If you’re coming downtown, bring a sharp stick with you.
The skyways, a second-floor Habitrail-like system linking buildings together and designed to keep Minneapolitans out of the snow and within walking distance of their desks (to make money) and fine retail shops (to spend money), are beginning to fill.
Let the seasonal clogging begin.
And let your notions of how things work fall by the wayside.
I don’t know what it is, this need for the Christmas shoppers to walk down the center of a skyway surely wide enough for everyone, but there you have it. Heavily weighed down by coats, boots, purses, and the odd toddler or two, the urge to run screaming, throwing elbows and coffee, sweeps over me, and I am left trembling in its wake.
I am not a violent person, no matter what you’ve read.
There are rules to the skyway, dagnabit! They are simple, easy-to-follow and rather intuitive, assuming you’ve brought your common sense with you.
But for those who know people who have turned their common sense in for, say, a 48-ounce Slurpee or the like, perhaps you could pass this along: in Minneapolis, like in so many other upstanding cities, we walk on the right. Ergo, if you are walking down a hall and it appears that if you continue on as you are that you will be hit head-on by a large crowd, odds are good that you are on the wrong side of said hall.
It boggles the mind, how many people will continue to walk on the wrong side, pushing strollers, talking on phones, seemingly oblivious that people are stepping out of their way to avoid hitting them.
Perhaps they are all from other countries. Perhaps they all drive on the left and not the right. Rules are, after all, made by the people that use them. In Minneapolis, we stand to the right when riding the escalator to allow the chronically late and the terminally ambitious to pass us on the left. We allow the elderly and handicapped access to the seats at the front of the bus. We offer to buy drinks for the poor and writer-ly among us…
But wait! What if not everyone knew these things? What if, say, Monday was our day to hang our rugs out on the balcony and beat the dirt out of them? What if everyone knew it, absolutely everyone knew it, but suddenly a large influx of Aleutians move into our building and in their world Monday was the day to clean a week’s worth of fish out on the balcony? Before you know it, there are rugs covered with fish entrails! Fish covered with cat hair and boot droppings! Chaos ensues, words are exchanged, and dinner is ruined!
Holy Hannah! Run for the shelters!
Breathe in. Breathe out. That’s what I need: deep breaths, tolerance and understanding.
And if that doesn’t work, I’ll need a sharp stick.
* One line among many from the song “The Politician” by Cream
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