The Fine Art of Blame Transferral

Mando’s House

I have a coworker. Let’s call her Mando, as she calls herself, for the sake of this post. Mando is a remarkable person. This morning, she backed her car out of her driveway, hit her neighbor’s car, and he wound up apologizing to her. Is that not amazing? I gave her the Awesome Award at our staff meeting this morning.

Here’s a bit more of the story, because I think it’s funny.

Mando lives in Lead. If you’re not familiar with Lead, SD, allow me to inform you that it was founded as a mining community back in the 1870s. The gold mine there remained active until the 1990s. The point is, the houses in Lead (pronounced Leed) are all old, small, and very close together.

When Mando moved into her house, one of her primary concerns was that it had no garage and no driveway, so she and her husband would both have to park their cars on the sides of the narrow street. Finding this unsatisfactory, they sacrificed part of their small yard to have a driveway put in.

Most people living on her street are not so ambitious, nor (apparently) so conscientious. The neighbor in question (let’s call him Joe-Bob because I have no idea what his real name is) likes to park his car on the curb between his house and Mando’s. This morning, his car was not just on the curb, but also sticking out into her driveway – hence, she hit Joe-Bob’s car.

So what happens? She chews him out for leaving his car in her space. He apologizes and promises to pull the car farther forward in the future. It’s much more dramatic the way she tells it, but I’m impressed with her attack philosophy. Another coworker asked if she thought that would work in other traffic situations: “How dare you run that green light while I was still turning!” I suspect the answer is probably no and don’t recommend that anyone try it.

And I don’t think this is a tactic that will ever work for me because I’m not nearly aggressive enough, and a bit of a pushover to boot. I’ll leave the blame-shifting game in the more capable hands of people like Mando and our illustrious politicians. And I’ll try to keep myself, my car, and any children I might have out of Mando’s way.


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