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Monday, March 19, 2012

It's Possible I Over-Reacted

A re-post from Dec. '08. Enjoy!


People – no, I can’t say who, just people – think that Minnesotans are passive-aggressive.

I don’t think of us that way. I prefer to think of us as conflict–avoidant.

For instance, if you show up at my house wearing, in all sincerity, say, lederhosen, my response would be, “That’s interesting.”

Because it is. That’s interesting. Eventually, of course, I will have to ask you what moved you to make such a fashion choice, but in that respect I am not a typical Minnesotan. Nor, it seems, am I particularly polite.

Actually, to quote a favorite aunt, I am “Miss Tact”. (Implying, of course, that I have none.)

A number of years ago, I lived in another part of town, across the street and two down from a man who worked a terribly early shift.

How did I know he worked a terribly early shift?

Because there came a week where he apparently needed a ride, and a car would pull up at 4:25 in the morning, music bursting from its speakers at decibels normally ascribed to pneumatic riveters…

It was summer, my bedroom windows were open, and my heart burst up into my throat as I sat straight up in terror. Tornado! Air raid! Fire! Arrrrrrrgh!

It was none of those things, of course, as I soon recognized it as the dulcet tones of AC/DC.

I didn’t fall back to sleep.

And for the first two days that Mr. Rock and Roll arrived to pick up my neighbor, I bit my tongue. Inside, of course, I was feverishly composing outraged letters to him about the loss of civility in the city and how much I hated him.


Dear Sir, Your disdain for volume control has put you in violation of Common Sense and Civility.  Please report across the street and two houses down for tar and feathering...

On the outside, however, I remained collected.

On the third day, however, the moment I heard “Hell’s Bells” being blasted throughout the neighborhood, I lost my cool. Shoving my head violently out of my bedroom window, I screeched at the top of my early-morning lungs, “THIS IS A QUIET NEIGHBORHOOD! SHUT UP!

O, the irony.

He did not hear me, of course, because not only was the music far too loud for him to have heard me, but I could now see that the driver was not even in the car.

Hmmm.

On the fourth day, when the rock-concert on wheels pulled up, I was awake and ready. Dressed entirely in black (very slimming), I watched from my window as he got out of the car and went inside.

The moment my neighbor’s front door closed, I shot out my own door as fast as my short little legs could carry me. Engine running, music blaring, I hopped into his car and tore away…

And I left it, three blocks away. Turned it off, left the keys in the ignition, and took an alternative route home.

I didn’t fall back to sleep on that day, either, but I smiled for the rest of it.

Two questions still bother me, though:

1. Do you think I over-reacted? and

2. How long do you suppose it took him to find his car?

47 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

I would have thought you could have rounded up a vigilante posse and been waiting for him when he came out...something sort of high noon...leaning on the car with baseball bats and shotguns...cigaretts clamped firmly..."Hey Buddy, got a minute?"
Your reaction was far too mild...

Shelly said...

You are like a ninja, Pearl; a noise fighting, peace loving ninja who uses her superpowers for good. Now, we've got some coyotes who start their howling entirely too early on weekends. Can you come do something with them?

I'll bet the guy is still looking for his car. He doesn't seem too swift.

Simply Suthern said...

I am assuming by the question of whether he found his car or not that you sloved the problem?

Sounds like a perfectly good way to handle it.

Kim Gibson said...

Hahaha! Now, I see why you sat at a table next to the teacher! Someone needs to keep an eye on you! Just kidding. I love it! ...Of course, someone always needed to keep an eye on me too.

Bossy Betty said...

I love people who overreact! You can yell at me from your window anytime.

Vicus Scurra said...

Of course, if this was a proper sitcom, you would have snagged your clothes on the way out of the car, and had to run home half naked.
Or found out that it was the wrong car.

Cindi said...

Did he show up for a 5th day?

esbboston said...

Out of all the Minnesotan Female Audio Crime Fighting Ninjas, you are my favorite.

Sioux said...

You, Pearl? Over-reacted? Nah, you were the epitome of restraint. (I think that was brilliant. Did the blasting stop? Inquiring minds want to know...)

Susan in the Boonies said...

You. Did. NOT!!!

I've said it before, I'll say it again.

When the zombie apocalypse comes (and it MAY), I so want you on my team. Or if you'd just pick me to be on your team.

Although I can't think of a single reason why you should.

Apart from the fact that I adore you and would be good for your ego.

looby said...

Brilliant! I would only have liked to have seen you drop the keys down the grid (don't know the American word for that - the drain things in the gutters of roads).

You'd get on well in northwest England. We bear things for ages, then we might write a letter to the newspaper, then we leave an excruciatingly polite note. Then we smash the fucking thing to pieces.

Belle said...

I think your idea was brilliant - unless you had been caught and charged with stealing a car. Then - not so brilliant.

Loud music in my neighborhood makes me want to cut my ears off. Luckily, because we are all anal Canadians, there are strict laws against it.

