Saturday, October 15, 2011

Where everybody knows your name. Because it's probably Olson.

So, I had intended to do some kind of wrap-up for the week (read: collection of shit I found on the Internet while I was probably supposed to be doing something important) last weekend, but then my 96-year-old grandma's heart stopped while she was already in the hospital for something (surprisingly not heart-related), so instead I flew to Fargo, North Dakota. She's fine, BTW, because she's a total badass. When I called her hospital room that day, she referred to the fact that she was technically dead an hour earlier as "a little scare," and then proceeded to ask me how the weather was and congratulate me and my wife on our Master's degrees and new jobs, which is exactly the format of every conversation I've had with her in 30 years because all she cares about is how you're doing. (You can do your own "big heart" joke here if you want). They gave her a pacemaker, so she's part robot now. And part zombie, I guess, except instead of killing you, she just feeds you and tells stories about when you were four. I have the coolest grandma ever.

There are a few things you should know about flying to Fargo. First of all, if you're not already in Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, or Winnipeg, you have to go to one of those cities, because noone else knows where it is. Then you and eight other people get into a Mini Cooper that's been painted to look like an airplane. If you're over 5'6", you'll need to duck your head to get in. As long as your carry-on is smaller than a paperback book, you can put it in the overhead bin; otherwise you'll have to check it at the gate. On the plus side, though, two-thirds of the seats are window seats, so you're pretty much guaranteed a great view of a wheat field.

Or just a million clouds.

Once you get off the plane in Fargo, all of the events and dialogue for the duration of your visit will be written by Garrison Keillor. Be prepared to have a lot of conversations about the weather and who wasn't in church that week. Also, farm equipment. One day while I was there, a radio station devoted an entire morning to discussing an important piece of legislation called the Church Lady Bill. I can't even make this shit up.

You may also discover that, improbably, Fargo is now filling up with hipsters. My guess is that it's obscure, so they can say "yeah, I live in Fargo. You've probably never heard of it. It's not mainstream."

When it's finally time to leave, here's what you'll need: the city you're flying to (from the previous list) and your last name. The end. No fucking ID required–but they'll confiscate a jar of salsa, because in North Dakota, that shit is dangerous. Next time I go, I'm seriously only paying for a one-way ticket, because there's got to be a Smith or a Johnson going to one of those cities.

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