Almost in Maine

Beating my man three straight times at Bananagrams was a good sign. Unheard of! I taught him how to play and he took off, beating me all the time. Training for game nights on our upcoming week with my kids in Southwest Harbor worked.

Meanwhile, here in the big city, walking in my man’s Linden Hills neighborhood, delights me with myriad gardens and even some art.

Spoke to the creator of this woman beckoning the other night…

Gorgeous purple irises. But I’m ready for the wild ones by the ocean while walking along Ship Harbor.

Linden Hills irises

I’m ready for Maine.

Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying more of Minnesota, venturing out of Minneapolis to learn about the rest of one the two GOOD M STATES.

Driving down Highway 61, the mighty Mississippi on our left, I marveled at plateaus in the distance. Like I haven’t seen since leaving the Southwest. Except these were so green. From far away they could have been covered with trees or moss. They could have been velvet.

On our way to the Minnesota Marine Museum in Winona [“Don’t Forget Winona;” what song is that from? I can’t remember. OK, I’ll turn 76 soon].

The Mighty Mississippi

I had no idea that two hours from the Twin Cities an art museum of such caliber existed. I was already in love with the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

So much beauty connected to water: a Jamie Wyeth ocean landscape with a giant seagull screeching in our faces; a Mary Cassatt portrait of a girly girl reading, a brook flowing out the window behind her; even a vibrant Marc Chagall love painting, with some body of water I couldn’t identify.

Impressions of Water: Prints by Clara Ueland not to be missed — depicting the Boundary Waters, so Zen, so lovely. All the steps going into her work were astounding. Such patience.

Still, I need more nature: Wonder Land, Cedar Spring Mountain, low tide islands in Southwest Harbor. And it’s June, my favorite month!

Ship Harbor

Twelve more days. My dear friend Claire, who will pick me up at the Portland Airport on June 12, says the green “is so nice and soft and inspiring in June.” By the end of summer, “the green is just too much!”

With the exploding green, I’m wondering what to expect this year on Mt. Desert Island: new restaurants, visits with dear friends, a women’s group meeting?

MDI pals: Anyone know of a sailboat we can rent for an afternoon? Two of my big kids are expert sailors, or perhaps a sailboat with a captain? Please let me know…

I’m trying to schedule a few activities for big kids, little kids, my man and me, for our week in an old friend’s magnificent home by the harbor. Hiking, sailing, enjoying delicious seafood dinners and one Thurston’s lobster feast, even perhaps winning at Bananagrams once or twice.

I can’t wait.

Posted in Baby Boomers, Family Matters, Food/happy hours, Managing Minneapolis, Mount Desert Island/Maine, Nature Girl, Old friends | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Heartsick: Get rid of the f**ing guns!

When Congressional greedy wimps didn’t do anything after Sandy Hook, I gave up on gun law restrictions. I couldn’t stand it. I’m old and couldn’t be sick to my stomach forever. This morning I heard a psychologist on NPR discuss ongoing physical trauma that pop up again and again in this country following every mass shooting by angry, isolated, racist, mostly white men.

I can’t take it anymore. I must do something. I’m a mother, grandmother, and former teacher. How can it be dangerous to attend elementary school, or go grocery shopping, or go to a movie?

But innocent children???? Today I donated $10 to Sandy Hook Promise, a great cause started by the mom of little Daniel, one of the murdered Sandy Hook kids.

“Best part of my day is picking my kid up from school, it should be the most basic guaranteed joy. I cannot fathom the grief and rage, this country is so cruel and lost”…Lucas Mann, retweeted by my daughter-in-law

If you read nothing else today, please take a look at Nicolas Kristof’s “How to Reduce Shootings” in yesterday’s NYTimes (May 24, first published in 2017, gives real solutions and real statistics, not “thoughts and prayers.” PLEASE READ!)

What would prioritize returning guns to reduce the outrageous statistic of 120 guns owned in the United States for every 100 people??

The U.S. Money God.

Perhaps, instead of going to outer space, the wealthiest among us — who care about the slaughter of innocent children — would offer dollars for guns returned. Especially AK-47s, which have no other purpose but to kill people. Children. Ten-year-olds. WTF?

WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT FREEDOM. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THE SLAUGHTER OF INNOCENT YOUNG LIVES!!

Let these wealthy folks do something decent: Give $1000 to anyone who delivers a gun to their local police department, or food shelter director, minister, rabbi, or imam. Whomever they trust to get rid of these weapons of mass murder.

