For reasons that still aren’t entirely clear to me, I got up this morning – actually tomorrow morning which will be this morning by the time Pique rolls onto its stands sometime later tomorrow, which is to say today… unless you waited until Friday to pick one up which is two days from now or yesterday depending on how far you want to carry this farce – at an hour so early it would be best described as last night, except that would really confuse matters, so I could catch a flight that’ll take all day to reach Minnesota, wherever that is.
Why, I hear you ask, would anyone in their right mind go to Minnesota in what would be best described as the middle of winter? Good question. And one I can’t really answer being, as I said earlier, not entirely clear on the reasons for this trip.
Technically, I’m going to Minnesota to – and I promise I’m not making this up – go skiing. That’s right. I’m leaving Whistler, which I’m proud to say is definitely one of the best places in the world to ski today, tomorrow or yesterday, just to drive a thin joke into the ground, to go skiing someplace that’s recycling last season’s snow they’ve kept in a warehouse over the summer. This is entirely possible since the place I’m going skiing isn’t much bigger than some of the homes in Whistler and has far less vertical.
Needless to say, having not entirely taken leave of my senses, I’m being forced to make this trip. Okay, forced is perhaps too strong a word. I’m being asked to make this trip. Actually the request ran something like this.
Ski magazine editor: "Hey Max, I’ve got an assignment that’s right up your alley. In fact, there are only two people in the whole universe who can really do justice to this story – you and me. And since I’m committed to touring the resorts of Utah, there’s really only one person in the universe who can do this story. You!"
Me: "This sucks, doesn’t it? Where you sending me, Kansas?"
"Hell no. Minnesota! Land o’ 10,000 frozen lakes."
"And, if I’m not mistaken, absolutely no mountains. Is this a joke?"
"Gotta go; pack warm."
Living in a place where nature’s malevolent sense of humour runs more to rain-to-the-top than -40° with a windchill factor that’ll flashfreeze the snot in your nose, there is not a feather of down in my closet except a lightweight vest my folks sent me for Christmas last month. In Minneapolis – Motto: Who the hell was St. Paul and why did he move next door? – businessmen wear down suits and moon boots to work. Women and crossdressers can buy pantyhose in sheer, any colour of the rainbow and downfilled. Small children spend half the year in snowsuits so protective they come with rebreathing apparatus built in.