Pearl said...

Delores, rounding up a posse means witnesses. :-)

Shelly, I have to admit it was one of my more satisfying experiences!

Simply, he didn’t come back. My only regret is that he may not have figured out WHY it was taken. Had I thought this through more carefully, I would’ve left a note.

Kim, :-) See, I have these ideas, see… Actually, I rarely act on them. But I do have these ideas…

Bossy, I’m also quite good at the impromptu peeve. :-)

Vicus Scurra, it does sound a bit sitcom-ish, doesn’t it? The walk home – fully clothed! – was so quiet… I tell you, the world’s a different place at that time of day…

Cindi, he did not. As far as I know, it could’ve even been the last day he was going to pick that guy up anyway. We’ll never know. I prefer to think that he believed himself to be in a dangerous neighborhood and declined to return. :-)

Esb, audio crime fighting is my speciality. :-) Oh, and I’m very glad that your mother likes my book. Would you believe I got an e-mail from someone yesterday wanting to discuss the availability of said book as a text book for a college class in September?! I positively SQUEALED.

Sioux, the blasting was ne’er to be heard again. Alas, like many super heroes/vigilantes, I was un-sung. ‘til just now. :-)

Susan, I’ve already picked you for my team based on your recipes alone. The fact that you are good for my ego is an enormous bonus, as I am often insecure and am in need of macaroni and cheese (the good kind, not the boxed kind!) and sympathy. :-)

Looby, that would be the “grate”, the sewer grate. I did want to give the bestid a chance at getting his car back, but I also wanted him to “think about what he’d done”. :-) And I love your description of northwest England, as it sounds familiar. I take things for quite a while, then I become very, very civil and write letters in polite and correct English, and then I blow up. It’s quite lucky for me, I think, that I was not born a male. I hate to think of what I’d do with all that testosterone. Wait. No, I don’t. :-)

Pearl said...

Belle, yes, that thought passed through my head on the walk back to the house. :-) I've gone my whole life without a felony. Think I should probably try to ride that out.

That, and, as my father likes to say, continue to avoid the heroin.

esbboston said...

Your book as a college textbook?!?!? I just did a little supportive yea-squeal for you, that's neat! I haven't read your book yet, so I will have to wait until I make my long journey to Oklahoma to visit my mom. Again, high pitched yea!

Pearl said...

esb, insane, I know. :-) We'll see how that pans out...

Pat said...

I'm just aghast at your courage.
And I applaud your and your aunt's irony.
Some folk would have you believe that Amerians don't understnd irony which just goes to show how ridiculous it is to lump any nation as diverse as Americans together as one.
Does that make sense?

jenny_o said...

I used to write correct, civil letters also. These days I don't have the energy so I just think them and move on. There are so many things to write about! I get tired just thinking about it :)

And HUGE high five on the book news! That is SO exciting!!

bill lisleman said...

"fall back to sleep" I wouldn't be able to fall back to sleep just reading about it. When you parked it did you leave it running with music on?
You need to start wearing a cape.

fishducky said...

I live in Los Angeles where it seems everyine under 30 has their car radio blasting & their windows rolled down--but not at 4:30am, thank God! Can you come out here with a machine gun, please? I have a plan, but it requires me to have a passenger as courageous as you.

Douglas said...

Apart from the fact that "passive-aggressive" is not "conflict avoidance", I applaud the action you took.

We have noise laws here that are supposed to prevent those rolling rock concerts. They fail miserably (the laws, that is) because the idiots who are driving those cars are either oblivious to them or do not care. They have spent a $1000 to equip their $800 car with the ability to break windows 2 blocks away and, by God, they intend to do just that.

Of course, I use to leave for work on my motorcycle at 5:30 AM... (rev, rev, brrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttt!)

MimiTabby said...

great story. I think you did a great thing. The right thing? not so sure, but it was brilliant!

Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

Jenny Woolf said...

Wonderful story! I would fantasise that he NEVER found it :)

Pearl said...

Pat, the U.S. is a large country with all kinds of weirdos in it. :-) Room for everybody!

jenny_o, I'm hoping to write about my huge successes soon. :-)

bill,I turned the stereo off -- no point in moving my pain from one neighborhood to another. :-)

fishducky, I like you. You and I could get into trouble together.

Douglas, I suspect every generation is aghast at how thoughtless the next generation is!

MimiTabby, thank you. :-)

Jenny, with any luck, it sat there in that church parking lot and ran until it ran out of gas. Nah. I don't wish vapor lock on anyone...

vanilla said...

Interesting solution. However, as to the overreaction, perhaps simply turning the car off and throwing the keys under the front seat? Woulda saved ya a lotta walkin'.

Roses said...

What a great idea. And it was much better than taking a baseball bat to the windshield.

He must have been steaming! And not even in the bloody car with the radio blasting!

Serves him right.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Hooray for Minnesota activism! Should this story become widely known, you could be a folk hero around these parts.