I’m not saying to deliver these killing machines to the Minneapolis Police Department, today marking the police murder of George Floyd, here in Minneapolis where I now live.

This is a sick society. Unfortunately, money may be the only thing that can cure this insanity.

Addendum: While looking for an appropriate photo to accompany this post, “Nagging questions about gun control,” popped up on my laptop screen, the only editorial that ever appeared in the Arizona Jewish Post. I insisted on writing it for the Jan. 11, 2011 issue, three days after former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot, along with the wounding of twelve others, and the murder of six, including nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green who was holding my friend Suzi Hileman’s hand. To its credit, the AJP reprinted that editorial today.

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A North Country Spring

Bees buzzing ferociously. Birds chirping, alighting from tree to tree. Buds popping up out of nowhere. Mosquitoes and black flies torment us later. We’re safe.

I forgot how early spring surprised us in Maine. I left for Tucson in 2002, never to return to winter (ha ha). I forgot how much I loved lilacs, both lavender and white versions, their branches nearly clinging to the side of my Seawall Road garage. Waking me from winter darkness.

In 2017, before putting my Maine house on the market, I ferociously cut back a giant forsythia bush for a better view of the harbor. The last summer in my home. Lilacs had their day before my arrival from Tucson. I had forgotten about their quick coming and going.

This week, purple life arrived in the north country of Minneapolis. I want lilacs near me wherever I go — in my car, by my laptop, next to the bed.

They intoxicate me. In a good way.

I had forgotten that ice-covered sidewalks were the norm just a few weeks ago.

Lilacs took over as I walked to Lake of the Isles today.

When I decided to move from Tucson to Minneapolis last July I wanted to participate more in my grandkids’ lives. Winter couldn’t be that bad. I deluded myself.

But how on Earth did I ever forget lilacs? What else have I forgotten over the past twenty years?

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Time is Weird…

   When you get to be our age. “You look back and you never know,”says a gray-haired man across the way at Isles Bun and Coffee saying. Sounds like an older guy on his best behavior, talking on a first-time online dating meet-up. 

She’s happy he’s talking. But he needs to shut up, let her speak too. Perhaps it’s all he’ll ever say.  

   At our age, I’m so glad I no longer need to do that. I wouldn’t. I came to Minneapolis to participate more in my grandkids’ life during this this last part of my life. Figured I would hold the fort on my couch during blizzards, reading and writing and doing my own thing.

   But here I am. Writing with my new man. A good one: a writer;  photographer; retired teacher; a traveler like me; a person who loves learning and tai chi and music and dancing and meditation.

The world is a messy, crazy place. I’m happy today. I’m lucky. Waiting for my dear son to return from one of the most exotic, dangerous parts of the world. My dear little granddaughter feels better, is back to her lively, talking self. I’m still coughing and sneezing but the sun is shining.

Lake of the Isles: ready for spring to take hold, the next season takes its time arriving in Minneapolis!

I ate some yummy quiche for breakfast. I have no idea what comes next. As my son says, I’m “forever curious.

At my age, one question is about the passage of time: My friend Carol sent a photo of herself sitting among the black rocks on the beaches of Normandy, France. Her photos bring to mind my beach photos, sitting among the strange orange rocks of Santa Barbara or the pink granite rocks of Mt. Desert Island.

At my age, does my mind take in these photos as one memory, being among these various rocks? I’m not sure.

I’m still at Isles Bun and Coffee when I hear a woman behind me say, “Everybody’s growing older and moving where they should be.” Was this comment meant for me? I wonder, knowing full well it would be pretty nutty if it was. Serendipity grabs my attention like a song.

There’s a lot on my mind. It’s been an intense time. Time is everything.

At my age, it will be the first time our entire small Wilensky family will gather together to mourn and celebrate one of our own: Sandra Borg Wilensky.

We will all arrive on Friday in Sudbury, Massachusetts, at my brother’s home for a memorial service the following day. Flying in from Istanbul, Minneapolis, Raleigh, San Francisco. Young grandchildren and cousins meeting for the first time, plus my brother meeting his great nephew and niece for the first time.

My two grown nieces, his two daughters, are doing all the work. Including taking care of their dad. They are both doing their mom proud. With both health challenges and lots of love, we will be there together to honor my late sister-in-law.

At my age, time is a conundrum. Time is at a premium. I’m lucky to have this time.

Posted in Family Matters, kinky eardrums, The Rest of the World | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My 2022 Resume!

