Monday, August 6, 2007

Minnesota Long Goodbye

I have both witnessed and been a participant in this indigenous tradition.

It all starts in your hosts’ home as you stand up to leave. The current topic of conversation continues unabated as you start walking. Then, like an episode of the Twilight Zone, everyone flows toward the door at the rate of a melting glacier, before global warming.

As your hand grasps the door handle to indicate your imminent departure, your body straddles both the inner and outer dimensions. Here, depending on the temperature outside or the current population of biting insects, you may hover for mere minutes or start discussing the most favorite topic of Minnesotans, the weather.

Reaching your car with your hosts’ trailing behind, you open the door and stand near your seat, looking around to comment on any outdoor improvements you might have missed upon your arrival. Be wary of your hosts’ invitation to take you on a tour of their latest project at this point, as you may miss your flight or be dodging deer while driving in the dark.

By now you ease into the car and close the door. But everyone is still talking so you roll down your window for any last minute news or directions. This portion of the farewell can be as lengthy as everything you have already experienced.

After the leftovers or goodies are handed through the window for your drive home and calendars are consulted for your next visit, you head down the drive, turning to wave until your hosts’ are no longer visible.

When you get home, have a nightcap, you deserve it!