Eva Gallant said...

Wow! Remind me not to mess with you!!!!

JohnD said...

How sedate an action on your part! I was at least, expecting you to empty a garbage can into the driver's seat, or, even throw a petrol bomb into it. T merely move it a few blocks away so that he spent hours looking for it was 'minimalist'.

at another residential location, I once took the keys out of a concrete agitator truck and threw them down a storm drain while the driver of said vehicle was emptying his waste concrete onto the nature strip opposite our home. It took him two hours to get his boss to bring over a spare set of keys! (The yard was locked and the yard keys were on the bunch of keys I disposed of down the drain!)

SherilinR said...

that story was definitely worthy of a re-post! i felt all excited and slightly breathless for you as i mentally sprinted home, dressed in black in the early morning darkness.

BamaTrav said...

Nah, I would have taken a Louisville slugger to it or put a 300 mag through his engine block.

Diane said...

I find your solution creative.
Elegant.
Resourceful.
Intrepid.
Understated.
Courageous.
Impressive.
Impelling.
And downright fun.
And we need your skills in MY neighbourhood!

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

OMG I LOVE it. I hope you LOCKED the keys in the car (god forbid someone STEAL it ;))..you would have the added satisfaction of knowing that he would have to break into his own car to get them :) BWahhahahaha!

Gigi said...

Oh Pearl! I LOVE this. No, you didn't overact. I, on the other hand, definitely WOULD have over reacted had some SOB repeatedly woke me up at 4:25 am.....

Also? I am SUPER excited about the possibility of "I Was Raised to be A Lert" being a college textbook! Raising a glass in your honor as I type (which is quite difficult, as you can imagine)! Remember us little people when you hit the big time, mmmkay?

Bodacious Boomer said...

Open windows in the summertime...

Do you have any idea just how crazy that sounds?

As far as did you overreact? Surely you jest. If he'd awakened me at that hour, I'd gone down with a screwdriver,thrown open his door and stabbed him right in his woofer.

Jenn Jilks said...

This is ironic. There have been trucks across the street for days, and a truck jackhammer banging away. The NOISE!!!!

Greetings from Cottage Country!

The Elephant's Child said...

You done good.
Who cares how long it took him to find the noise machine.

Kane said...

OMG!!!! You stole his car!!!!!! You're a badd baddd girl!!!

Hahahaha I love it Pearl. Who knew you had it in you? Do tell us whether the ploy was effective.

Cheers =)

Kane

Tempo said...

Car theft is car theft Pearl... But I wouldn't have put you in to the cops.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

I have to ask: what happened on the fifth day?
Rosemary

Perpetua said...

ROFL, Pearl. I would never have had the courage to do this, but applaud yours. I'm a wimp, but I might just have tried to lock his keys in the car if I'd thought of it.

Linda O'Connell said...

I knew we were kindred souls. Many years ago, we were tent camping. That in itself is enough to push a young mother over the edge. The four guys in a van with music blaring until the wee hours, couldn't hear me either. So I walked over to the van and it was vacant. I ripped out the wire to one of the oversized speakers. People in nearby tents applauded. You reach a point. YOU know.

the walking man said...

1. Under reacted because you did not drop the keys down into the sewer.

2. Did he show up the next day?

Suldog said...

I think your response was correct. It was also magnificent, and I applaud you! I wish you had lived on my block in an earlier time. Perhaps we would have done the following insanity together.

When I was about 20, there began a time when one idiot driver continually came screeching around the corner on our side street, then traveled up it at speeds far exceeding the legal 20 mph. Maybe he went 35 or 40. In any case, it was unnerving and very dangerous.

(Understand, I was no saint. I was known to ingest a few smokeable substances that fell outside of law. However, my illegalities didn't represent a potential harm to the bodily health of my neighbors.)

Anyway, after about a week of this, I had enough. I heard one the car, tires squealing on another street nearby, and I sprang into action. We had recently had a wall repaired on our property. The wall was constructed of cinder blocks, which are big whitish bricks weighing perhaps five pounds. I ran outside, barefoot and dressed only in jeans, picked up one of those cinder blocks, and sprinted into the middle of the street just as the car was careening around our corner. I held the cinder block over my head with both hands, my intent to throw said cinder block through the next windshield that came near me obvious to even the obtuse of moronic drivers.

Brakes were hit, the car came to a dead stop, then the driver reversed gears, backed up, and drove away on another street. And he never came down my street again.

Yes, I would have put the brick through his windshield, but I'm glad he had sense enough to not see if I would :-)

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Pearl, that is called proactive remediation by any name. Even though somewhat illegal, Ninjas may at times flatten all tires, crazy-glue door locks after locking keys inside, and leave vehicles double-parked right in front of the nearest cop-shop. ":)

jabblog said...

That is hilarious and of course you didn't over-react. Sleep deprivation does strange things to one's brain . . .

Daisy said...

What a GOOD idea!!! Now I know what to do next time. :-D