Transpo convo: Phyllis in the Snow

[This is part of’s “transpo convo” series, which aims to be an oral history of getting around the Twin Cities, one person at a time.] 

“It’s nasty out here,” Phyllis proclaims after crossing University Avenue at Pascal.  She was dragging her shopping bag suitcase on wheels in one hand and using a cane in the other.  She had started crossing at the green light and the 22 seconds of crossing time didn’t quite allow her to get all the way across, but the cars waited patiently for her to get to the sidewalk.

"I like Minnesota.  I just don't understand what they do sometimes."

“I like Minnesota. I just don’t understand what they do sometimes.”

“First of all, I don’t like that train,” she says, shaking her head.  “It takes an hour to get all the way to Minneapolis.  It has to stop at all those stoplights.  And why do they build it in the middle of a street?  It should have been on the freeway.  Where I’m from, they don’t do things like this,” she says, referencing her hometown of Chicago.

Phyllis has been here since 1991.  “I’m ready to leave, though,” she says.  “It gets cold here.  I get short of breath walking in the snow.  It gets hard.  It makes you tired.  I’m moving to Florida.”

As we walk slowly down University Avenue between Pascal and Simpson, we meet a man with his family who is angry that we don’t yield fast enough for him to pass through.  Between the trees on the north side and the shrubs on the south side, there is really very little sidewalk for people to intermingle.  It seems few are happy with the return of snow to Minnesota.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Phyllis says.  “I like Minnesota. I just don’t understand what they do sometimes.  My main buses were the 16 and the 94.  The 16 only runs a little bit now and he 94 doesn’t run on weekends.  They do everything to make it convenient for them, but they got to think about the people.”

“Well, this is where I’m going.  Thank you and goodbye.” Phyllis says at the end of the block as she lugs her bag up the steps.  “It’s nasty out here,” she reminds me.

Monica Millsap Rasmussen

About Monica Millsap Rasmussen

I was inspired years ago by beatnik, Joe Gould, and the stories he would hear from people he met on the street. Always a dream of mine to be the sort of person who could elicit entertaining stories from strangers, I now have that opportunity. I am looking forward to introducing readers to new lives.