Old Geezers Out to Lunch

Old Geezers Out to Lunch
The Geezers Emeritus through history: The Mathematician™, Dr. Golf™, The Professor™, and Mercurious™

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Minnesota Cultural Scene

I drove to work this morning rather than taking the bus, and on the way, near the bus stop at 28th St. and Lyndale Avenue, the pickup truck in front of me sharply rear-ended the mid-vintage Pontiac in front of it. Having seen the whole thing,  I stopped the car and got out, thinking that I might offer clarity if there was any dispute as to what happened.

The Pontiac was very likely a total wreck, with the rear end crumpled up so far that the rear doors were inoperable and the rear wheels deformed so that this accident would need to be cleared by a tow truck. With some interest, I watched as the two drivers emerged from their vehicles and approached one another.

The first action was them shaking hands and introducing themselves. Then they turned to me as I approached and shook my hand, introducing themselves individually to me, too.

"Well, what do think happened there, do ya think?" said the guy who'd just been smashed from the rear.

"Well, ya know, I think maybe it was the ice. I thought I was brakin', but it was like nothing happened, ya know. Or I suppose my brakes might be bad."

"Ya, I suppose it could be either of dose things."

The whole exchange had no more passion to it than a customer ordering coffee from a clerk at Starbucks. A little disappointed but utterly unsurprised at the lack of drama, I soon continued on to the office.

This is an entirely normal scene in Minnesota. I witnessed at least a dozen road accidents this winter and only once did I witness anything like an angry reaction from violated and occasionally injured drivers.

The driver of that car had license plates from Illinois.



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  2. Can't say that I'm entirely sure of the connection between your post and the first comment. Am I missing something here, other than the prospect of salvation?

  3. I was just hearing on the news that rage is bad for one's heart. Maybe that's why there are so many old people in Minnesota. Huh?

  4. Illinois drivers have such a bad reputation in WI I've always been grateful for my OH plates. I bet I'm off any hook in MN, too.
    When I was rear ended, once, we all got out and shook hands round before getting down to the business at hand.

  5. "Ya know, I might have accidentally put the Pontiac in reverse, maybe. Can I get ya a cup of coffee while we wait for dat tow truck?"
    Maybe that was the conversation after you left.

  6. Strangely enough, the two times that I've been an in accident out here in California, it turned out to be a rather cordial affair. Handshaking, "Are you alright?" A simple exchange of paperwork. I guess this plays out easier when both parties realize that no malice was intended and that accidents do happen. I tend to think that this is the norm, but when things go bad then those are the incidents that tend to make the papers.

    I'm just glad that I don't have to ever drive on ice over here!

  7. Considering the ease with which so many take offense this is a very cool exchange to read about.

  8. Ya figure they are decaf drinkers? Nice to hear of a civil exchange in an unfortunate setting.

  9. We have snow-covered streets for up to 5 months a year, and only the major streets are plowed. One thing I see is people driving 'sensibly' for the first weeks, then start driving like its bare pavement.

  10. Those darn out-of-state drivers!
    Good post with a great ending...

  11. I have been in a handful of accidents here in Oregon and people have always been very polite. Although in all the accidents I've been in it has always been, 100%, without a doubt, the other person's fault. So they may have just been being nice to me because they know their the one's that screwed up.

  12. That's a great story! I could practically hear Frances McDormand's voice. :) Dontcha know.

  13. This is a nice thing to read. It's good that we don't always act like barbarians lol.

  14. Aw. This story gives me a warm glow in my heart region.

  15. I wish such civilized mishap encounters were considered as newsworthy as road-rages. It might serve to advise and inform our California drivers that road accidents are accidents, and not affronts to dignity that can only be resolved by combat. Excellent post!