Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Standing Out in a Crowd

Out-of-towners are almost always easy to spot. No matter what city you're in, the locals blend in and the visitors stick out. In Washington, DC, they're the people who stand on the left side of the metro escalators; in Paris, they're the people who smile. As for the Twin Cities, we don't get too many tourists up in these parts, but this week is a huge exception. Thousands of political hacks, television personalities and bloggers have flooded in for the Republican National Convention. And yes, they stick out like sore thumbs.

How can you tell an out-of-towner from a native Minnesotan? For starters, there's the clothing. Businesswomen in downtown Minneapolis can generally be seen sporting the latest fashion from hometown retailer Target. Considering that half the businesswomen in downtown Minneapolis work at Target headquarters, this isn't surprising. RNC women, on the other hand, are all about big hair, big pearls, and designer dresses. As for the shoes, let's just say that they're more Prada and we're more Payless. And the men? The three piece power suits are a dead giveaway. As are the loud, booming voices and boistrous behavior. Minnesotans tend to be a bit more on the reserved side. Lastly, anyone who steps out of one of the seemingly countless Lincoln Towncars is clearly not from around here. I got used to seeing chauffered rides in DC, but in the Twin Cities? Maybe if your last name is Dayton.

When you don't live in a tourist destination and you suddendly find yourself surrounded by 40,000 tourists it can feel like you're being invaded. Everywhere you turn, there they are. Renting out our restaurants for private events, shuttling around town in cars with deeply tinted windows, and style one-upping us in their fancy clothes. But of course, we'll let them. We'll give a collective sigh of relief when they leave, but we'll politely tolerate them while they're here. Minnesota Nice, and all.


Julie said...

This post is hilarious! My husband and I were just talking about this. You can always spot a tourist... strange how that's true no matter where you are!

Tanya said...

It really is! Who would have thought that tourists would stand out in Minneapolis? But they do. Locals just have an air about them that even the most adept tourists can't master.