The Motor City is broke.
By the time bankruptcy rolled around, Detroit was already at its nadir. It's so bad that declaring the city a hellhole as a national pastime has run its course. its odd that Detroit gets so much attention in the press. Extreme wretchedness and squalor afflicts other manufacturing cities across this country. Why don't journalists and political hacks care about Cleveland, or Camden? They're suffering similar fates. I hope Detroit finds a way, by hook or by crook, to reemerge from its Sierra Leone standard of living to industrial cosmopolitan greatness it once enjoyed, waving a middle finger at its detractors.
You'd never know there's a crisis downtown by visiting spots in the greater outlying metropolitan area. It's clean and bustling in the suburbs.
Compelled by comfort to stay another night with the Moores in Shelby, I found an idyllic atmosphere around 25 Mile Road.
Richard took me to a few nice towns. I was particularly impressed by Rochester Hills. Its New England style downtown didn't exhibit any signs of economic distress and it wasn't an antiseptic strip mall.
Yeah, yeah...I hear the chorus of folks shouting, "It's all white flight, Republican, Oakland County UMCs up there!" Mostly true, yes, but still a sign that industry is booming. It's a marker--hope for Detroit that there is a possibility it can get its act together. I stand with Kid Rock, Eminem and my pal, Hatch, that it's not over for Motown.
My extra day off was fabulous. I slept in, took a trip to a bike shop and chatted with Mike the mechanic, buzzed off my mat of hair and sat in a hot tub. I convalesced from the stress of doing nothing.
Maddox chose our dinner by wisely suggesting we eat 1/2 lb. burgers at Red Knapp's, a 50's inspired diner. The food was a gut bomb of deliciousness. I suggest the broccoli cheese bites as a side. They are scrumptiously devoid of any nutritional value.
After dinner, the adults retired to the garage. Well, not exactly a garage, per se. Calling such luxury space a "garage" would be palpably fraudulent. It's a lounge as nice as any hidden side street joint in the Florida Keys. Rich calls it his "man cave," but his wife and neighbor, both female, seemed to be regulars. We had a few drinks and played Tiki Toss. Robin and I peppered the atmosphere with our frenetically charged conversation about movies, music and people with self-worth issues.
This yet unnamed private club is equipped with a large flat screen television, immaculate cabinetry, all manner of tools, a sofa and mid-century modern Arthur Umanoff chairs. Its accented by a stained and polished concrete floor. Atmospherically comforting, I was relaxed until Rich exposed to the digital dopamine of the Sonos system.
Sonos is a hardware and software music platform. It's like iTunes on steroids with wireless digital tentacles. Basically, you can send separate streams of music to specific locations in the house. Pandora in the kitchen? Check. Spotify in the bedroom? Hair band playlist in the basement? Liberace's greatest hits in the guest bathroom? Check, check and check.
Rich installed the Sonos app on my iPhone and he might as well have put a gun in my hand. Robin and I began to compete for the alpha status as house DJ by picking the best lounge songs. The app lets you interrupt whatever is playing with whatever you choose or you can put things in queue. Think of 10 million juke boxes in the palm of your hand. Like ferrets on crack, we'd listen to a song for thirty seconds and say, "Uh huh, this is good, but have you heard this?! Or this?! Or this?!"
Collectively we heard soothing noise, but very few melodies and it was stupendous. I could play such a game for days on end. Who has time to listen to an entire opus when there are lifetimes of soundbites to indulge?
I have to get on tomorrow. " Keep moving," I tell myself as I violate the last commandment in the Decalogue. I do covet this place, but not in a purely material way. Come to think of it, I think covetousness is a good thing if it leads to imitation and, ultimately, emulation of worthy things. Rich and Robin live well and the affection that reverberates is just accented by the accoutrements of their home. I'm gonna make such an argument to Katy as I campaign for Sonos this Christmas.
My sincerest gratitude to the Moores for making my stop in Shelby one of the highlights of the trip. I hope we do half as well when they come to Bend for a visit.
Tomorrow Canada: Poutine, Alouettes "Football," Tim Hortons and friendly people that make Minnesotans, and my friend Theresa, blush.