The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Getting Your Way Without Seeming To

A Minnesotan can never be seen doing anything underhanded or nasty—it offends the Minnesota nice code—but he or she can be assertive in a passive-aggressive way. There was a wonderful example of this on my block this afternoon.

We’ve had record snowfalls and parking has been restricted to only one side of residential streets. My neighbor has had a large Ford truck with Arizona plates belonging to a stranger parked in front of her house for a week. It’s been very annoying since she and her husband have two vehicles. It also means the street is never properly plowed. Of course, she cannot call the city and have it towed, since that would be too direct and too obvious. So, instead, she left her car on the other side of the street just behind the truck in such a way that other cars could get through, but the city plow could not.

She had created a classic Minnesota cul-de-sac.

When the plow got as far as the parked truck this afternoon and could not get through, my neighbor ran from her house in her shawl and buttonholed the driver, asking what could be done about the trunk. Of course, she wanted assurances that it would be towed but couldn’t say this directly. So, instead, she asked about city policies, etc. They chatted for about five minutes. Finally, the driver assured her that the offending truck would be removed.

At this my neighbor shook out her hair and smiled. She had set her trap and won. Only then, as a seeming afterthought, did she offer to move her car. I was impressed. I’ve seen her in action before, of course, but in my estimation this raised passive-aggressive behavior to a new high.

December 22, 2010   Comments Off on Getting Your Way Without Seeming To


Exotic orchid
With opulent foliage,
Never once in bloom.

December 22, 2010   Comments Off on 310