Yesterday I had a conflict, between a need for some vegetables and a little exercise vs. about a million unreturned phone calls. As you all know, when you’re waiting for a call, the phone waits until you’re out or mowing the lawn or in the bathroom to ring; this is the first rule of phoning. But what is all our technology for if not to serve us, so I forwarded the landline to the iPhone, mounted the bike and rode off to the vegetable stand a couple miles up Mack Avenue.
On the way back, “Spirit in the Sky” faded out, and my ringtone — the “old phone” ring, the metal-bell ring — faded in. I touched the “answer” button and coasted to a bench in the park strip about 100 feet farther down the road. Sat down, had a conference call and a little chitchat, using the earbuds and the mic attached to the cord, and we all heard one another just fine. When I hit “end call,” “Spirit in the Sky” faded back in from pause, and I rode on home. It was the fades that got me. I don’t argue with anyone who says Apple can be a little too twee in their product design, but let me just say, it’s nice to have a few things in your life that not only work well, but better than well.
Snowed again today, and probably for the rest of the week, which is good, because otherwise I might be reduced to staring at the wall and wondering what it’s going to feel like to still be working when I’m 85, probably cleaning toilets for the occupying Chinese army or something. (Relax: I intent to be a spy. No one notices the old cleaning woman. You might as well be invisible.) In the meantime, if you live in metro Detroit and have lost your house to foreclosure (but not your computer), you are instructed to e-mail me immediately. If not, enjoy a little bloggage:
Yesterday I was trashing graphic designers, but I hope it goes without saying they’re not all bad. My former employer once sent a reporter halfway around the world for a story, and ran two of the dumbest graphics I’ve ever seen with his reports — one showed the time difference between Fort Wayne and Central Asia, and the other detailed his plane connections traveling there. These ran every day for two weeks, and I winced every time. Needless to say, this wasn’t the New York Times, where graphics mean something. Here, an amazingly detailed and nuanced breakdown of the no votes on yesterday’s bailout package, by district.
An entertaining read on the retirement of a Detroit homicide detective, with the obligatory hard-bitten quote:
An envelope kept in his desk drawer is a collage of family highlights and back-alley insanity. There is a photograph of a fishing trip; his son in his naval uniform; Carlisle and his wife, Nancy, at their wedding. Then there is the one of the man with his face half shot off; a nude woman dead in an abandoned garage; a corpse under a Christmas tree. “More people are murdered around Christmastime in Detroit,” Carlisle said of that photograph, the tree shining in the window. “I think it’s to avoid buying Christmas gifts.”
Bicycle commuting at night is hazardous, particularly on Woodward Avenue, which is eight or 10 lanes across in this stretch; still, people have to get to their jobs, and some of them are poor, and sometimes they pay the ultimate price.
I may be scarce around here for a couple of days, but I’ll do my best. In the meantime, commence your bickering. Only 35 days before we can break into separate groups and commence gloating!