Minneapolis isn't The 612

Posted March 23, 2011 @ 3:31pm | by S. Cutshall

to me,

...and it never was for me or my family.

These days you can get bad news --or good news for that matter [but it usually isn't]-- in the blink of an eye.  Could be the phone [but not often], could be via email but mostly it's through the pipeline of either Facebook or Twitter.  It's all speed-of-sound that feeds the glutinous appetite of a world that, Knew about it Yesterday . 

In the thick Army-issue wool blanket of endless updates ranging from the mundane to the, well, mundane hardly anything can snap you out of the stupor of short-attention-span theatre brought to you by the So-The-Fuck-What? attitude that is social networking.  But just every so often something does.  And it did for me the other day.

Hurl is closing shop.   And Hurl is the proprietor of Cars R Coffins.  And Cars R Coffins, besides living a half life as a t-shirt, sticker or patch on the ass, toptube or messenger bag of some Fixie ne'er-do-well, was a coffee shop. 

But to marginalize or reduce something that shone so bright to me as mere coffee shop is akin to a headstone of a loved one reading, They was Loved.  It's not enough.  It's not enough because CRC was a Hang [yep, uppercase that H] and a Scene luxe.

Coffee shops serve coffee and the patrons have to make it into something more, something significant, something that is by proxy jive, boring and elitist not to mention uninviting as a convention by Secret Handshake Only.  And while CRC's regulars did not do that, and in fact made it a hub for friendship bordering on pure family, I would strongly opine that it still wouldn't have amounted to much more than --a little different-- if it had not been for its founder.

CRC was, is and always will be a big deal to me and my family. 

Outside of Bob Brown, the only person we knew at the time of our relocation from the NYC area to the Twin Cities, the first person I actually pressed palms with was Hurl, and it took place within the confines of Cars R Coffins itself.

A move that was exhausting in all ways.  Half our shit stuffed into a spur-of-the-moment, holy-shit-we-almost-flipped-the-truck [because the idiot guys we hired to load it overloaded it] rental garage in the middle of Nowhere Pennsylvania [our car included too] that left us reeling when we first arrived in the Land of 10 Bijillion Lakes.

Bob takes me into CRC to, Meet this guy... and so I can get two coffees, one for me and one for my still sleeping wife back in Bob's house in Saint Paul, and a juice for -also sleeping- Chloe.

A guy stands behind the counter and says hi to Bob and then Bob looks at him, me, and back to him.

Hey Hurl.  This is the Large Fella, Scott Cutshall.

Hand out, my hand out too.  Hi nice to meet you, I've read your blog I think.  He's looking nearly as splonked as me.

And that was that. 

A few days later...

Our first bike ride, the day after we moved into our first place in St. Paul [before we found a better located place in Minneapolis], was to CRC for coffee for Amy and me, and another fruit juice for Chloe.  And we never stopped going.  Nearly everyday in fact.

Chloe got her first, Big Girl, bike there [a Schwinn Corvette].  And even though she basically couldn't straddle it, It came from Hurl I can handle it, she would say time and time again after falling over nearly each time she had to stop at an intersection.

Chloe on her new Schwinn

These days she rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker [which Hurl helped procure for her] and after having topped out at 4,912 for mileage in 2010 still says she owes it all to, Hurl.

Excited 10yr old Cyclist...


Riding through the long and deep winter that year I worked out a doable loop from our house in the Seward neighborhood.  The halfway point was always CRC.  Bike in rack, inside for a coffee and some words, swap chemical warmers, and go.


My interview for the Star Tribune newspaper [which first outed my story to the press and people, and for occasionally better but mostly worse] took place at Hurl's coffee and sticker haven.

Eventually Amy and me wanted to have some folks by.  Once we felt like we had the house set up enough to not put forth the notion we were slobbing vagabonds who posed as decent humans we planned a Pizza Night where I would scratch make a dozen or so pizzas and entertain some of our new & closest friends.  Looking back, it's interesting to note that besides Bob Brown every person there was from having first met them at CRC... including both Hurl and his sig other, Kelly.

Hurl and me have much in common it seems.  He'd rightfully disagree but I would argue that what we share is a fairly astute brain in a world of people who we have to, said nicely, suffer with a smirk on our faces.  So much in fact I wanted him to be a subject for a long-planned but short-lived series of interviews I intended to conduct called, People I Find Interesting [or PIFI for short]... he participated, Hurl & The CRC PIFI Interview.

Nearing the end of our stay in Minneapolis, after having set into motion the plan to leave for a rainy, damp, gray life in Portland, Oregon, the last place, on our final night in Minneapolis, all three of us stopped before we left town was, yep, CRC.  In a darkened parking lot behind the building that had become our home away from home we hugged, laughed, and tried our best to not let Hurl & Co. see what was welling up in our eyes and down our faces.

I visited this past summer.  A trip to see Bob and everyone and to attend the FreeRide... and I went to CRC twice during that short trip.  And it was good...

The Hurl--The CRC

...and felt like home,

The Hurl--The CRC

but here's the crux and juice of it all for me:

I'll miss knowing that if and when we ever return to Minneapolis CRC will not be there as destination/hang/haven or clique for me -and us- on our rides.  And that's a gray thing.  It's gray because only ever so seldom does your world collide so perfectly with someone or something elses and you can't take that kind of thing for granted.  I know I don't, didn't and never have.

No, Minneapolis will never be three numbers for us...

it will always be three letters,



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