We have this thing called The Minnesota Goodbye — if you lived here, you’d know what I’m talking about. You’re at a potluck where you brought your hot dish or jello salad, and you want to go home, but first you have to find the host and compliment them and have a conversation about the weather and comment on their wallpaper and maybe promise to have lunch sometime which means you’ve got to compare each others’ calendars, and there’s a line of people trying to do the same. It’s agony. My wife, descended from Minnesotans, has this trait. It’s a moral obligation. You cannot leave without chit-chatting first.
Meanwhile, I must have some Irish in me, probably from my father’s side of the family, which means I favor The Irish Exit, so I feel a moral obligation to get out of everyone’s way and stop intruding on my host. If I could, I’d like to snap my fingers and instantly make a twinkling vanishment to reappear at home — not because I dislike the party or the people at it, but just because we’ve all got better things to do than linger.
Now I want to know how native Swedes and Norwegians handle this problem.