Check it out on my Resume page…I’m very excited about my new updated look! I’m old but I still want to change the world, and damn it needs a whole lot of changing!

Wow! I KNOW shit that I didn’t even realize till updating my resume. And as my dear daughter-in-law Steph said, “You’ve done a lot!”

I’ll be submitting story pitches to magazines, journals, newsletters, and publishers. If you, dear readers, have ideas for me or have friends who need a dynamic editor or freelance writer, please let me know. Thank you.

Writing ideas on my mind: Taming the History Wars; How Howard Zinn Changed my Future; Work for the 21st Century, how to include everyone; Brain Science interviews/one with David Eagleman, Stanford prof; possible reprints/updating of my previous articles, such as “The Walking Brain” (Desert Leaf) or “The Heyday of Children’s Bookstores” (Publishers Weekly); Creativity in Septuagenarians; Interviews with the owners of The Children’s Book Shop, Brookline, Massachusetts, currently closing after 45 years in business.

Please write your comments letting me know your thoughts…thanks!

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The Glorious Guthrie

Iconic in its history as the chosen professional theater miles from Broadway, the Guthrie Theater dwells in kindness and joy. What a concept! It’s a premiere arts organization that treats patrons and staff with gratitude.

The Guthrie opened in Minneapolis in 1963. “The idea of a major resident theater was introduced to the American public in a small paragraph on the drama page of The New York Times on September 30, 1959, which invited cities to indicate interest in Sir Tyrone Guthrie’s idea. Seven cities responded: Waltham, Massachusetts; Cleveland; Chicago; Detroit; Milwaukee; San Francisco; and Minneapolis/St. Paul (which was not only interested but eager).” (guthrietheater.org)

My fellow ushers’ backgrounds are as unique as the Guthrie’s avante-garde building: high school kids; young college grads with theater backgrounds; retired teachers, engineers, a human rights consultant, a therapist, and an Apple employee.

The Glorious Guthrie (Flickr)

And there’s a bit of personal history hanging around in this uber-modern building. When my daughter moved to Minneapolis after college graduation in 1999, as a drama and religious studies major, she hoped work at the Guthrie. That didn’t happen. She moved to New York after a year. Here I am serving that familial desire. (She took the religious studies Ph.D route instead, but her theater successes had an enormous impact on her.)

Or as Thornton Wilder, author of the play “Our Town” wrote, “I regard theatre as the greatest art form of all, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”

I’ve never worked in a place quite like the Guthrie. At the end of a two-hour shift overseeing vaccine checks or showing guests to their seats or answering myriad questions. House managers always thank ushers at the end of a shift. Tell us we did a terrific job.

Attending virtual staff meetings is an equitable experience. As an usher — working only ten to twelve hours weekly — I don’t feel anyone pointing to a hierarchy.

Then there are the patrons. A motley crew. I’ve learned a lot about people at the Guthrie, helping theatergoers prior to the performance. A few months ago many people asked, “Where can I get a drink?” Answer: During covid no alcohol or snacks are on sale.

Far and away the most curious thing, to me, is how many people don’t read the signs. Not just older folks but young people, too. “Where do I go?” is a common question despite the giant lit-up sign standing in front of them: PERFORMANCE CHECK-IN.

I used to think we were a nation of readers. No more. I can’t help realizing that conundrum following the election of he-who-shall-not-be-named.

I’ve learned about myself, too. Earlier on in my tenure as an usher a man asked where the coatroom was. When I told him there wasn’t one, he followed up: “What am I supposed to do with my coat?”

I couldn’t help it. “You’ll just have to sit on it,” I replied.

Now I smile more. I apologize. A few nights ago a woman strode up to have her ticket punched. Searching for it, she dropped the contents of her purse.

“This is the most confusing place I’ve ever been,” she complained. Projection? She of course meant, “I’m so confused.”

“I’m so sorry,” I smiled. Poor woman.

Another night an older gentleman tried to give me a one dollar tip for checking his vaccine card.

“Enjoy the show,” I typically say to everyone walking by me. Nearly everyone heading down the hall to the production smiles back, so happy to be there in person following months with the Guthrie closed.

Typically, each human joyfully responds, “I will!”

What a great place to work for an older people-person like me. Besides, I enjoy chatting with Chu and Sierra and Cal about what paths they’ll be scanning next in their young lives.

Meanwhile — Yes to arts education, Yes to gratitude, and Yes to the Guthrie!

