Vampires grew to be the majority of the world populace in a movie called “Daybreakers” (2009). They were not hunted down anymore, but instead grew accustomed to living a normal “human” life, with the important difference, that they wouldn’t step outside their houses during daylight (as it still the case that sunlight is dangerous for them). But they have several devices in play for them: if they want to go for whatever reason to the countryside, they would walk into their garage, get into their car with the very deep tinted windows and drive away. Or, if they want to visit an appartment or office next to their building, they would just use the tunnel system that interconnects every house in the same city. The remaining humans are bred indoors to provide them with the necessary drops of warm blood.

The movie is not a very good one – the imdb rating is 6.5 (if you consider imdb to be an authoritative website – {insert insider joke here}). But I couldn’t help but think about this film all the time in my first ten days in the Twin Cities. I am a visiting fellow with the World Press Institute and an Austrian native. We have a climate in Austria that is very similar to Minnesota – heavy snow in winter, heatwaves in summer. When the first glimpse of sun arrives – usually in April, we are so depraved of it and hungry – after about five months of winter, that we stubbornly sit in outdoor cafes all the time, all dressed in downy winter jackets and scarves and – you name it. As the temperature rises, we Austrians readily rejoice throwing nearly all our clothing off and try to soak in each and every drop of heat and sunlight. Walks to the supermarket while at the office turn into the welcomed possibility of getting sun. Sun. Sun. Here it comes.

Minnesota is one of the most beautiful states in the US and prides itself not only with 10.000 lakes on every licence plate but also with the fact, that it is very “outdoorsy.” People would bike and run and go fishing and go water skiing and swimming and canooing and god knows what. But once they are in their natural habit (as in: not involving a sporting activity) they tend to be indoors. All the time. The streets of St. Paul and Minneapolis are eerily similar to the ones in Daybreakers – devoid of people. In Minneapolis downtown where most firms are based people use the skywalks to get from building to building. A lot of shops and restaurants are based on the first floor. The skywalks, meant to prevent the populace from the very bitter Minnesotean winter, are also crowded in summer.

“People here tend to departmentalise their lives. It is either sports and outdoors or it is indoors,“ tells me a German immigrant who has been living here for the last 20 years. “It is really strange,“ she adds. “I don’t like how the sky walks have turned out. They drive people away from the streets,“ tells me the Minneapolis Real Estate Giant, Jack. The conversations took part at a dinner party at a beautiful summer’s eve with a door to the adjoining garden. The door was locked at all times. We were all stuck in the room, with industrial lightening. The air conditioning was on. Nobody was enjoying the sunset, when the light turns yellow and red and the air gets the refreshing touch it only has at nightfalls.

Disclaimer: I don’t think that Minnesoteans are vampires. On the contrary, they are very warm people, much warmer than Austrians.  But maybe they needed to breed that extra warmth to fight of the air conditioning.