Monday, May 31, 2010

Team Nice

You might be familiar with the Utah Jazz or the Miami Heat, but I'm not. The only team I've ever played for is the Minnesota Nice. I didn't even have to try out: I just waited behind the front door one afternoon when I was three years old until my four older siblings came home from school. Why? To surprise them of course.

La La La

One after another they entered our house and slammed the door on me, oblivious to my presence, smashing me against the wall and squeezing my hand between the hinges. Surprise! Several black fingernails later I was a full-fledged member of the team, and why? Because I had good intentions and didn't scream too much when my plan backfired.


I was thinking about the Minnesota Nice as I ran at the gym today (my small, family-oriented, unpretentious gym), wondering if I'm still on the team. I've lived in Arizona for about twenty years now, and in a lot of ways--for a lot of reasons--I feel more comfortable here than I do in Minnesota. My lungs don't freeze shut. My "chosen family" is here, my friends for whom I do not hide behind doors or anywhere for that matter, my love of surprises dead. My colleagues and students are here, my cats, my gym--who would I be without all of that? And don't you have to live in Minnesota to be on the Nice?

But after some polite banter with myself, I decided that you can't quit this team. You can't get traded, and you can't retire. It's just like being in a family: you can't deny your roots. Once you're born into it, Minnesota Nice is in the blood that runs out of you after every flagrant foul ("That's okay!").

It's in every bit tongue.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thelma, Louise, and Kate

Typing these first words makes me feel like Thelma and Louise soaring into the Canyon: there's no going back. It's exhilarating; my blood pressure is definitely up. However, unlike Thelma and Louise, I'm also overcome with nightmarish doubts regarding this plunge. You'd think that a college English instructor who faces 50 students on campus and 100 online every semester would feel more confident about starting a blog, but no. I've already run five spell-checks and have been sitting here 45 minutes, writing and cutting and trying too hard. To all of my students who hate me: This is definitely payback.

My cat Sara is staring at me and whining, since I have rudely stayed at the computer instead of making our 8:30 a.m. playdate. How does she know when it's 8:30 every morning? I hope nobody minds reading about my cat. What if people think this is boring? What if people make fun of me? What if I get slammed!? Oh wait...they already do that on Suddenly this feels a little more freeing. Okay, now I'm stretching my arms, sitting up a little straighter. I can write for the world if I want to.