Posted in Covid changes, Managing Minneapolis | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

From Place to Place

Living in three different parts of this country has been a life luxury. Visiting all fifty states has been an education, like getting a Ph.D. in U.S. Travel. My latest trip, to Santa Barbara, California, with my new love, merged a few of my life’s geographic attachments.

Living in Tucson for eighteen years opened the door to a blossoming March. Yes, I miss that. Santa Barbara — with its similar climate and Spanish influence — brought me back to the Southwest.

Photo: Marc Burgett

Wisteria, purple plumes atop an artsy entangled tree stump, thrilled me. Close to lilacs in their glorious color, their fragrance is less intoxicating. But wisteria, just hanging there, are more luxurious in their celebration of spring.

Life returning sprouted the joy of bees buzzing on Mt. Desert Island, which annually surprised me, following ruthless winter gale-force winds stirring the ocean into frothy waves, ice storms knocking out power lines, and snow piled to the top of my garage.

And that’s where I am now, emotionally and physically. I never expected to live in Arctic Minneapolis, here in the Midwest. So when Marc suggested a respite: Santa Barbara hiking, wine-tasting, and attending the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, I jumped in.

Nor did I expect to fall in love with the Pacific Ocean. I referred to it as “the other ocean” in my slightly OCDish way. But there I was, lounging on my rock couch, gazing at and listening to waves rolling over ancient rocks. Reading or writing fell away. Hours at the ocean’s edge felt sacred.

I recalled my friend Martha’s father, in his late 90s, sitting in her car at Seawall watching Atlantic waves roll onto the shore. A favorite activity of his. I empathized.

Here’s the beach across the street from our airbnb.

In sunny Santa Barbara, the Pacific finally seemed friendlier. Gazing at the Channel Islands helped, especially after our visit to the most beautiful island I’ve ever seen (sorry MDI!). Santa Cruz Island, an hour’s boat ride from nearby Ventura, enchanted me.

“I love this so much,” I repeated on a six-mile hike with Marc, who appreciated my happiness.

Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the Channel Islands. Here’s where we ate lunch…

I pictured Earth’s curvature in this photo I took there:

This view comforted me. One week after coming home, I think of a madman’s attempt at the annihilation of Ukraine. I will keep looking at this photo and remind myself of wave-watching solace.

Here we were in this exquisite primitive place. For me a place of exultation. Wishing that all humans could have the same opportunity to visit such a magnificent place.

Posted in Managing Minneapolis, Mount Desert Island/Maine, Nature Girl, Old friends, The Rest of the World | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Two Remarkable People

Two minutes after my daughter texted the news that Ashley Bryan had died my phone rang. It was Alison, one of my two Boston nieces. Her voice announced that something was terribly wrong.

“Aunt Sheila, my mom isn’t going to make it. She’s expected to pass very soon.”

“Oh no, Alison, I’m so sorry,” I said. “I’ll fly there tomorrow to be with your dad.” My brother has Parkinson’s.

Two remarkable people were leaving the planet at the same time. I sensed a connection between Ashley and my sister-in-law. Both were very special kind, capable, optimistic, and very accomplished people. One known globally to children’s book enthusiasts and one known as an extraordinary teacher to family and friends.

Ashley, who was 98, died on Feb. 4. He was one of my role models. Every summer, it was a special treat to board the Islesford ferry behind my house on Seawall Road, bounding down the path through a field of wildflowers, either with my kids when they were young or taking a friend.

Ashley once told my son, “Stand outside singing ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands,’ and I’ll know it’s you.”He always did.

In Ashley’s younger days — say when he was around 90 — he would joyfully meet me at the Islesford dock, calling out, “Welcome Sheila of OZ!” It was thrilling to see his latest paintings and F&G’s of his forthcoming books.

“I know one recipe, for toasted cheese sandwiches,” he would tell me, setting the table with a pitcher of iced tea and plates of various cookies. Usually, someone would arrive at the door with more cookies and join us. “Come in, Friend,” Ashley would say.

Once I asked him how he was always so patient and nice. He replied, “Everyone has given so much love to me, I just want to give it back,”

The last time I visited Ashley in his toy museum home on Islesford…he will be so missed

Sandra E. Borg Wilensky died two hours ago at Massachusetts General Hospital. My sister-in-law touched the lives of so many — not only as a wife, mother, and grandmother, but as an extraordinary educator.

