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Wednesday, March 21, 2007


This is the first installment in a series in which I will attempt to chronicle some of the finer points of life in the city of Detroit, as seen through the eyes of your typical ½ Pakistani-½ white trash, graduate student.

Springtime in the D!

It’s that time of year. The streets are awash with a mixture of rainwater, motor oil, and bum shit flowing from the various alleys, driveways and parking lots. The recently melted snow has revealed its’ buried treasure of Faygo cans and discarded shoes. Much as the melting of glaciers carved out our picturesque Great Lakes 10,000 years ago, each spring, the receding snow deposits enough booty to keep a man in meth for at least a week. Just as your grandmother’s springtime Perennials brighten up both her garden and her life, the return of the transients who had ambled south for the winter makes any trip to the corner store an exciting adventure. One from which your change may not return.

After a late-arriving, but oppressively cold, winter here in the D, the temperature has taken a turn toward spring. This development has lead to my leaving the apartment a bit more frequently. Even my school attendance, while always far from exemplary, has seen a slow and steady rise in frequency. It’s tough to motivate for a 15 minute walk to school through the tundra outside, when if I were to just stay in bed for 2 more hours, the lecture would be available for my online viewing. There is something that really warms the soul in being able to go to school sitting at my computer in my boxers, while it’s 11 degrees outside.

However, contrary to popular opinion, medically-related graduate programs are not lacking in females of desirable physical qualities and loose moral virtue. They’re also pretty smart, if that’s what gets you off. To each his own. The presence of these ladies is enough to guarantee my sporadic attendance. My lady friend might not like it, but I keep hearing that ‘it’s OK to look’.

She's knows Biochemistry, too.

Aside from my own improved ‘scholastic’ commitment, the warmer temperatures have lead to a flurry of activity in my neighborhood. For those familiar with Detroit, I live in the Cass Corridor, which is undergoing a period of gentrification due to its position between Midtown, Downtown, and the Detroit Medical Center. Three buildings are being turned into lofts within view of my apartment roof. A new pizza place and Laundromat have opened across the street, adding to foot traffic in the area. In a state where the economic outlook of the citizenry is one of barely-concealed hopelessness, the Corridor is one place where there are the outward signs of economic hope. Nowhere to go but up, I guess.

J.T., one of the local ‘men of the street’ who stuck it out this winter, is the real beneficiary of this increase in action. An enterprising young man, J.T. always has a treasure to peddle. From a pair of shoes to a toaster, JT will give you a great deal on anything he can get his hands on. Just today, he greeted me with the offer of an accounting textbook for $3. He’s a pretty good guy, but he always comments on how he thinks I look like Oliver Platt. I don’t think I look like Oliver Platt.

Fuck you, J.T.

One of my favorite activities is to look out my windows with my binoculars (I have no views into any other dwellings). My apartment offers a pretty comprehensive view of the street, so I can keep tabs on the local goings-on from the safety of my 4th story perch. Last week, this activity allowed me to witness something I shan’t soon forget. At approximately 2pm last Tuesday, a local indigent man stopped in broad daylight, whipped out his indigent penis and urinated in the city trash can at the bus stop. Not three minutes later, another ‘man of limited means’ happened by and rummaged through that same trash can looking for treasure. It all happened so quickly that I couldn’t even warn him. That is, if I was willing to let him know where I live. I’m not.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. In closing, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in Detroit, but have never had the balls to do it yourself, this series is for you. If you enjoy trash-talk about the suburbs, and the day-to-day doings of a down-on-its-luck city and populace, stay tuned. Due to the personal nature of this format, you can also expect a veritable cavalcade of drunken shenanigans, mid-week strip club visits, and other jackassery to spice up the posts.

Go Tigers!



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