Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Go crazy? I'd love to!
Today marked my first day of actual work here in Michigan, the only state that, as a whole, means you no harm. The best thing about Michigan is that it doesn't want to impose. And it would love to freshen your cup of coffee for ya dere, dontcha know? The denizens of Michigan take even the crushing defeats of their sports heroes with a hearty "aw shucks" attitude. In New York, everyone down to your Indian cabby has an angry opinion on sports figures.
"I am thinking A-rod is being the ass of a horse!"
But today, as I got in the elevator of the building in which I would begin my midwestern torture, a fellow commented on my copy of the Detroit Free Press, which sported on its front page news that the Red Wings had been eliminated in the playoffs.
HIM: Hey, that there's a shame there, huh?
ME: (pause) Uh.........yes?
After a good-natured "we'll get 'em next year," the guy walked off probably believing what he had just said. There's something liberating about this place. Nothing gets at these people. There's no reason to get bent out of shape.
One reason to get bent out of shape is the copy facility in which I must spend the next six to seven days. There are only two machines committed to the project and two large, chatty black women operating said machines. Needless to say, these women and I got on immediately. The two ladies, the office manager, and myself shared stories of growing up in lower middle class families. My favorite exchange:
OFFICE MANAGER (ANTHONY): I can remember the smack to the back of my head my grandpa used to give me when I cussed. Phew, the kids today don't bat an eye.
LADY 1: Oh, lord, you couldn't say anything back then.
LADY 2: Oh, girl, you couldn't call nobody "man."
LADY 1: Ooooooh, I know! My grand daddy used to get mad if you called him "man."
ME: I wish I had that kind of guidance. My parents were a couple of foul mouthed fiends.
LADY 2: Really?
ME: Oh, yes, it was terrible. My dad would say the most disgusting thing possible, then I'd say the exact thing HE JUST SAID and I'd be on the floor.
Needless to say, Anthony and the ladies made the day fun. I regaled them with my observations regarding the differences between New York and Detroit.
ME: I can't get over how nice everybody is. I ordered a coffee, said Thank You, and the cashier said "You're Welcome." I was going to punch her in the face, I didn't know what to do. "What do you want from me?" I asked.
(LAUGHTER - at this point, I'm realizing that this is going just fine. I make a car battery hooked up to the nipples joke soon after and it kills.)
Regardless of how much happy laughter we were producing, the process is slow. I looks like I'm here for a bit, so I'm enjoying everything the Detroit suburbs have to offer. Like zero grocery stores. I had to drive two towns over to get some cheese and crackers. What gives?