As a first grade teacher she always said, “I can teach anybody to read.” She didn’t go in for phonics or whole language, but what the child needed. Sandra didn’t like labels. She knew what needed to be done. Sandra was a quiet, effective activist.

I recall customers at my OZ Bookstore asking if I was related to Sandra when she was principal at the Merriam School in Acton, Massachusetts. “Wow,” they said. “She is amazing.”

It was Sandra who stayed up all night to make traditional Swedish dishes for a Christmas smorgasbord for around thirty of her family members, complete with tiny Swedish flags.

Who took care of everybody? Sandra did.

She was a stunning watercolorist. Over and over she painted the beauty of beaches she loved — on Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard. Each painting was distinctive, evoking the beauty of those places. Really, reflecting her inner beauty.

One of the most impressive things Sandra ever did was teaching thirty-nine hours of art classes online from her hospital bed, following her cancer diagnosis in November. Those classes meant a lot to my daughter over this past year. And to so many others.

Who had the strength to do that? Sandra did. My incomparable sister-in-law. I didn’t see her often enough. Whenever we got together our discussions were honest and meaningful. We weren’t into chitchat over our glasses of Chardonnay.

No prejudice for Sandra either. She hired pardoned murderers to work at her school. My brother was scared for her. Sandra knew it was the right thing to do.

Just yesterday one of my nieces told me that her heart was still beating so strong. She didn’t want to leave this life. Her daughters and one granddaughter stayed in her hospital room the past few days. Their names all started with A, so they called themselves The Three A’s and sang to her, including one of her favorites, a song and dance routine to “The Still of the Night.”

As I’m writing this my nieces are working on an obit of their mother’s incredible contributions to family, education and art for all. No flowers please. Sandra would have wanted that money spent on justice for all (Just Mercy, which I once discussed with her), art education for poor kids, or saving the planet for her granddaughters.

Four generations of Wilensky (Borg) women: Amy holding Lily; Dorothy Borg (who died at 97) and Sandra

Ashley Bryan and Sandra Wilensky were the best of humanity. How lucky I am to have had them in my life.

Posted in Family Matters, Fight wimpiness, The inconvenient truth about education | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Techno-Bullshit No More

I don’t know about you but free online deals entice me. Now I realize they can only come to no good. Whether it’s Hulu or Door Dash, The New York Times, or search engine optimizers, I’m done.

Remember the old adage “You get what you pay for?” It’s usually true.

Here’s my story:

On Saturday night, at my guy’s house, I wanted to order in from a Middle Eastern restaurant instead of his neighborhood Thai establishment that we often ordered from.

This was our chance! I had a great online deal from our local food delivery app. A free delivery with my first order’s 30 percent discount lured me.

The app’s communication skills lagged behind my intent. While submitting my order online, “Error” popped up in red. The app somehow recognized my guy’s address and demanded that I use his mobile phone number to place my order.

First I tried calling the preferred restaurant to change the delivery address for the order.

“No, we can’t do that,” the nice restaurateur told me. “You must call the app directly on their 800 number.”

“Oh damn,” I thought. When a young woman finally answered the phone, following recordings that announced, “Your call is important to us,” and some uninteresting piano Muzak, I asked, “Where are you located?”

“Offshore,” she replied.

“But where?” I wasn’t a former journalist for nothing.

She wouldn’t tell me where. “I’m afraid the driver will deliver our dinner to the wrong address.”

“I’ll call the driver and we will settle this confusion,” she said.

“Wait, you’re going to call the driver from ‘somewhere offshore,’ telling him where to deliver our dinner in Minneapolis?”

My guy received a text: “Your driver has arrived.” But we didn’t see anyone outside of his house. He texted back, notifying the driver that he must have gone to my apartment building.

Couldn’t he just come to the correct address?

“I’ll get in trouble if I change the delivery address” without hearing from the other-side-of-the-world app rep, said the minimum-wage delivery man. We gave him a good tip. Poor man with a crappy job.

The offshore rep reached him. Our food arrived after more than an hour’s miscommunications — by laptop, texts, and phone calls.

The food was only okay. Greek salad with shredded iceberg lettuce. Too creamy humus. Too much unflavorful rice and not enough lamb.

Our saga was not over.

Two days later my credit card company reported a fraudulent charge that was too coincidental.

“Someone tried five times to charge $50 to Google ads on your card,” the Visa rep said. Oddly enough, that was the amount of my food app restaurant charge. A new credit card is on its way.

Probably from offshore.

