Concrete Jungle

John Teschner meditates on life, love, Minneapolis, work, rowing, Africa, and much, much more.

The Three-Legged Ferret

The difference between childhood and adulthood is the difference between square Christmas presents and asymmetrical ones. To this day, I know the distinctive geometry of a wrapped G.I. Joe blister pack by heart: the action figure…

Thanksgiving

Like most Americans with an office job, my day is dominated by my odd, easy, seemingly endless intercourse with a computer. Time-wise, sleep is the only serious competitor. What I get from the internet is not…

Agony

It didn’t occur to me that solitary chanting, talking to the television, changing hats, knocking your knuckles on the floor, then crossing eight fingers while jiggling both knees and saying, “Please please please please please,” kicking…

Shutting Up

My education as a teacher began in Charlottesville, Virginia thirteen years ago, during my second year at the university there. I was nineteen. After our freshman year, my friend Andrew and I moved out of the…

The Path on the Water

My grandmother was thirty-eight when her husband Doug was killed in a car accident on a business trip to Vermont. After she returned from the hospital, gathered her three boys, and told them their father was…

Fear

The summers of my childhood were defined by the great, triangular car trip my family made each year to see our scattered kin. We’d leave our home in southern Virginia heading west on I-64 to my maternal grandparent’s cattle farm…

Thinking About Money

It’s April in Minneapolis, when forecasts for a rain/snow mix materialize as sweet, simple, snow-melting rain; when highly localized sandstorms mark the progress of the street sweepers trundling along on their civic spring cleaning; when the…

Work

On September 1, 2010, I woke up at six a.m., as usual, made coffee, and carried it out to the garage, where previous owners of the house we rented had built a little roofed-over patio with…

Skijoring, Sort of

I’ve lived in Stevens Square for eighteen months, and I’ve never seen anyone eating chicken wings and walking down the sidewalk. If this doesn’t surprise you, you’ve never walked a dog in Stevens Square. A dog…

Gin

January! Month of hope and empty promise; month of bright and biting sky. Hump month. Midwinter. Month of cold clarity. Gin month. For a thousand years or so, when an artist in Britain, Holland, France, or…

Part Four: The Pattern

In the early spring of 2002, I had a vision in the West Virginia mountains. I’d wandered away from the meadow where my friends were enjoying the afternoon sun after the freezing temperatures that had frozen…

Part Three: The Angler

Sometimes I imagine eternity. Not often. Once or twice a month at most. It can happen while I’m lying on my back and Liz is leaning in to search my chin and jawline for the painful…

Part Two: The Boundary Waters

In July, Liz and I canoed for four days through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness—a million-acre tract of boreal forest, glacial lakes, and Precambrian bedrock that covers most of Northern Minnesota and elides into Canada’s…

Part One: The Commentator

When people learn I lived in Kenya for two years, they often ask me, “What was it like?” For a while, I found it nearly impossible to answer this question. But I’ve gradually whittled down an…

Highways and Rivers

Minneapolis is divided into four parts: Northeast, Downtown, North, and South. Northeast—formerly a destination for East European immigrants, now for middle class families and hipsters—is cut off from the rest of the city by the Mississippi…

Naked Streets

Minneapolis is home to the most poorly timed traffic light in the universe. It controls the intersection of 42nd Street South, Hiawatha Avenue, and my beloved light rail line. View Larger Map Like its cousins on…

The Bar and the Battleship

As a kid, my favorite storybooks were the ones with maps: Wind in the Willows, Treasure Island, The Hobbit. Unlike the indecipherable highway atlases stuffed in our car doors, these maps only showed a road, path,…