Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Who are these people?

So I'm having a great Minnesota day. Being all creative and sh*t at my Warehouse District marketing agency. Walkin' over to Kieran's Irish pub for a pint of the black stuff with my old man. Hittin' the Twins-Tigers game at the Metrodome. Takin' the pimped out Light Rail after the game.

All was good with the world and my favorite state until I arrived at my car in South Minneapolis at 10:30 p.m. and found, stuck to the window of my Honda Civic, a Post-it Note handwritten in pencil. You can't read it from my poor cell phone photo, so let me transcribe it for you:

It's hard to imagine that you avoided bumping the cars around you when you squeezed into this spot. Please try to be a little more considerate. Thanks.

Let me break this down. One of the truisms of life is that all of us are convinced of two things about ourselves: We don't watch very much TV, and we're good drivers. Both of them are generally false. But I am a good driver, and I can be a very good parallel parker. Yesterday morning, rather than park within the same zip code of the stop sign in my usual area and get another ticket, I opted to park farther away and parallel it.

This was not even in the top 10 of the most difficult parallel parking jobs I've attempted. I was careful not to touch either car, and as Zeus is my witness, I completed the task without allowing one electron of my Civic to touch one quark of the other two cars. I even parked with perfect symmetry between them, allowing the maximum maneuverability for my neighbors, remembering the winter beratement I endured from a nearby homeowner who missed half a day of work trying escape the tiny space I left him.

What exactly went through the head of the person who left me this note? Perhaps he was just walking by, saw my excellent parking job and decided to postulate a thesis on its unlikeliness. Perhaps he was the owner of one of the other cars, who upon seeing a scratch on his bumper from 1999 decided that it MUST be attributed to today's miraculous appearance of the insidious Civic. Or perhaps he was a true scoundrel and, in an effort to distract attention from his own poor parking skills, he employed psychological projection to blame the criminal act on moi.

Forgive me, wonderful residents of a place I love, but this can only happen in Minnesota. This state invented two things: passive-aggressive behavior and the Post-it Note, and I just experienced the merging of the two. This person actually took the time to look at my car, piece together a story about how it was parked, assume that the cars in front of it and behind it were the same cars present when I parked, perhaps look for scratches on either car, formulate a theory of criminal intent, and--this is the element of passive-aggressiveness that truly redefines the form--scold me in the future for an act I never committed in the present, and end with "thanks."

I am breathless.

8 comments:

Aunt Christy said...

Oh. My. God. There is collectively too much time on the hands of your fellow citizens. Speculating about a crime for which there is no evidence. At least here, when people want to get in your face, it's because of something you've actually DONE. Here's an example of Brooklynites pissed off about dog poop. http://www.curbed.com/archives/2007/04/27/red_hook_doesnt_take_no_shit.php

I really need to think more about your post. I'm disturbed.

Stephen Dashboard said...

It IS amazing, isn't it? Seeing MN's passive-agressiveness in all its variety and splendor.

Makes me long for the East Coast--what the f-#@! are you lookin' at?!!

The Wordman said...

This is the price you pay for driving on roads where everyone's polite, i.e., a sucker. With my L.A.-honed driving skills (second only to my ninja fighting skills), I sometimes feel like a wolf among so many passive, self-righteous (and sloppy) sheep.

I think the passive-aggressiveness around here comes from generations of Lutheran brain disease, augmented by consuming vectors found only in the boiled grapes that are embedded in every hot dish from here to Alexandria.

Beyond the pathology, I think this is a midwestern phenomenon -- my wife still whips out her grandmother's line when she wants to shame small children (or me, if no small children are present) into stopping whatever we're doing:

"You know better than to do that."

Sounds like your anonymous note-writer took a page from grandma's book.

Stephen Dashboard said...

I think I'm gonna dig up my piece on "Praire Toads" to post on CITD: Midwestern passiveness.

BTW, I've ridden with you, Conk, when you've pulled off such a feat of parallel parking skill. It's amazing...like deposited by helicopter. You've got the chops.

Vegas Gopher said...

At least you live in a city where the majority of citizens know how to write.

The Wordman said...

after Stephen's last comment, I am wondering if our host here knows how to perform the "Tokyo drift"...

Closed Course. Do not attempt.

kimberlyoh said...

oh, please. you know you were wasted out of your mind. It was totally your fault, asshole.

Kisses.

Anonymous said...

ach... you damn passive aggressive minnesotans drive me nuts sometimes... especially the merging... ach... the thing is they'll still wave a fist at you... or ignore you while they block two lanes when there is a merge two miles ahead but everybody has already pre-merged backing up traffic.

i hate it.

did minnesotans have to take driver's ed? did they learn about the merging zipper? marc... please use your blog or your warehouse district creative agency to spread the word to the rest of your statesmen... merge like a zipper.

good luck in hollywood!

http://dottynana.blogspot.com/2006/12/merge-like-zipper.html

http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/merging-into-traffic.php