Posted in America WTF?, Fight wimpiness, Journalism/Writing, Managing Minneapolis | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

A little bit of power

I must pass my Minnesota Class D knowledge test, which wasn’t easy. Previously, I failed it three times Maybe that was because I hadn’t fully studied the driver’s handbook. Ya think?

Perhaps recalcitrant me thought, I’m not going to do what the State wants me to do. I used to crave power. I was a revolutionary.

But passing the test was instructive. I visualized it. I resolved to think through each of the forty questions more carefully, without getting nervous. About a driver’s test, you ask? I hadn’t taken a test in more than fifty years.

Beautiful Lake of the Isles, a half-mile from my apartment, where I spend a lot of time walking. Not at government offices like the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles…

But here I am on a snowy day at the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles.

And I’m not going to do what the State wants me to do. I’m just not.

But I did.

I only got two questions wrong. I was a winner! I gave the thumbs-up sign to the service reps who had directed me to my test computer.

But I wasn’t prepared to stand in line waiting for a different service rep to hand over a rash of paperwork to fill out.

Because I was a winner.

My first clue that I was different: The bespectacled working woman singles out a small group of Somali women standing in front of me.

Somalis are an ethnic group in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area that makes up the largest Somali diasporas in the United States. By 2018, approximately 43,000 people born in Somalia were living in Minnesota, and approximately 94,000 Minnesotans spoke Somali, Amharic, or a related language at home.

“You’re not listening,” she blares at them, newcomers dressed to the hilt in their good coats, earrings and dressy hats atop their well-coiffed heads. They were respectful, meeting up with American bureaucracy.

“Maybe they don’t understand what you’re saying,” I retaliate. A former Somali-American woman dressed in jeans, who spoke fluent English, accompanied the newcomers. We chat. She came from Ohio. I tell her I had moved from Tucson to participate more in my grandchildren’s lives.

The working woman leads the newcomers into the inner chamber of the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles.

A short security officer admonishes the rest of us waiting in the impossibly long line in the hallway outside of the important DVM activity: “Stand outside the door in single file. Single file only, don’t go inside until you’re called.”

“This is such bullshit,” mumbles a young, possibly 7-foot tall Black man with dreadlocks. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t need an ID.”

“Yeah, that little security man (who was also Black, as were most of my compadres in the line) needs something to do. Makes him feel powerful, I guess.”

A very large woman behind me, wearing a pancake velvet hat, pipes up: “I was just telling my husband the same thing. It’s a little bit of power.”

Oh yeah. We all chuckle. The would-be basketball star young man is still mumbling to himself.

A young woman with turquoise clumps of hair who looks like a trucker storms out of the DMV inner sanctum carrying wads of applications.

“The U.S. government is rotten through and through. Fuck them,” she bellows, stomping up the stairs.

Suddenly, the working woman gets down from her perch again. Emerging into the hallway she removes her glasses and stares at the line of humanity. I’m next in line. Disputing the short security man’s instructions, she tells me, “Get behind the door. Just watch through the glass window for me to wave you in. Don’t come inside until I do so.”

“What if I can’t see you waving me in?” I ask. Guess I’m ready for an argument, standing up for all those behind me who wouldn’t dare. They know what it’s like to grapple with authority. I take my chances. I’m an old white woman with purple hair.

“She’s waving you in,” the tall guy taps me on the back to let me know.

“That’s demeaning to wave people in like that, like they’re a herd of cattle,” I say to the working woman sitting back at her perch.

She doesn’t yell at me like she did at the Somali women.

“What can I do for you?” the working woman politely asks. I tell her and she hands me the appropriate papers to fill out, which I do. A nice Somali-American man calls me up to window 10. Super efficient, he is.

He hands over my new license plates. “That will be $137,” he says. “Welcome to big tax Minnesota.” I feel a pang of sadness. My old Arizona license plate will hang under my former Maine plate in my apartment bathroom. Part of the decor.

Perhaps I didn’t want to give up my Arizona license plate with its purple saguaro against a colorful desert background. My Arizona life rests firmly in the past. Minnesota blue license plates will match my ocean blue Toyota Prius.

I’ve lived in three different parts of the country. Because I can.

I have the luxury of owning a car. Of procuring a free global entry card with my Visa credit card that piles up travel points. Someday after covid dies, before I die, I intend to travel to Sicily.

Because I can.

Posted in America WTF?, Family Matters, Fight wimpiness, Managing Minneapolis, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments