Motor City.

One reason I’m glad I’m not being graded on these classes I’m taking: I’m missed all of them today, and will miss all of them again Friday, for Fellowship activities. One reason not to care: The Fellowship stuff is more fun. Today was a day trip to Detroit. Go ahead, jeer and catcall. I’m here to tell you, it was sort of cool.

The first stop was Bloomberg, where I marveled at the fully stocked newsroom snack bar (with video fish tank on plasma-screen TV), the Aeron chairs, the super-cool and up-to-the-second technology at every work station. Then I thought: I wouldn’t work here at gunpoint. Just…didn’t like the vibe. Also, business isn’t my groove. (Listen to me: Groove. Vibe. What the hell?)

Then it was off to the Free Press, where we were guests at the morning news meeting, which reminded me why I’m fellowshipping, and let that be the end of that. But we picked up a deputy M.E. there, who led us on sort of a Journalists’ Tour of the city, which is to say, we saw where the Tigers play and the corner where the 1967 riots broke out, the Joe Louis memorial and the blocks of decimated neighborhoods, where vacant lots are like holes in a jack-o-lantern smile. It’s quite a place, which reminds me to plug The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit, a wonderful, loving web tribute to what’s left of what was once the country’s sixth-largest city.

But the city is making a comeback of sorts, and we saw evidence at Orchestra Hall, about to reopen after a long restoration, and at the Detroit Institute of Arts, which is also about to undergo a huge makeover. While there, we saw the Diego Rivera murals, which were the highlight of the day, for me. I could have spent all day just in that courtyard. (I especially liked the vaccination scene, a little joke on the Nativity. The nurse has Jean Harlow’s face.)

Then we came home, in the hands of a driver I fear was, oh, not very competent at bus-driving. He missed exits. He got lost. He had to do more backing up to straighten out and get through corners than any driver I’ve ever seen, and I think at one point I saw him reading a pamphlet called "Getting your Chauffeur’s License," but I may be wrong. He had to be directed to the Free Press building, which didn’t surprise me, because I saw it off to the side of the freeway, and then we went two more exits before finally getting off and making our way back.

It made me wonder how safe you really are, on a bus. You’re back there in your cushy seat, talking to your fellow Fellows, and what the hell do you really know about who’s behind the wheel, anyway? Not much. Plus, there are no seat belts, and people routinely stand up to talk to their buddies in other seats. Who says South American bus plunges can only happen in South America? Not me. "Fellows perish in Motown bus plunge" — is this not a headline you might read in your local newspaper? I think so. It’s a tough town.

And I’m a tired piece of work. More treatment, or maybe a nap first, then treatment.

Tomorrow, anyway.

Posted at 5:07 pm in Uncategorized |

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