The Citidiot

My friend Nick and I strolled into the Looney Bean coffee shop in the tiny northern town of Crosby, Minnesota. We were grabbing some morning coffee and inquiring about the town’s upcoming community festival that we thought was called "Crosby Days." It was taking place that weekend and it sounded like a fun thing to do with our families.

"Where do we go for the Crosby Days celebration?" Nick asked a Looney Bean employee.

"It’s…called…Heritage Days," the teenage boy replied snidely.

Then the kid frothed Nick’s mocha with an extra shot of bitterness. All we wanted were some details on the event and some coffee. But since we were stupid tourists, we inadvertently insulted the local kid’s civic pride by calling his town’s festival by the wrong name. When we left the shop and walked down good ol’ Main Street, Nick popped off the coffee cup lid just to make sure there wasn’t a fistful of toenails in his coffee.

"Do you know what we are?" Nick asked me, as he clutched his beloved morning mocha.

"Nope," I replied.

"We’re Citidiots," he said. "City. Idiots."

Nick had a great point. During the summer months all across the country, there is a mass exodus of city dwellers that descend onto quaint small towns, picturesque beaches, and pristine wilderness. We migrate to places like Cape Cod, The Hamptons, and National Parks, trying to get a little rest and relaxation. But mainly, our vacations just irritate the hell out of the local folks. We arrive clueless and slap happy, completely forgetting that people actually live in these sunny locales.

In Minnesota, we head up north. Memorial Day to Labor Day is cabin season. From Nisswa to Ely to Grand Marais, we flock to resorts and lake shores, bringing with us the baggage from our sad silly Twin Cities lives. Citidiots (like Nick and I) treat every vacation destination with ignorant bliss. As we drove away from the Looney Bean in shame, we passed no fewer than fourteen massive signs hailing the upcoming "Heritage Days."

That afternoon, we Citidiots went four wheeling. I climbed on top of a brand new Honda ATV that had a serious engine and mean looking tires.

"That beast is a man’s ATV!" Nick said all pumped up.

I should’ve been psyched. I should’ve been stoked to ride such a kick ass ATV through the beautiful north woods. But I wasn’t. I kept thinking that a real man should be driving this thing and not me. A real grizzled man who wore flannel, had chewing tobacco crammed into his lip, and shouted things like, "America! Hell Yeah!" For crying out loud, I’ve seen every episode of "Project Runway." And I loved every minute of it.

I manned up, though. We plopped our four year old sons into our laps on our respective ATVs and took off down a heavily wooded path. I drove cautiously through a huge grove of ferns and White Pine trees, careful not to tread on something I wasn’t supposed to. I lolly gagged across several miles until my son finally had enough of my slow foot.

"Bring it on!" Murphy snapped at me. Apparently, I wasn’t driving Miss Daisy. My kid wanted speed, so I tentatively opened the throttle. We tore through the woods and shot out into a clearing that was filled with wild flowers, a blueberry sky, and a herd of deer. It was a magical ride, a true father and son moment.

Sadly, though, my Citidiot tendencies took over. Back in the thick woods, I tried to single a turn. When we returned to our cabin, I caught myself trying to parallel park the ATV in the open spot closest to the front door. Nick stood there laughing.

"Do you want me to get the valet?" he asked.

To complete the Citidiot Trifecta, the next day we tried to take the boys fishing. And as usual, it was a complete disaster. We had a boat but no boat license. We had a motor but no gas. We had boat cushions but no life jackets. We had fishing rods but no bait. The two boys stood on the shore, dumbfounded by our incompetence. I made an unfortunate decision to just go ahead and fish off the dock. That lasted about two minutes before the kids realized it was a total suckfest. The boys shrugged their shoulders, set down their rods, and went off and found their own fun.

"Well, at least we tried," I said in defeat. And once again, a perfectly beautiful Minnesota summer day was ruined by a pair of Citidiots.