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Mpls, MN, United States

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Friday, August 22, 2008

A Plague of Dudes

So today I rode downtown to the Hennepin County Government Center, which, as it turns out, is the building by which I crashed last summer, at which I examined my chin, and at which I picked up my officer escort. It was my first time back.

I stood in line for about 15 minutes to register and take a number, and then read for another 45 or so. When I first arrived, they were calling number 79, and I was assigned number 17 (the numbering starting over after 99), so it wasn't terrible.

I had been sitting for probably close to half an hour when four guys entered the waiting room. They were all tallish, tannish, and were all wearing large polo shirts (striped or solid), oversized cargo khaki shorts, and tennis shoes. Their outfits might as well have been a uniform, for the scrupulosity with which they observed the code; the pack of them together was striking.

My reaction was visceral; I could feel myself cringe as they swaggered to my corner of the room and occupied two seats to my right and two seats across from me. I only got tenser as I heard them discussing* how they weren't going to tell their parents about their speeding tickets.

I realized that soon the city would be overrun with college kids like these, and that I--as an employee of the University and a teaching assistant--would be right in the thick of it. I wondered briefly if I had chosen the wrong profession. Is it possible that I actually don't like college students? Because that might pose a problem.

It's true that I don't like Dudes. They make my skin crawl. I also dislike their female counterpart, sorority girls, especially when they're over-tanned, over-bleached, and show up to my class in shower shoes and baggy sweatpants (or, worse, short-shorts) with slogans embossed across the rear.

Thankfully, these types do not comprise the whole of my classrooms. I also have the artsy kids, the overachievers, the clearly-grad-school-destined, the shy smarties, and even the mysteriously sullen. And, really, I do like the vast majority of my students--especially if they demonstrate that they can think... or at least make me laugh. Even the Dudes do that sometimes.

Oh, and yesterday I got this semester's TA-assignment: Intro. No sections! Woo! Bring it on.

(Another amusing character at the office today was the middle-aged white guy in the too-small canary polo with embroidered logo--buttoned to within one buttonhole of his jowls--with belted khakis and tennis shoes. He was wearing his sunglasses (clipped to his wireframe glasses) inside, and had his thinning hair gel-spiked up. Every time someone would poke a head out the door to call a number that no one answered, he, from his position in line, would helpfully bellow the number down the line and out the doorway. He made me laugh.)

Oh, AND, they canceled my ticket. If the plate falls off again, I'm in trouble... but for the moment I'm back where I started and am out only time (and higher blood pressure), not money. I think bringing in the cell phone picture worked well for me.

*Ellen and I have debated whether the Chicago or Minnesota accent is more irritating; I ventured that there was something ingratiating about the Minnesota accent... but I've decided it's not ingratiating at all in the mouths of Dudes.

8 comments:

Curly Sue said...

"Scrupulosity"...I love it!

I love your description of The Dudes. It captures them so completely. Was at least one of them wearing about a gallon of overwhelmingly scented cologne?

And congratulations on getting out of that ticket!

David said...

Actually, I believe the favored pheromone of College Dudes is Axe Body Spray. Were they displaying mating plumage (popped collars)?

Way to fight the law and win.

Heather said...

Huzzah! I'm happy they dropped the ticket. It was a stupid reason for a ticket anyway.

K L said...

Funny how the middle-aged white guy was dressed pretty similarly to the Dudes. Could he be the natural outcome of Dude?

VJ said...

Hi,
It appears you and I have a common friend; the author of This Abundant Life. She was actually an elementary student of mine in another Midwest State.

You and I currently live in the same county. It truely is a small world.

strovska said...

oh. ugh. dudes. they make my skin crawl too. and the ones that have grown up to become car salesman make it crawl even more.

and i like the term "the mysteriously sullen". i always found them interesting.

april said...

noooo! dudes are the cute, bushy-haired scrawny types on skateboards in skinny jeans! i think the term you were looking for was the Dicks . . .

CëRïSë said...

Curly Sue: Thanks! I don't remember them being heavily scented, fortunately, although now that does seem like an anomaly.

David: I love "pheromone" and "mating plumage."

Heather: I concur so completely.

Kuyler: I think he may have been the type who always wanted to be a dude (maybe still)!

VJ: Thanks for saying hi! It's a good county to live in.

Strovska: I'm glad I don't have to interact with car salesmen--and I too am fascinated with the sullen students (it thrills me to catch them off-guard and make them smile).

And Seester: Aren't the ones you describe skaters? Or even, hipsters? Our brother is clearly not a Dude... although he does rather defy any easy labeling...