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Thursday, November 13, 2014

I Support the Left, Though I'm Leaning to the Right, with apologies to Cream*

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.

Move over!

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

21 comments:

Silliyak said...

As it was foretold, so it was, "Cream" has risen to the top...

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
...unless said upstanding city happens to be in one of the strange places which does the opposite...

Mind you, there used to be similar etiquette along Edinburgh's Princes Street. 25 years on, I found this to be an archaeological artefact. ...or was that just me coming in after-de-fact???

Hmmmm cream..... white gravy.... where's that treacle pudding..... YAM xx

vanilla said...

Aha! We know winter has begun in Many Apples: Pearl has brought out her annual Skyways rant!

Leenie B said...

At least sharpen up those elbows.

Silliyak said...

I was negligent in not adding R.I.P. Jack Bruce

joeh said...

These people are obviously trained in the aisles of New Jersey Supermarkets.

Monday isn't fish cleaning day?

funny stuff. Again.

chickensconsigliere said...

Pearl,but walking on the right is so boring...maybe I could come buy you a drink, and we could walk on the left, just once. I could buy you two drinks and then we'll walk right down the middle singing something about Dinah and her kitchen, something like that...

bill lisleman said...

seasonal clogging - I assume you didn't mean the dancing type. That could be a solution - dance your way through the skyways. People tend to give room to people who are dancing.

jenny_o said...

This is why I don't like to go shopping with even one other person - we turn into that slow-moving impediment to the rest of the world. Especially walking with kids. Or elderly parents. Actually, I'm probably a slow-moving impediment all by my lonesome, when I think about it. Now I feel the urge to apologize at random in the mall.

fishducky said...

Even funnier than usual, Pearlie!!

Daisy said...

Without order there is only chaos! You should get that man in your head after these people, Pearl. He'd make short work of them, I bet. :D

Delores said...

It's the same in the malls...not just at Christmas either...people walking the wrong way on the wrong side with strollers for quintuplets running up your heels and bumping into your legs...folks who've passed the store they wanted suddenly putting on the brakes and throwing the whole parade into a tizzy. Lots of fun.

sage said...

I was impressed with your skywalks a few years ago when visiting your city for a conference. But I was there in the summer and only used it to stay dry during downpouring thunderstorms

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

What is WITH the weird walkers? Is it seasonal stress?

Diane Tolley said...

Take a banana! According to John Cleese, unless someone attacks you with a bunch of loganberries, you're good.

River said...

I wish I had a place to hang my rug and beat the sh....ummm, dust out of it!

Barbara said...

Sounds like Costco late Friday afternoon! I have the strongest desire to rip the damn phones out of people's hands and stomp on them...the phones, not the people! Well, maybe some of the people ..... Yes, must breathe, peace.

Linda O'Connell said...

Sounds like the mall on Friday night with the overrun of youth. I say elbow them, or stand in their path and sing, Stop in the Name of Love. They'll go around or mow you down.

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Oh, they do it in the Columbus skyways, too! Drives me batty, these people walking four and five across, not letting little-ol-me through as I walk correctly on my side of the road. Unacceptable!

Catalyst/Taylor said...

SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) has the answer. It's the windows on either side. People are afraid they will be sucked out to oblivion. She shares this fear. Once when we and my two young sons went to the top of some tall building in Chicago (I think it was called the Hancock Tower then) when we emerged from the elevator in the center of the observation floor, the boys ran to the (floor to ceiling) windows to gaze out and down 100 some stories. I walked over and took a look. SWMBO braced herself against the wall next to the elevator and never left it.

Pat Tillett said...

I think the sharp stick is answer.
When it comes to idiots or rude people, I am not as tolerant as most. I guess what I'm saying, is that a head-on collision, is not always a bad thing.