SD 835–857: I have survived another Minnesota journey, my first time back to South Dakota in years, and another Pitchfork. Insert unnecessary sentence here about how I thought I wrote while in Minnesota but apparently did not.

It was a good trip; better than expected even. Just hard being gone that long and away from the boys. Also I was working for most of it so there’s the tension between feeling like I’m on vacation while not actually being on vacation and therefore having to juggle responsibilities and work. First week was productive and I put in more hours and expected. Also had a successful client presentation on a day I was off, but I considered it fair trade for when I was working at a reduced capacity while being on the train Monday afternoon.

I put a lot of photos on Instagram and pretended that was a thing people still do since they don’t do it on Facebook anymore. Can’t just leave them in my own photoroll to look at and forget you know.

I feel like I should have a lot to write about going back to South Dakota but I’m just kind of braindead at the moment taking Monday off to recover from Pitchfork. Two weeks gone and it’s already ancient history! Saw cousins I haven’t seen in ages. Met their kids for the first time, the oldest of whom is like 13? Eesh. My youngest cousin graduated college herself several years ago. Pretty sure she was barely in elementary school last time I saw her.

Got to go out drinking at a dive bar with my uncles. Got to light off several thousand dollars worth of fireworks on the farm. We ended up making a surprise overnight trip to Brookings after it turned out most of the family was leaving already on the 4th. I hadn’t been back since before I moved to Chicago in 2008. Unsurprisingly, a lot has changed. We rolled into town just in time for the Fourth of July parade. Stood on Main Ave across from my dad’s (former) restaurant which is interestingly a bakery again. I started crying when I saw the South Dakota Democrats marching with a progress pride flag and trans pride flag. We saw a pro-choice protest later. I’m almost to the point in my life where I’ve lived away from Brookings longer than I lived there.

My emotions are unsurprisingly conflicted. I needed to leave, I couldn’t go back, but I feel a bit of guilt for abandoning it I guess? I feel like I treat visiting South Dakota like visiting a zoo, but those are real people with real lives. People I grew up with! People I share much in common with! It’s just weird to be outside of it now. We stopped at our elementary school and A and S played on the playground while Brandi and I walked the few blocks to our childhood home. Everything felt so much smaller and in high def. A lot of my memories now seem colored by the 1.2 megapixel digital images I took in high school.

640 x 480 pixel memories

Now in stunning 8K, with massive additions.

Childhood home is painted a different color now. Old fence and trees are gone. There’s a Blue Lives Matter flag in the yard. You can never go home again. Because someone else lives there now. Brookings has Starbucks (plural) now. An Applebees. A Japanese restaurant. A Buffalo Wild Wings!

I wasn’t able to see anyone I knew while I was there. It was only a night and it was the 4th so the town did feel a little deserted, even more so than I’d expect. After having pandemic mask anxiety dreams of being in South Dakota with Brandi and realizing I wasn’t wearing a mask and no one else was either… there I was voluntarily doing that. Oops.

Other things happened. Find queer joy where you can!

Then it was back to St. Paul for another few days and got to see some friends at least. Then back to Chicago for a short workweek and two days in the office.

Pitchfork happened again. A lot of our usual friends didn’t go this year, and Dane only came on Friday. Mood was a bit more subdued this year since it was cloudy and or/raining and cooler all weekend. Though, it seemed like an abnormal amount of people were passing out too despite the cooler weather. My theory was the cooler weather made it easier to make bad choices.

Tierra Whack was excellent and probably my favorite act. We went up to be close to the stage, which I didn’t do at all last year. Japanese Breakfast, Mitski, and Toro Y Moi were all good as expected. Some new great discoveries for me were Dry Cleaning, Magdalena Bay, and Lucy Daucus. I think Spotify puts Lucy Daucus in my Discover Weekly playlist regularly, which I can see why as she’s very much my jam. The Linda Lindas were a ton of fun as well. Parquet Courts were great as usual. I ended up being a bit underwhelmed by Spiritualized and The National, which was a bummer as I was looking forward to them.

I was sad I missed Low since they overlapped with Japanese Breakfast. All weekend I was waiting for a Kate Bush cover and Sunday night we left a bit early during the closer The Roots, who were putting on an excellent show, only to hear Running Up That Hill as we were a few blocks away. Serves me right for trying to beat the rush out of the park!

And now here we are. A day of rest before I try to fit a month’s worth of work into a single Tuesday to meet some end of day and Wednesday deadlines. LFG!

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