Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Polite, Politer, Politest

Working with the Lutherans has its benefits and its drawbacks. One benefit is that people are generally really, really kind and polite with one another. One drawback can be that people are really, really kind and polite with one another. This manifests itself in many ways, most often passive aggressive tendencies, but that is a whole other matter. More benignly, it manifests itself in places like the elevator. The Lutherans will hold the door for someone coming 30 yards across the lobby, will make room for just one more and, worst of all, when two people are getting out on the same floor, will always let the other person exit first. This can erupt into polite wars. By this I mean both people will start for the door and both will stop. One will say "After you." The other says "No, really, after you." They both chuckle, start for the door at the same time, stop again, chuckle and one says "After you" until finally after several fits and starts one will make it through the door.
So, this happened to me when I arrived on the lobby floor with another person. The door opens. There are people waiting. A polite war ensues. Fortunately, an outsider (read not Lutheran)- we'll call her Abbie, a gorgeous Asian woman who is as big as a key chain and looks like a million bucks everyday- is standing outside the door. She immediately recognizes the polite war, looks at us menacingly and very near the top of her lungs yells "GET OUT! GET OUT!" and proceeds to shoo us from the elevator. I started laughing and exited. The other Lutheran onlookers looked at Abbie like she had ridden in on her broom, but of course said nothing. Abbie is my new folk hero.


Madame Leiderhosen said...

Hell, Abbie is my new folk hero too. What are the weapons in a polite war?

Mnmom said...

Mdm - the weapons in a polite war are only understood and recognized by midwestern Lutherans, and they often involve cake and coffee. I am a midwestern Methodist and can ALMOST read the signs, but can also go all "Abbie" on the Lutherans too. Good for Abbie!!!

Little Sister said...

I worked for a Midwestern, Lutheran, Liberal Arts college, here are some of the phrases I learned for polite wars...I was in the catering department, mind you.
When you went around with the coffee....
"Only if you have time."
Cream with your coffee?
"Oh, if it is not too much trouble."
"Oh, if you insist." This would only be uttered after countless attempts at offering someone a cup of coffee-which they asked for in the first place.
A must read:
Lutheran Church Basement Women

michaelg said...

Weapons: a cheeful disposition, a bright smile and hotdish.

Iguana Banana said...

I LOVE Abbie!