One of the things that we knew we would do when we decided to move to India was go to visit the Taj Mahal. We were lucky, in that six weeks ago, one of my best friends, Lala, forced our planning hand by needing to be in Delhi for work this past week. She was going to see the Taj Mahal on the weekend, and wanted to know if Willy and I would consider coming with the lils. We jumped and the chance and the planning began.
The focus of the trip was the Taj Mahal, but being able to just hang out with Lala was a big bonus. She and I met when we were barely past our teen years (she was actually technically still a teen), worked together for a few years, then lived together for a few years. We lost touch for a little while in the middle, then found our way back to each other. I am never letting her go again, despite the fact that she moved to Singapore a few years ago.
One of the reasons that I love Lala, and hanging out with her, is that we laugh together. Laugh at each other and laugh at everything that happens around us. I was looking forward to a little bit of that this trip, and happy that Willy offered to watch the lils so she and I could have some cocktails on Friday night. As luck would have it, I beat her to the bar, so I sat down, ordered a pint, and was content to people watch. I made the fatal mistake of smiling at one of those people as they crossed my line of sight.
He was a middle-aged man, and he smiled back, sat down, and ordered a beer. He then proceeded to tell me all about his business trip, being from Minnesota*, what he liked and didn’t like about India, and various other trivial details about his life. I was trapped. I tried to be polite as I willed Lala to hurry up and join me. When I saw her across the room, I gave her the “save me” look. She sat down and tried, as did her colleague who joined us shortly after. We talked about things like manicures and our shared past that didn’t include him.
Eventually he moved on and we laughed a relieved laugh. There was nothing wrong with talking with a random stranger from Minnesota, other than the fact that it was digging in to our precious time together. We chatted for a little while, until Lala looked toward the seat that Mr. Minnesota had vacated. She saw this:
“Did he pay for that?” she asked. We tried to figure out when he could have, and concluded that he couldn’t have. The delivery of the bill confirmed it. No, he hadn’t. He sat, he chatted, he ordered a beer and he stiffed me with the tab. I’d been Minnesota’d. Oh, she laughed at me over this. I am pretty sure she still is laughing.
*the fact that this guy was from Minnesota is not in any way intended to reflect poorly upon all the great people from Minnesota, or indicate that I hold this beer swindling incident against them. The fact that he was from Minnesota was merely how he self defined, and thus the term “Minnesota’d” was born.*