Minneapolis for that.

But as I walked around the city (accompanied by a physically intimidating male – my boss – and covered thoroughly in winter-weather-ware), I came to find that Minneapolis has several things to recommend it that Birmingham cannot offer. It was clean. As far as I know, its mayor was not recently arrested on fraud and embezzlement charges. The buildings are cool, architecturally speaking. The Mississippi runs through it. There are bridges.

Working against Minneapolis are also a few key issues: the temperature, the accents of everyone around me, the fact that things are built to accommodate snow. The inclusion of an ice-scraper in every car rented in the city.

And honestly, where is Minnesota, anyway? Come on, it’s not like it’s California or New York or Texas or Alabama (I kid…no one knows where to find good ole’ Bama on the map) for goodness sakes! It’s not like Minnesota really had an impact on my understanding of American History or features memorably in any astonishing current events (well, they may be the state that had the wrestler for a Governor, that’s fairly astonishing). I honestly don’t think I should be held responsible for the knowledge of where Minnesota resides among these United States. I’m sure I was responsible for that information waaaaaaaaaaaay back in fourth grade or whenever we were taught state geography, but only bits and pieces of that stuck with me.

Bearing all of this in mind, I think it’s clear that I’m not a geographically minded person. State lines? No, that’s definitely not my state of mind.

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