Friday, July 11, 2014

Flight Risk

A talented girlfriend made me a necklace a few months ago. It looks a little like an abstract blue whale, and a little like a feather. It's copper, with a tiny rose quartz stone where the eye of the whale might be, and the copper rubs against my skin, releasing a metallic scent reminiscent of car keys or loose change. Handstamped into the copper are the words Flight Risk. 

Just the fact that I own and wear the necklace, makes Stone uneasy. It's a talisman, a visual and verbal reminder of my total inability to commit to anything, live a predictable life, to settle down and be a good wife and mother. Stone, my Husband, my best friend, my keeper, and the father of my children... Stone knows better than anybody that I've always been a flight risk. 

I was at the park the other day with Jim, whom I sometimes seek out when I want to run ideas by a certifiably sane individual. I was talking about how I seem to be having a hard time making friends at the country club we joined, and why can't I fit in? I have the right clothes, the correct socio-economic standing, a bland midwestern accent, and the correct skin color. 

Jim looked over at me and said something along the lines of "Jesus Christ, Sarah... Look at yourself, look at what you drive, I mean, have you ever heard yourself try to have a conversation? You are never going to fit in there. Why are you even trying?" He didn't mean any of it unkindly, you see, he was just stating the blindingly obvious. Jim was absolutely, totally and completely correct. Far from crushing, this realization was like having a hundred thousand pounds lifted off my shoulders. 

When I really think about it, I've never done anything remotely normal. How fucking lucky is that? In my entire goddamn life, I have never once, until recently, been bored. So maybe I should do something that isn't boring, instead of drinking cocktails at an overpriced club with people who don't like me. And this little idea that has been rolling around in the back of my head since we moved to the states blossomed into a full-scale plan. I will become a Paramedic. 

I went home and said to Stone "I want to go to school to be a Paramedic" and Stone said "hell no". A little while later in Calgary, I said to Stone "I want to go to school to be a Paramedic" and Stone said "hell no. You should get your real estate licence" and then one Sunday two weeks ago I said to Stone "I really want to go to school to be a Paramedic" and Stone said "Hell No!" and eventually, sometime early Monday morning, after a night of intermittent screaming and tears, I emerged with permission and blessings to go to school and do my EMT basic certification, in exchange for a promise not to use my newfound powers to live up to my flight-risk reputation and leave him and the kid. 

Because you see, I'm pretty sure that man loves me more than anyone else in the entire world has ever loved anyone. It's like the truest, most unconditional, most unquestioning love you can imagine. I am the absolute WORST example of a housewife, and yet, he loves me anyway. We're coming up on Ten years soon. Here's hoping he still loves me this much in another Ten. The future looks gorgeous from where I'm standing. 

I got drunk a couple of weeks ago at Thomas McGee's in Eastern Market. It was the absolutely perfect drinking with strangers sort of night, intense, funny, weird. I watched two increasingly wasted Detroit Hipster Cliches' get more and more outrageous in their attempts to attract attention to themselves. It was perfect. On the way home, right around midnight a came across this: 

Despite the perception that most of Detroit is on fire, all the time, this is the first actual fire I've come across in person. You could feel the heat from the street, and hear the crackle and roar. You forget how loud fires are in person. I stood there in the middle of the street for like 20 minutes, watching the firefighters, and not another soul passed by. 

This morning I watched an airshow from my back garden, arms draped across the shoulders of my pajama-clad neighbors. Plans were made for drinks tonight, BBQ on Sunday, and a Houseparty in the East English Village on Tuesday. 

Everything is going to be alright.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

On living in a city that nobody wants to move to

It occurred to me the other night, that Detroiters are blessed in a way that they themselves cannot even begin to comprehend. Hear me out, OK, and if you don't believe me, just ask anybody from Colorado.

The realization came to me as I was stopped at light on Jefferson, alongside 4 other drivers. The snow was heaving down, my pathetic windshield wipers completely failing to clear the snow and ice, as my beleaguered defroster blew lukewarm air anywhere but where it was needed. the temperature was about 15 farinheight and the roads were an absolute disaster, with nary a plow or sanding truck in sight. The light turned green, but instead of gassing it into the intersection, we all just sat there waiting. After a few seconds, two cars on the cross street tried to stop for the light, failed, and slowly spun their way across Jefferson in front of us. It looked like automotive ballet!

Nobody honked, nobody gunned it, Everybody just waited until it was safe to cross and then carefully and then did so. This exact scene played out over and over as we made out way home, creeping along with everybody else at 10 Mph on a street that usually sees 45. Nobody ran up the back of me, everybody stayed out of everybody's blind spots, and everybody Slowed. The. Fuck. Down.

I was like "Ho-lee-Shit, this is fantastic!

