19 May 2001
Sometimes what you miss about a place or a person demonstrates that you don't really miss it at all. For example: if you break up with someone, and you only miss his mom's garlic-cheese bread and his dog, it was probably a good choice to get out of there. But sometimes the little things that I miss are symbolic of the bigger things I miss.
I miss Kasota stone.
This is sort of what it looks like. If your colors are off, you won't be able to tell. It's a golden stone that's found in the Kasota area. (Kasota is across the river from St. Pete and on the way to Mankato.) If you drive the back way to Kato, you'll drive past the Kasota quarry. The flame burns there all night. Took us several trips to figure out what that was. Anyway, a lot of the Gustavus buildings are built out of Kasota stone. I get to missing it.
Problem is, of course, that once again the administration doesn't realize what's cool about Gustavus, so they started building new buildings out of red bricks. Just like every other Harvard-wannabe campus in the nation. There are still lots of Kasota stone buildings, and those are the ones I miss. I don't know if they'll be there in twenty years, though.
I noticed, when I was looking for Kasota stone pictures, that Gustavus doesn't have pictures of the dorms. It's kind of indicative. They also refuse to acknowledge that the dorms have any character of their own. I lived in Wahlstrom for four years, and I can tell you: the only thing it has is character. Not space. Not climate control, at least not humanely. Not plumbing, at least not quietly. And certainly not decorating charm. (Although I believe they've given everybody furniture by now.) But it's got character coming out its orifices.
I don't miss college. I wouldn't go back to classes there again if I had the chance. I wouldn't live in Wahlly again. Being a grown-up is so underrated. But I miss being able to run up and see Ceej, or Heather, or Aaron, or...well. Lots of people. I miss that. And I miss the way the mud and the fresh greenery and the Kasota stone looked together. I miss the madness that came upon everybody as we finally, finally got rid of winter. I miss freezing my stupid butt off because it's finally just barely warm enough to wear a short skirt. I miss spring in Minnesota. Summer in California has started out to be lovely, but it's just not the same thing. I miss being able to walk down to the Chestnut Tree or the Co-Op on a spring afternoon. I miss picnicking in Swede Park. Spring in Minnesota is almost mouth-watering. It's that much of a whole-sense experience.
It's only now that I'm finding these things about the Bay Area. I don't really miss Concord much, and I don't think I ever will. I'm not nostalgic about the chickens on our complex lawn. In fact, I'm still freaked out about those chickens. I don't even really miss the coffee places -- they were poor substitutes for the Tree and the Hag anyway. (Last night I saw two potential coffee places near us! One is labeled "Bistro" and one is labeled "Patisserie," but they both appeared to have big enough tables to write on, and they both served espresso. I'll keep you posted, rest assured. I need a place to have coffee, and running up to Berkeley every time I want to work is not a good option.) There are a couple of restaurants that are good, but, well, we can make the drive if we really miss them.
It's easy to explain a lot of stuff I like about the Bay Area, especially since many of them are people. (However, I'm going to start asking people in the grocery store, "So how did you meet Karen?" or "So how do you know Mary Anne?") But the Kasota stone is a little trickier. I don't want to live in St. Pete -- at least, not yet. I just want to drink it in for awhile.
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