Brian Matuszak column: Twin Ports vs. Twin Cities is no contestSometimes you have to set the exclamation marks aside and let loose with some rumbling rants of frustration, not only to purge the negativity that is draped around your soul, but also to make yourself look good.
So you know I don’t like to dwell on the negative in this column; my main objective is always to have fun! I like to metaphorically ride on laughing unicorns under dancing rainbows of glitter hearts and polyester stretch pants!!
But sometimes you have to set the exclamation marks aside and let loose with some rumbling rants of frustration, not only to purge the negativity that is draped around your soul, but also to make yourself look good. And believe me, when it comes to a certain life decision we made a few years back, Sue and I not only put on our smart pants, we bought the whole frickin’ three-piece suit.
It has now been 24 years since we moved back to Duluth after living in Minneapolis for 365 days, which was about 366 days too long. We were given a recent reminder about that uber-intelligent decision as we made our way home after a Twin Cities golf tournament in which Kaylee finished second. (These columns are also about offspring-bragging, by the way.)
We decided to risk the freeway double-whammy of 494 and 694 in order to get home quicker. Normally, we avoid those choked, dangerous thoroughfares because, well, we enjoy life. We should have continued our traditional shunning because no sooner had we left 494 and started to glide westward on 694 when we were promptly sucked into a monstrous traffic jam which trapped us for over an hour.
The MnDOT evil genius who planned this was cunning: All escape valves were sealed off whilst 20 different combinations of roads, streets, and avenues all emptied onto this tiny stretch of roadway near the Mississippi River.
We asked ourselves, with varying degrees of volume, why in the $#@!@@ is there $#%#*#& road construction going on at 8 o’$#@!@@# clock at $$^#))*&^ night?! And, more importantly, WHO IS CLOGGING UP TRAFFIC ARTERIES AT THAT TIME?
It was well past all normal definitions of “rush hour” so why weren’t those Twin Citians at home?
But it got worse.
As we slo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o- o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-wly inched forward, we realized the patch of freeway causing this stupid snarl was the exact same patch of freeway that was being repaired when we lived down there in 1989. So either those whiz-bang Twin Cities road construction workers did a horrible job in the first place, or, more likely, they were still waiting for a part.
I’m telling you, life in the Cities is so bad, the people who live there don’t want to live there. Why do you think every Friday finds the I-35 northbound lanes clogged thicker than Darren Danielson’s drain?
I understand the initial temptation when you’re young and first striking out on your own. You get lured south by the siren song of the Mall of America, Trader Joe’s, and Ikea. But more than that, you just want to get away from home.
Minneapolis and St. Paul seem like exotic foreign lands, ready to fill you with fresh, exciting experiences that you can’t get at Uncle Jim’s cabin in Keewatin. I get it. I went through it, too. But now I’m here to tell you to get over it.
Anything you can get down there, you can get up here. Easy access to bath salts? Head downtown. Wacky morning radio shows? Pat Kelly and Pat Cadigan. Mini-Golf? Cross the bridge and play 18 holes for just five bucks at Captain J’s. (You can’t blink for less than five bucks in Minneapolis!)
Sure, there might be a few items you can’t obtain, but honestly, do you want them badly enough to trade the concrete constipation, sweltering body heat, and general goofiness of all those bazillion suburbs to get them? Ain’t no Chipotle burrito bowl that’s worth that price, son.
The Twin Ports: Where we’re home and tucked in by 9 p.m., living vicariously through our mayor, who jumps off buildings and leaps from airplanes just to get a home-crafted micro-brew.
That’s enough excitement for me.
Brian Matuszak is the co-founder of Renegade Comedy Theatre, founder of Rubber Chicken Theater, and would like to say at least one nice thing about living in the Cities. He’ll get back to you.