Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Three volunteers are sitting around chatting. “Where are you from?” questions are part of this process. The young man is 20 something, wears thick glasses and carries a white cane. He can only phone bank if a computer with the dialing software is available so he has been doing the holiday decorating. He grew up in northwestern Minnesota. The somewhat older woman says, “I know your hometown because I have taken the train through it. The AmTrak passes through there at 2am.”

The young man says, “No, the train doesn’t go through my hometown. You are thinking of another town.” He lists off some nearby towns.

The woman is adamant. She describes a canyon that the train passes through. By now I have stopped phone banking to listen to the two of them. They are getting loud enough that I can’t hear the people I’m calling anyway.

“Canyon?” the young man says. “Canyon? That part of the state is pretty flat. I grew up there. It is prairie land.”

“Well, maybe it was a valley,” she says.

Neither of them are willing to give an inch. I have my laptop and I offer to Google AmTrak to see if there is a way to insert some facts into the discussion. They both think that would be most helpful and they both think they are RIGHT. Eventually I find the route from Minneapolis to Grand Forks, ND with a list of the towns along the way. The other woman is impatient with my slowness in finding a detailed map so she calls AmTrak on the phone. I hear her saying “No? It doesn’t?”

I find the train and the itinerary. I read the names of the cities and the times the train stops. There is a 2am stop but it is in a different city than the man’s hometown. The stop is 15 or so miles from his hometown. When I read the list, he says, “Well that makes sense.”

Huffing, puffing woman says, “Well I was wrong,” and goes off to another room. (She doesn’t tell him he was right though.)

This little scenario puzzles me. It was clear that neither of them was going to give up. It was clear that thinking they were right became the fuel that kept the argument going. It was clear that when one turned up the volume the other responded in kind. Oddly enough they were listening to each other. I usually give up much earlier than these two in these types of discussions but everyone has a button that can be pushed that causes them to engage in such a way as to waste a half an hour being RIGHT.

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