One of the most common questions people ask me when I first meet them, is: "What do you do?"
It would be nice to say it is strictly a Minnesota thing, but I really have not seen that much of Minnesota. I have lived in Stillwater, Saint Paul and Minneapolis all of my life. Maybe people in Embarrass don't ask that question because they are all freezing cold year round...I mean I know a little geography but if you sent me to Windom I would spend all of my time trying to find the Wind Farms, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to do brief employment surveys of my peers.
So, what do I do?
Since injuring my foot in 2015 I have tried to maintain a fairly compulsory rehabilitation schedule. There was a full time job, after college, which never paid much...there were a couple of full time jobs, actually. I delivered newspapers for a year. I worked in retail and the service industry. I worked for a small outdoor industry retailer specializing in rock climbing, cross country skiing and sea kayaking...it sounds too good to be true; what I have learned since 2010 tells me some of it was. I worked in arboriculture and bakeries as well, to limited success.
I sold my car in 2009, have moved five or six times, depending on your opinion of temporary housing, and have struggled to find full time employment that matched anything as reliable and equitable as something that now seems fictional. There is irony in there somewhere but I never put it together well enough to explain it.
Since moving to Saint Paul in 2010, I have volunteered at a number of different agencies that pertain to either my educational or professional experiences. I read as much as time allows, ride a bicycle and bake bread when doing so does not seem like more trouble than it is worth. Sometimes, I have to re-prioritze things in a way that values self-preservation over dedication.
In February and March of 2014 there was still so much snow on the roads I decided to ride less, because fighting traffic became too difficult. What happens is the more snow is plowed to the side of the road, the further out cars parking on the side of the road have to be - rather than being parked next to a curb, cars are parked three to four feet off the curb (on both sides of the street) because a big snow pile is there instead - so cars are pinched into both lanes and bicycles are less welcome.
Anyway, that was my experience. Die hard cyclists would provide much counter point here and I did see people riding that spring, as I walked onto the bus, stepping over snow piles four feet from the curb.
So what do I "do" though?
Mostly I volunteer, and I try to remember that being employed again relies heavily on an equanimity sufficient enough to utilize whatever social and professional skills I have learned in a productive manner. Volunteering is often a great opportunity to test that sense of place without feeling like a failure will cost me my livelihood. And so it goes.
Anyway, I did participate in another #30DaysofBiking this April, and while I missed out on the handful of group rides occurring around the Twin Cities, I did manage to ride all thirty days, despite a massive blizzard, cold temperatures and a worn drivetrain that eventually will cost me some sad amount of money to replace. With a move to Minneapolis on March 30th of this year, I was hard pressed to get my rear in gear, but managed over 500 miles and a good day at the Fulton Fondo in May.
So for now that is what I have been doing.
My bicycle is at a shop, and I have been happily enjoying Minnesota NiceRide as a reliable adjunct to my commute. It would be nice to get back to feeling like the bicycle was something more essential in my day to day routine, but time will tell.
The fishing has been getting better, so that makes me happy.
Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you.
|Dropping Cletus off in Minneapolis for repairs, Photo by Michael McKinney|
|Not even a bad pothole on Summit Avenue, Saint Paul. Photo by Michael McKinney|
|Sunset on Lake Harriet, Minneapolis, Photo by Michael McKinney|
|A snowy Organic Molecule on the U of M campus, Photo by Michael McKinney|
|Cletus surveying the Mde Maka Ska sunset, Photo by Michael McKinney|
|Minnesota #NiceRide in a blizzard, Greenway Bike Trail, Minneapolis. Photo by Michael McKinney|
|The day after, still on a NiceRide, Photo by Michael McKinney|
|Photo by Michael McKinney|
|An urban fox patrolling near Lake Harriet, Photo by Michael McKinney|
|Day 30 of #30daysofbiking, Photo by Michael McKinney|
|At the start of the 2018 Fulton Fondo, Photo by Michael McKinney|
|Definitely a new Personal Best...I released it quickly, Photo by anon|
|The new DIY bike storage space, Minneapolis, Photo by Michael McKinney|
|My incredulity after finishing the Fulton Fondo without dropping my rear cassette, Photo by Michael McKinney|