Do you know why driving in storms is such a pleasure in downtown Detroit? Because almost everybody who lives here, is from here! Because nobody wants to move here! No Californians! No Texans! Nobody from suburban Miami! Count your blessings while they last, my friends. It won't be like this in another 10 years.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Failed pickup lines of Detroit

Failed Pickup Lines, 101. 
Jefferson and Belvedire
Guy: Hey, you got a dollar you can spare? 
Me: Um, let me check....
Guy: cause I'm just trying to get a bus, so I can make my court date.
Me: OK, lets see, (pulling out a Doritos wrapper, lighter, receipts, business cards, fliers, etc..)
Guy: You having a nice day? You look Good. 
Me: So I have like, 17 cents. (dropping it in his hand) here you go. You take care, bud. OK?
Guy: You got a man? Any chance I can get in touch with you so I can see you again? 
Me: Not a chance in Hell, but thanks for asking. 
Guy: Awww baby, I'd treat you good!
Me: Dude, You just asked me for a dollar to get to court. But good luck with your court date!

I don't know if it is the weather, or what... 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A cautionary tale

If there was ever a selling point for how truly wonderful it is to live in Detroit, consider this: The nearest Walmart is in Canada. This is a wonderful thing because it removes the temptation to purchase imported stuff I don't need, made under exploitative conditions in the third world, from a store that mostly employs underpaid, overworked, and hostile people, funneling Stone's hard earned cash to a giant conglomerate in  Arkansas.

Stone and I try, (but don't always succeed) to purchase the things we need instead of the things we want. We buy most of our stuff used, make a point of purchasing things made in the United States whenever possible, and torture our poor kid by not allowing her to have any "cool" toys. We are, in summary, total assholes.

This week, however, I broke the cardinal rule, and for the first time since we moved to America, I shopped at Walmart.  See, my really awesome truck gets like 9 miles to the gallon, which adds up, especially when most of your trips are within 2 miles of home and require stopping at Every. Goddamn. Light. On. Jefferson.  Walmart had these adult cruiser bikes on sale for 88 bucks each (Assembled by Chinese Children!)  and after dealing with a variety of flakes on Craigslist, and shopping the classifieds, I caved in, and decided to drive 25 miles into the suburbs on a Sunday morning to worship at America's Consumer Utopia.

We came, We saw, We shopped. In addition to the bikes we bought some sidewalk chalk, socks, shoes and leggings for the kid, a few bottles of mediocre wine, and as an impulse purchase, a ten pack of ladies briefs.

They were four bucks! Four bucks for TEN pairs of panties in various shades of pink and white and grey! The picture looked good, the patterns were pretty,and hey 10 high-cut ladies briefs, 100% cotton, for 4 bucks??? I'm in!

My joy dissipated rather quickly upon returning home and test driving the first pair.

WTF? I could use these a parachutes...

I'm only in my 30's! I'm too young for Grandma Pants! 

It's like instant karmic retribution. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Men of Detroit, Part 1

It was 101 degrees today, in a hopelessly under air conditioned city.

Do you know what my neighbor Sid wore to work today?

My neighbor Sid. The man has style. 
Men of Detroit, we salute you. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Red Plums

Walking the dog the other day, we spotted this incredible red plum tree, laden with fruit.  It's two blocks from our house, on one of the busiest streets in the city, yet totally untouched. The tree is in front of a gorgeous but currently unoccupied historic building so impressive and simultaneously neglected that I can only fantasize about owning it. 

Oh. Wow... are those plums?

Yes, those look like plums.

Holy Hell, there are like 20 billion plums on this tree, and they are all delicious.
 So when the weather finally cooled down enough to consider baking anything, we took the wagon and a cool box to the tree and loaded up on free, fresh, delicious fruits. we got about 30 pounds, which was way less than 10% of the fruit on the tree.

Part of the haul. 

Are they not gorgeous? 

A rinse in the sink 

And then Stone spent 4 hours cutting them into cheeks, and setting aside the pieces with the pits for jam.
What an amazing man. 

Some of the cheeks, ready for pie, tarts, and crumble. 

The first four pies in progress. 
This year plums are the new cucumbers. We have three litres of Jelly in the fridge, plum sauce for duck, plum chutney for cheese, four pies, 17 small plum cobblers, a dozen plum tarts, and a dozen plum crumbles, plus more in the freezer awaiting the return of our German friends to make them into that plum stuff that Germans put on pancakes.

Good times. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stuff my kid says

The following conversation was told to me by the admissions director of the kid's school here in Detroit, relayed to her from the kid's very pregnant teacher back in January.

Kid: What color is your baby going to be?
Teacher: What do you mean?

Kid: Like, what color is your baby going to be?
Teacher: Well, I'm white, and my husband is white so the baby will also be white.

Kid: Why?
Teacher: Because that's how it works.

Kid: I think you should decide to have a black baby instead.
Teacher: That's not really how skin color works...

Kid: Yes. It is.
Teacher: Ummm.... maybe you can see the baby in the summer when you are back. I am pretty sure the baby is going to be white.

Kid: NO IT IS NOT!!!!
Teacher: .....