As I noted not so long ago, I made a cameo in Alexandria, Minn., while on vacation in small town, Minn.
I was born in a town somewhat like Alexandria. It was in Indiana, and I haven't lived there in 30 years. I have wondered many times what my life would be like had my parents never divorced and I never wound up in Minnesota. I'd love to know how radically different my life would have been in the Bizarro world.
I know people who grew up in Alexandria, I think. They still have ties to the area, but they have chosen the bright lights and big city instead of the incestuous life of Alexandria. Good choice.
Alexandria has its share of nice neighborhoods and lakeshore properties for the doctors and lawyers who work there. It's not the worst place to live, but knowing all the things a suburban area such as the Twin Cities has to offer, I can't stop wondering why anybody would choose the relative isolation of Alexandria.
I "met" several people last week, and most of them reminded me that I have no interest in living in their unspectacular city. Allow me to introduce a few of them to you. Please keep in mind that I'm making uneducated guesses about who they are. And even if I paint a depressing picture of them, they are likely happier than I am, and therefore that makes them better than me.
My favorite new friends from the Alexandria Beetles baseball game include:
• Announcer Guy. He's the guy providing much of the narration during the minor league baseball game. He has a great radio voice, so he's a natural behind the mic at a minor league baseball game, especially given the fact the job doesn't pay much. I'm pretty sure Announcer Guy works for a local radio station after his training at some prestigious school of broadcast. He's professional, no doubt about it, but he sounds like every textbook deejay in small town, America. That shit doesn't play well in a major market. Announcer Guy is either happy to have a steady job in the small market where he grew up or he is resigned to being a big fish in a small pond.
• Freckles. I mentioned her in my diatribe about attending a Beetles game. Despite the obscene freckle count on her face and arms, she was probably a cute enough girl in high school for some guy to violate. I'd love to see the guy who fathered her 13 children during the past five years. I'm not sure if breeding and living in Alexandria for the rest of her life was her greatest aspiration, but I'd bet her left arm she dreamed a bit bigger than that.
• Insurance Guy. My guess is that he either sells insurance or manages the sales staff at a local car dealership or radio station. I suppose there's a chance he's a doctor or lawyer, but he didn't seem the type. All I know is that his fancy green polo shirt and healthy gut made him hard to miss. I couldn't help but think I'm only 20 pounds away from being him, and that scared the shit out of me. Lest you think I'm painting a negative picture of Insurance Guy, guess again, muchacho. His fast track to success in his chosen field landed him a pretty nice trophy. I loved his wife's made-for-TV hair. Insurance Guy can get away with carrying an extra 50 pounds, but the trophy wife can't get away with that shit. She has to maintain a pre-pregnancy figure, and dress the part of a real housewife of Alexandria. Mission accomplished. By the time her kids are in high school she might be just old enough to no longer qualify for MILF certification. Oh well, nothing lasts forever.
• Sex Kitten. She appeared to be attending the game with her young, beloved son, and the father of her child. She liked to sell her young and adventurous persona, but appeared to have made a commitment to the family life. She doted upon the young boy and politely tolerated the older, slightly rotund stepdaughter. Sex Kitten didn't appear to be old enough to have given birth to the girl, so I could only assume that she was a child of one of dad's previous relationships.
• Toilet Paper Guy. This dufus appeared to be attending the game with his unsexy wife and a couple of kids. What little I saw of him led me to believe he was no prize. I was highly impressed by his game night attire, specifically a T-shirt depicting a roll of toilet paper with the caption "that's how I roll." Brilliant.
There were some cute teenage girls attending the game, and perhaps a college girl or two, as well as their male counterparts. But at no point did I mistakenly think I was attending a Mensa meeting.
I ran across a few other interesting characters during my travels around the Alexandria area, the most memorable being the fat guy who stopped at the gas station in Garfield. Garfield is one of the old rail towns outside of Alexandria, and served as my rest stop/turn around while bicycling one afternoon. This slob had an ill-fitting T-shirt that wasn't long enough to cover his gut, but that didn't seem to bother him. By pairing the T-shirt with cotton shorts and slipping on shoes he didn't have to tie he was set for an afternoon cameo at the epicenter of Garfield. I biked 21 miles to get to Garfield, only to have to watch fatty waddle into the convenience store. If there was ever a reminder that my life isn't all bad, tubby was it.
These people were no different than people I could meet in the Twin Cities. And, God forbid, if I lived in Alexandria I'm sure I'd enjoy sitting down to a beer with some of them. But spending a few hours in the bowels of Alexandria reminded me I have been fortunate to live in the Twin Cities for the past 14 years.
I am blessed, yet I am hard pressed to remember that on a daily basis. Shame on me.