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.
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?
1979, Preaching To The Zinnias
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