I recently moved to an apartment in the Minneapolis area, (for people new to this blog), and I live on Singletree Lane. I'm not sure what the significance of this single tree is. Perhaps it died without ever getting married, or perhaps there was one tree on this street when they built my apartment complex in 2006. Chances are, it means nothing but it sounded neat to somebody. And I'm OK with that, but what bothers me is how street names (and addresses) are picked without regard to the fact that people have to live on and conduct business on these roads. Accordingly, the locations have to be written and spoken thousands of times.
Long addresses, like ones with five digits elude some people because of innumeracy. Growing up, my address was 28000, but so many people shortchanged us a zero. Perhaps 28000 seemed too high to people or they just don't know how many zeros are in a thousand. In that case, it's the people's fault more than the fault of the person who came up with the address numbering system. But then some people who create subdivisions or developments come up with crazy themes like flowers, or Shakespearean plays and the resulting street names can be downright embarrassing. As a boy, to have to tell somebody that you live on Azalea Lane is cruel. Feminine-sounding street names are no picnic either. Mary Kay Circle is one of my least favorites. Or why do street names have to be so long? To fill out a form with a ten letter street name is time-consuming and trying to spell the name over the phone is worse. Filling out forms can become a "how small can you write" exercise. Some names are just difficult to spell even if they are short, others can be misinterpreted as one word instead of two. Then there is the problem of a street name overpromising. Living on Grand Vista Lane doesn't mean that you have a nice view, (unless you consider the landfill next door to be beautiful).
I suppose there is no perfect street name, and one could make the case that there are only so many ways you can name a street. It is important to be somewhat original, but State St. and Main St. are everywhere and nobody seems to mind. So, if you're a real estate developer or a city government official in charge of naming streets, be kind and be sensible. And to those of you who live with an undesirable address, I sympathize, and I've taken notice on your behalf.
Some of you may be wondering what happened to me. Well, I just moved in to my apartment here in a suburb of Minneapolis. It's 1.5 miles from work, nice and big, (although perhaps a bit dark) and since I still own my house in the Detroit area, (with a renter), this will have to do. 95% of my stuff is still at my house in the Detroit area. Anyway, I've worked about two weeks at my new job and I like it so far, especially with it being a smaller company. The people are nice there too; I even ate lunch in the cafetaria with our CEO, my VP and another high level person. That would have never happened at GM or Daimler. Regarding the job, I have a ways to go to learn my products and processes.
As for the Minneapolis, St. Paul metro area, there a few things that are worth mentioning to give me noticefaction...
- The traffic lights here last annoyingly long, like twice as long as what I'm used to, (and I'm not even exaggerating.)
- The highway system is like a grid with many 2x2 lane highways and short entrance/exit ramps which I'm convinced slow down traffic. The large interstates are "normal" to me, but speed limits are generally obeyed here, (unlike Motown).
- On a related note, most people are easy-going and not as rushed, (although there are exceptions on the road)
- People are very friendly, but at the same time somewhat stand-offish. I've heard that it takes a while to crack their shell. To be fair though, I've befriended some people already at a few social events I attended.
- There is diversity here, but unlike in Chicago, Detroit, or NYC, my uniqueness seems to get noticed. I don't just blend in, (at least based on my perception). People have a harder time coming to terms with my name than in other places I've been.
- People are thinner overall, there are more blondes, and probably more women than Detroit.
- Just like any other state, there are many here who are from here and will never leave here. I have run into lots of people from Wisconsin and some from Michigan, but hardly any from Ohio.
- There's no tax on clothes in Minnesota.
- The infrastructure is much better taken care of, perhaps because of higher income taxes. They actually have public transportation and trails and margins for bicycles, (but the mountain biking in Detroit is much more prevalent with longer trails.)
- Weather "rollercoasters" much more here with 50 degrees one day, 6 inches of snow the next and then 45 degrees and sun the next day.
- This metro area is further north and west than I realized. Chicago is the closest big city and it's 6 1/2 hours away.
- There really are lakes everywhere.
- Many parts of the metro area are beautiful, especially Uptown and the 50th and France district.
- Ethnic food variety in these suburbs isn't the same as it is in Detroit based on my experience so far.
- The Minne-SO-ta accent does exist and I sense it on occasion.
Well, that's my update as I continue to absorb the city by staying as active as possible.