The long goodbye | | Brainerd, Minnesota

The long goodbye

I feel like I might owe some people, maybe a lot of people, an apology.

I'm sorry.

I have this bad habit of ending phone calls prematurely. I don't know if it's cultural, personal or biological. But, sometimes, when I am hanging up the phone, I can still here the voice on the other line saying, "Okay then, talk to you later, bye now, okay..."

I did not hang up on you. I did not get fed up with talking to you. I do not mind using my daytime mobile minutes to share a conversation with you. I do like you. I just thought we were done talking.

See, Minnesotans have this thing where they say something like, "Well, I 'spose I better get going." To me that means our conversation is done. You're already halfway to clicking the "end call" button, right?

For me, a typical phone conversation might end something like this:

You: "Well, I gotta get going."

Me: "Okay, bye."


And that's it. Sometimes, I don't even say goodbye. It's not that I don't care, I just thought since you said you needed to go, I should let you go.

But, after a number of phone calls ending with a brief goodbye being misinterpreted as an untimely hang up, it has become quite clear that I need to extend the length of my farewell. 

I've learned in my in-person conversations with a variety of Minnesotans that goodbye doesn't actually mean goodbye. Well, not right away. It's more like the interlude to an eventual departure.  Like, it could be an hour before the real goodbye. It's a little more like this:

Caller 1: "Well, I 'spose, I'd better get going."

Caller 2: "Oh, ya, me too. Need to get supper made."

Caller 1: "Oh ya? Whatcha making?"

Caller 2: "Oh nothing fancy, just a cream of something hotdish and some tater tots."

Caller 1: "No kidding. That sounds great, I'll have to get that recipe from ya."

Caller 2: "Oh , sure, I'll write it down and send it over....Say, how's your mom doing?"

You see what I mean? This could go on for a while...

In an effort to better understand the culture in which I now I reside, I am making a conscious decision to develop an appropriately lengthy goodbye.

I'm trying. I really am.

You can call it my New Years Resolution.

I will learn the Minnesota goodbye.

I will learn to fill the awkward silence after the initial goodbye with random side conversations about what I'll eat for dinner or my predictions for the weather forecast.

I will embrace the first goodbye, the second goodbye and any additional goodbyes that might follow.*

Happy 2011. Bye now. For real, bye. Have a good one. See ya next time. Take care.



* Within reason. I feel like I might need to cap the number of goodbyes I'm willing to endure.