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Mpls, MN, United States

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Incidents & Accidents

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


"Where'd all that hair go?" he asked, handing me back my photo-emblazoned debit card.
"That was long ago," I said. "That picture was taken in 1998."
"I like it better," he said.
"Then?" I asked. "Or now?"
"Now," he replied. "I like short hair. A lot of guys like longer hair, but I like short hair, because you can wash it and go. I can be kind of a spur-of-the-moment kind of guy--some days, I'll just say, 'Let's go to Duluth! Right now!' There's no time for my wife to spend two hours drying her hair!"

I laughed.

He had just spent the past half an hour talking to me about my car and the rest of the work I needed--as well as the European style of car purchasing and maintenance, his relationship with his wife ("She tells me I should learn another language, because then I could bore people in two languages!"), and public transportation.

I had given him the card for a $700 oil change.* I was rather pained about the cost and ready to leave--but didn't begrudge the compliment.

In other news, today I saw both Mr. "Intestinal Fortitude!" and Mr. Obnoxious Seatmate. It would appear that the latter lives a mere two blocks from me; I felt the briefest pang of guilt upon that realization, recalling his plan to walk home from the downtown station and my own solitary taxi ride to my house. (Approximately 1:30 a.m.: "I have my trip all planned out! The first third was getting it into my head that my vacation is finally over. I've finally gotten that into my head. The second third is working on my computer, because my laptop has two and a half hours of battery, because I just charged it. I charged it at my grandmother's house. That was the last full charge I got. I'm very careful about charging it, so the battery is perfect. It has two and a half hours, exactly. So in the second third of the trip, I'll get some work done on my computer. My battery will last exactly the right amount of time. Then for the last third, I'll sleep. I want to be well-rested, because I will walk home from the station because I don't have bus fare. It should take me about 45 minutes, so I want to be well-rested. So I'm going to sleep from 3:00-5:30. That way I'll be rested for my walk home!")

I had awakened briefly as we came into St. Paul, feeling refreshed and rested--then realized my seatmate wasn't there, and that the latter situation was the likely cause of the former. I caught a glimpse of him in the back of the bus as we headed into Minneapolis, and didn't wait around in the station to find out whether he had moved to give himself more room or whether I'd managed to offend him in my sleep, as I'm afraid I did half-awake (and for which I apologized) by drifting off during his monologue on trip-planning. I do recall making semi-strangled yelps as elbows in the ribs jostled me from an already-fitful sleep; I'm afraid I can't take responsibility for any noises or gestures I might have made should I have been disturbed during a deeper sleep pattern.

Minneapolis is not exactly a small town, but I tend to stick to the same neighborhoods, so I guess it's not that surprising to run into locals. The strangest run-in this week occurred at the Stone Arch Arts Festival last Saturday evening with my friend Lynsi. I'm pretty sure I was miming my attitude about the heat level in my apartment when I began hearing, "Adam! There's your reading teacher! There's your reading teacher! There's your reading teacher!" Since I teach in the suburbs, I had pretty much planned on not running into any of my students, ever, so that one especially caught me by surprise. I'd only seen the kid once, and had no idea of his name, but the parents were very friendly, so we all smiled a lot and then went on our merry ways. Perhaps I should be more careful of flailing and lolling in public; I guess that's practically asking for a run-in with someone to whom I'm supposed to appear authoritative--or at least civilized.

*That included a new muffler and everything that connects it to the catalytic converter, and rear brakes.

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