A fugue state, formally dissociative fugue or psychogenic fugue (DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders 300.13), is a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality and other identifying characteristics of individuality. The state is usually short-lived (hours to days), but can last months or longer. Dissociative fugue usually involves unplanned travel or wandering, and is sometimes accompanied by the establishment of a new identity. After recovery from fugue, previous memories usually return intact, but there is complete amnesia for the fugue episode
It seems that my Minnesota fugue state will be ending pretty soon. I have been offered a position back in Pennsylvania and plan to start working there in late August. Indulge me in a “memory dump” before my Minnesota amnesia kicks in.
It has been an eventful 10 years.
I moved here fresh out of residency with the woman I thought I was going to spend my life with. Almost giddy with the possibilities we rented a duplex in South Minneapolis for too much money from a landlord that we later learned was a total asshole.
The wife started her fellowship at the U of M, and I scrapped around for urgent care shifts. After enduring 3 years of intense scrutiny, I was happy to be relatively unfettered by work responsibilities. Eating out, exploring the new city and sleeping in on weekends became the new norm.
It was good, or so I thought.
I soon took a Locums position in Red Wing to stabilize our meager income and things started to unravel. I soon experienced the “Minnesota nice” of rural Minnesota in full force. “You ain’t from around here, are ya doc?” No, I wasn’t, and everybody pointed that out to me, albeit passive-aggressively.
The wife seemed to be doing better. Making new friends and acquaintances; even a new “study buddy” from class – study buddy with “benefits”, it seemed.
I was operating on an assumption that the wife and I both wanted the same things out of life and each other. But alas, I was wrong. I wanted kids, and she, well … wanted to sleep with other people.
Usually a deal breaker.
Definitely was a heart breaker.
To deal with the heartbreak, I got a job and threw myself into it. I would rather have bought a dog, but the wife not only abandoned me, but she also relieved herself of her 2 obese cats as well. So, the job became catharsis in a weird way.
Suddenly single with some disposable income, another catharsis was travel.
One trip back to New York reintroduced me to an old friend of some friends who later would become my best friend and wife. (I know – awkward sentence – the best friend and the wife are the same person for clarification; also my new, 2nd wife for even more clarification. ok, I'll stop now.) A singular entity who is smart, beautiful and one of the few truly "good people" out there that can really make me laugh. Not just polite chuckles but real honest to goodness guffaws that cause you to smile involuntarily when you think about it later when you’re alone.
We planned some more travel (a little trip across the pond in the fall), this time together. We got re-acquainted over a few months via AT&T long distance - planning our trip.
We fell in love in walking around Paris in the rain and making out on the floor of out friend’s apartment when we should’ve been sleeping off the jet lag.
A few years and a lot of frequent flier miles later, she moved out here to join my Fugue.
Bought a house, got married and set up establishing a home. Distractions abounded with dinners out, trips around the state, sleeping in. My dabbling in bonsai became an obsession. I finally took that “Learn to Row” class that I always wanted to and 6 years later, I’m on my third single scull. I’m regular on the Mississippi River at 6:30 am most weekday mornings from May to October, dodging barges, flotsam, jetsam and an occasional dead carp.
We decided to visit our mutual friends (from New York) in their new digs in Lausanne, Switzerland. Two weeks of travel, new experiences and good old fashioned fun – proved to be life-changing in many ways.
Peter was born 9 months later.
Brought into the world kicking and screaming through a Pfannestein opening, he has not ceased to amaze, astound and confound me every day.
Three years and change later, Matthew followed his brother’s path, literally, and is possibly the happiest soul I have ever encountered.
I’ve done some cool shit in my life and have accomplished a lot, but it all pales when I watch my sons make a new discovery or master a new idea or concept. Proud is insufficient.
The wife and kids are joining the journey back east of course, so they’ll be exempt from the fugue. And for that I am thankful.
Some things that I want to forget:
1) “Coon Rapids” – Really? I’ve been told it’s not a racial slur, but … come on! I don’t care if the houses were made of gold and diamonds grew on trees there, I would never, ever live there.
2) Once again, not supposed to a racial slur, but if I ordered a “Hot Dago” sandwich in South Philly - I’d seriously get my ass kicked.
3) Minnesota Nice. Sorry. It does exist. It’s not out in the open, but it’s the tangible feeling between words, quick looks between natives and general aloofness that permeates the day to day interactions that make it hard, nigh, impossible to make a true friendship. With that said, Laura will miss the Moms and I’ll miss the Dads, but probably not that much. Cathy Larson, you are the exception. Bruce, a close runner up.
Let me be clear. I don’t hate Minnesota. In fact, we're sticking around just long enough to hit the awesome spectacle known as the Minnesota State Fair one last time.
I don’t begrudge my time out here. I have learned a lot and have changed a lot, good and bad, I’m sure. But I’ve never felt like I was “home”. I know now that Laura and Peter and Matthew are my home, but deep down I know that I “ain’t from around here”, and I want to go back to where I know I am from.
I can’t wait to “UN-disassociate” my fugue.
Peace. I won’t let the door hit me on my ass on the way out.