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Column: Need for Speed? Mary finds a way to impose limits

It's been a snowy week in Farmington. Returning geese are flocking to the ponds and lakes, but since the water is still frozen from our extended winter, the birds are awkwardly standing on the ice instead of swimming. As I drove north yesterday on Pilot Knob, through Apple Valley, I passed a lake with about a dozen geese strangely wandering around on the surface.

Snow is looming on the weather forecast, and the streets of Farmington are rough with rutted ice from this week's storm. I decided I needed a little pick-me-up from this weather, so I'm planning a shopping trip. What I'm dreaming of picking up is the newest edition of the video game "Need for Speed," a racing game where you outrun other illegal street racers. If you've ever seen my affordably-priced hatchback, you could understand why I feel a need to drive vicariously through a video game. A video game starring my car might be called "Need for Speed Limits." The little hatchback struggles to get up to 65 miles an hour on the freeway. After a long week of battling snow drifts with my undersized tires, I'm ready to curl up on the couch with a game controller and pretend I'm in California zipping around in a Porsche 911.

Of course, my thrifty conscience is whispering in my ear that I should buy a new pair of work slacks instead of the latest copy of Need for Speed. I've had two casualties in my work pants collection. One pair developed a mysterious hole and another blew out a cuff when I tripped over my own pants in an icy parking lot. Yet there is nothing more boring and less satisfying than shopping for work slacks. Even preparing tax returns is more exciting. At least when I'm working on my tax documents, there is an illusion that I might get a $200 refund this year, and the refund mirage out on the horizon keeps me filling in the forms. The only thing out on the horizon after buying work slacks is an evening at home washing them and carefully clipping them to the pants hanger in my closet so they don't wrinkle.

Despite the ennui of buying pants for work, at the end of the day, I buckled down and planned a shopping trip for professional clothing. I know I did the right thing. I debated between Kohl's and Goodwill, and decided to kick off my shopping extravaganza at the Goodwill. Lo and behold, Goodwill was celebrating a grocery bag sale! I managed to stuff a half-dozen pairs of work slacks into my crinkly brown bag, earning a 25 percent discount. My conscience was quieted, as I behaved like a responsible adult and bought sensible clothing instead of another racing game. But as soon as the tax return arrives, I think I'll satisfy my need for speed. As this long winter comes to a close in Farmington, we need a little bit of a pick-me-up. And I would like to be picked up by a Porsche 911.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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