Ever been to Minnesota? I’ve been there three times for work. I work in marketing. My clients are universities, and for the most part, universities aren’t mobile. Which means that sometimes I have to have nude images taken of me and breathe recycled farts at 30,000 feet in order to do my job.
On St. Paddy’s Day I began my two-day, two-city tour of Minnesota.
All of the blogworthy moments* took place on the second day. After waking up at 4am on that first day to catch an early flight that was only slightly delayed. After landing at MSP and turning on my phone to find 20 panicked emails from my fellow travelling coworkers because my flight was slightly delayed. After driving 2.5 hours through a sleet-storm. After getting to campus at 11am and working till 9:30pm. After unwinding for an hour, sleeping, and waking up bright and early in order to do the same thing all over again.
After all of that, I walk into the breakfast area to see this thing.
Let me rewind just a bit. On the highway, in the rental car with my two co-workers, we saw a billboard for the hotel we were going to stay in. It boasted that our stay would include an “unbeatable breakfast.” They could have promoted anything about the hotel. They chose the breakfast. And they called it UNBEATABLE. I wish we took a picture. We knew it was a load, but it raised our expectations. If they’re going out there with a singular message, proclaiming to all the world (region) that they have an UNBEATABLE goddamn breakfast—then they had better up their game. Grant Achatz better be manning the omelet station. Something to justify the billboard and make the bedbugs worth it.
They had this.
This thing. Instead of the simple waffle iron, that I love, they had this machine that shits pancakes.
“I shit pancakes for you. You eat my pancake shit.”
Despite the elaborate graphic on the front, I didn’t understand that pushing the button set into motion a series of events that can never be undone. Not in a million nightmares. I watched like a dummy as the primitive progress bar marked the passage of my hidden treasure as it made its way through the digestive tract of a machine that gets its rocks off serving humans a steaming dump. I was still thinking What the hell IS this? when my pancake shot out onto the counter with a slap.
“There. You eat that.”
I was supposed to have a plate ready by the thing’s ass to catch the pancake, but I was too busy being traumatized. I snatched this unholy meal and dropped it next to my meatless bacon on my styro-plate. Then I made sure the plate was there for the next two. That’s right, I pushed the button two more times. I swear I heard the machine grunt with effort.
I . . . I ate all three pancakes.
I washed them down with weak coffee sweetened by Minnesota sugar.
Don’t ask me what the difference is between Minnesota sugar and regular, non-Minnesota sugar. It tasted the same. The best I can guess is that it’s like regular sugar only not so goddamn pushy.
So you can forgive me for finishing up and immediately demanding that my fellow travelers head over to an award-winning doughnut shop with an unpronounceable name: Bloedow’s. Did you try? Yeah, you were probably wrong. You probably pronounced it “blow-doughs.” Then maybe you tried to add doughnuts to it and said something like “blow-doughs doughnuts.” And then it got mashed together and you were just saying “Blow nuts? Blow nuts! BLOW NUTS!”
Well, it’s not “blow” anything. It’s “blay.” It’s pronounced “Blay-doughs.” So if you’re ever in Winona, Minnesota, you can impress locals with your proper pronunciation instead of telling them “Boy, I could really go for some blow nuts right about now!” Which could be misinterpreted.
Ironically, I was looking forward to getting to Bloedow’s for some fresh, strong coffee because it turns out the pancakes were made of cement. That machine was a cement mixer.
Well, of course they had a shit-ton of doughnuts but no coffee.
Here I am confronted with no coffee.
Bloedow Bakery had all the charm that can only come from a business that’s been in the same family for 90 years. A business run by generations of people forced into family-run slavery. Forced to abandon free-will, give up on their dreams, and submit fully to the one thing that provides enough resources to potentially finance their dreams.
I dared to ask a question of the angry middle-aged woman hidden behind racks of her crushed spirit.
“What’s that one?”
“The cherry Danish?” Are you from a pastry-free planet of assfaces??!!! Cause that’s the only way that you don’t recognize that for what it is: a GODDAMN CHERRY DANISH covered in decades of tears.
It’s the same attitude you’ll find at Louisa’s Pizza in Crestwood. Fantastic food, but all of the family look at you like What the SHIT are you doing here?! before remembering they’re kind of obligated to seat you and feed you. Even after they remember, they still look at you like they’re doing you a favor.
Like the family I used to work for when I sold produce. A business operated by a family that was seemingly committed to proving that competence isn’t hereditary.
The cherry Danish was okay. But the jelly-filled was worth stabbing for.
So now we still had to get coffee. Because I was feeling stabby without it. We found a place and hit the road much later than planned. I had to make it from Winona to Minneapolis in 2-and-a-half hours, with very little room for delays. Good thing I like speeding.
The day was perfectly sunny and perfectly dry. The roads were wide open. I had coffee and two coworkers who distracted themselves with “work” while I risked all of our lives.
Well, Officer Youaintfromtheseparts wasn’t going to let me defy the posted limit. No matter how safe I was driving. I zipped by him going only God knows how fast—and I’m sure God was more concerned about bigger things than my driving.
You see this shit going on in Ukraine? You little pissant! Ever hear of Syria? And oh yeah, I’m kinda keeping fucking gravity in effect. Yeah, YOU’RE WELCOME!
I pulled over before the trooper even turned on his flashers. Because why play games? He sauntered over right out of a stereotypist’s sketchpad with those big dark sunglasses and aged-leather skin.
“Well, you pulled over on the wrong side of the road.”
“Think you can manage to cut across and park on the right side of the highway without getting yourself killed?”
I managed and thought there’s no way in Minnesota I’m getting out of this without a ticket. And maybe ending up on YouTube where the dashcam footage of me getting beaten goes viral.
But I got a warning.
It only delayed me a little bit. We still made it to Minneapolis on time. And met some truly amazing people. None of whom were blogworthy.
*Blogworthy: anything that’s not worth recording but is nevertheless pushed out onto a blog (the Internet’s thought land-fill) where it will forever be bounced around the cosmos along with semi-nude pictures of former child stars—YOU KNOWWHO YOU ARE.
Ex: “What should I do with these old Target receipts?”
“I don’t know. Either throw them out or put them on a blog. They’re blogworthy.”