Here Vs. There

Thanks to Facebook, I can keep tabs on several people from my present and past who are scattered from here to all over the U.S., not to mention Canada, Japan and Germany. I try to limit my list of “friends” to people I know relatively decently, though I’ve made a couple of exceptions here and there along the way.

As a former New York City resident, I enjoy seeing what my still-in-the-NYC-area pals are up to. A couple of friends from college have also settled in the Los Angeles area, so I’m occasionally entertained by their accounts of big-city life.

And I imagine they, too, might get a kick of some of my status updates that allude to life in rural southwest Minnesota. One of my closer friends — he was one of the groomsmen in my wedding — gets a huge kick out of any reference to Worthington’s “Big Corner.” (For the unaware, it’s the intersection of Oxford Street and Humiston Avenue.) After posting something, for example, about a particularly horrid commute from his suburban New Jersey community into Manhattan, I might write something about how I got lined up behind a couple of extra cars at the Big Corner traffic light. If he wants my sympathy, he better lend me some of his, too.

The other day, one of my college friends had a post on his blog, “The Rich Media Blog,” that went on mostly about his embarrassment of having the music he listens to on the digital music service Spotify being automatically posted to Facebook. Apparently, he was a little taken aback to see that all his friends saw that he had sampled the “Glee” Christmas album. From there, he also gets a little deep and talks about the persona he wants to project online versus in-person, and discusses the kind of person he sometimes is at an LA party.

I couldn’t help but think of just how incredibly removed I am from any kind of LA party scene right now — particularly after my visit to Dundee last week.

Dundee, a Nobles County town with a population of 68 at the 2010 census, is the antithesis of any metropolitan area. I went to cover a meeting about a planned sanitary sewer project, and at the event met Randy Rindfleisch, who owns the Dundee Steakhouse next to City Hall. Having heard the restaurant was a tasty establishment, I decided to head over after all the dirty water talk for a bite.

I proceeded to have a nice chat with Rindfliesch while enjoying a quarter-pound burger and some of the best onion rings I’ve had since the last time I consumed Larry Lang’s treats. We talked about the business and the town, and I told him I would try to make it back sometime again.

At this point in my life, given a choice between an LA party and a quiet (and delicious) lunch in a rural community, I’m pretty sure I’d take the latter every time. What would be even cooler if one or two of my more urban acquaintances could join me sometime and see what the good life really is.