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<< Previous: The Michigan Weekend... | Next: The Michigan Weekend... >>

The Michigan Weekend: Part 4
Tuesday, 2005 May 10 - 12:15 pm
... in which I talk about a relaxing analog Sunday.

Sunday, 10:00 a.m.

I'm groggy but not hung over. I guess I did a good enough job drinking water last night.

It's Mother's Day, and everyone else is off having brunch and whatnot. So I need to kill time for a while. First I go to Briarwood Mall, which is just a minute from my hotel. I go there and I "shop like a girl"... which is to say, I walk around a lot and don't actually buy anything. After all, it's mostly the same stores that we have in North Carolina.

I have lunch at Arby's. That doesn't seem very Ann Arborish, I know, but there's a bit of nostalgia there for me. A long time ago, when my late grandmother came to Ann Arbor for her first time, we went to Arby's and she marveled at the cheap and delicious roast beef. It was unlike anything one would find in Japan. We always remembered Arby's as her favorite American restaurant.

Since the weather is still beautiful, I decide I'm going to head back out to the Diag and read. I'm trying to finish up The Salmon of Doubt, so it's a good opportunity. I feel relaxed: pretty girls are sunning themselves, people are out with their dogs, and my only obligation for the moment is to read my book, and maybe later eat an ice cream cone from Stucchi's. There's Thing I Love #4, the fact that a tiny independent chain of ice cream shops can hold its own against giants like Ben and Jerry's.

Although thoughts of my blog creep into my head every now and then, in every other respect, I'm having a completely analog day. I'm not sitting in front of the computer or the television. I need more days like this.

The Bell Tower clock chimes, and then someone starts playing the carillon! Thing I Love #5, carillon music from the Bell Tower. (By the way, Jen, the thing we saw on North Campus was indeed a new bell tower.) I notice that my watch is a little bit off from the Bell Tower, and that makes me think of when I was younger and I worried that the effects of space-time relativity would make my watch lose time if I flew on an airplane, or if shook my wrist really fast. Funny how a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

I get through most of the book, have my ice cream (er, frozen yogurt), and wander around campus a bit. Thing I Love #6: there are tulips everywhere. Thing I Love #7: the eclectic store "Middle Earth" on South University still appears to be thriving.

Sunday, 4:00 p.m.

I'm back at the hotel to take a nap. Just as I settle in and start to doze off, there's a knock on the door. "Housekeeping." What, NOW? I scramble the door and open in a crack, and I ask her to come back later. It turns out she just wanted to check that the room had been cleaned.

Or so she says. It's possible, I suppose, that she saw me come in, and she was hoping for a secret "rendezvous". That thought occurs to me afterwards, and I realize that I should have taken the opportunity to flirt even though the possibility was remote. Very remote. But how often does one meet a young, fairly cute hotel housekeeping worker any more? Not to demean the hotel housekeeping community, but it's probably not the first choice of day jobs for twenty-year-old supermodels.

Anyway, aside from a couple of phone calls, I manage to get through the rest of my nap uninterrupted, and I have dreams of girls sunning themselves on the Diag while wearing housekeeping uniforms.

Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

I'm meeting Jen and Lorna for dinner. I drive to Jen's parents' house, which is very weird because it's a drive I made often when I was a confused and lovesick teenager. I even remember how to get there the "back way", just by instinct, without consciously knowing any of the road names or landmarks.

The three of us go to the Cottage Inn Café, another Ann Arbor institution. It's not as good as I remember it, unfortunately, but mostly I'm there for the atmosphere and the company. I probably should have had the deep dish pizza, which is really the signature item. If you do go there, don't get a pasta dish.

Afterwards we go to Amer's for coffee. There's a very loud group of attractive youngsters. Curiosity gets the better of Jen after a while, and she asks them how they know each other. It turns out they're in a ballroom dance club, which is a happy coincidence because Jen and I used to ballroom dance together, and those were some of the best times I can remember.

Earl meets us later, and we all chat for a while. Earl and I do "sugar shots", which is something we always used to do when we went to Denny's late at night. To do a sugar shot, you tear open a sugar packet, hold the open packet with your lips, and then toss your head back to dump the granulated goodness into your mouth. You chase it down with a swig of coffee.

Hey, it's better than tequila.

The evening wraps up at around midnight. We go back to Jen's parents' house and I say good-bye to Jen and Lorna. I'm a little sad because I don't think I'll ever see Lorna again. She gives me a nice hug.

I'm hoping that it won't be quite so long before I see Jen again, because as this weekend reminded me, she was my first female best friend, and that kind of thing doesn't go away. We've each kept mementos of our friendship; for my part, two of my most prized possessions are a ring that she gave me during a cruise to Cozumel, and a cheap red shiny elastic band that she gave me when we went into Windsor for some concert. (I think. Is that right, Jen?) I wore the band around my wrist to signify that we were "married" (but only in Canada).

Jen hugs me twice, and I try to remember that feeling until I get back to the hotel.
Permalink  2 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: lifetravel


Comment #1 from Nicholas (Guest)
2005 May 11 - 1:06 pm : #
Watch those hotel workers, don't end up like Kobe.
Comment #2 from olafandyjon (Guest)
2005 May 20 - 9:14 am : #
White Russian Fudge!
Grasshopper Pie!

What are two things no other ice cream place has?

By the way, Stucchi's has expanded a bit. There's now one in Royal Oak and a few in Texas to go with all the A2 ones.

North Campus is pretty impressive now, no?

Middle Earth will NEVER go away. NEVER!

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