Posted July 23, 2008 at 6:59 pm ·
Out by 430
Eerie tribal drums on CBC radio
Good for me to be up @ this hour
Retracing troy work drive, 1996
15 mile & livernois
Erica (the boss) is very cool
114 bundles, big route
Heritage Newspapers in the warehouse too
Wrote & edited for them when I was 22
After Paul Tull sold & retired.
Flirty guido guy, delivers too: “You need some help?”
Chats erica’s ear off:
“McDonald’s job just ain’t workin out, man.”
114 bundles & 20 minutes later
Paper load just fits in truck!
Paper shreds stuck to orange shirt
Hands inky black
Truck filled ah, with that smell,
That hot off the presses smell.
Hope I counted right
I’m a words, not a numbers, person these days
Breaking a sweat by 530
Flirty guido guy winks as I drive off
They look @ me with sly smiles
Like, u go, girly. Erica nods, knew u could do it.
Truck groans, hesitates, not used to the weight,
Adjusts. Good ole girl.
And we’re off.
Sun just warming through the clouds.
Good 4 me to have a “regular” job
How far I’ve come, so much has changed
The suburban geography I’ve traced
In so many directions
The years, jobs, & loves of my life
crisscrossing the local map
1996: 15 & Crooks through royal oak .. back 2 Ypsi
GM dealers who used to get my racing magazine
Troy Motor Mall
Our advertising client Arvin Meritor
Bike shop Bob used to frequent
Duggan’s where Jeff fondled me in the parking lot
12 Mile, Berkley
Shrine of the Little Flower
Stronghold of the 1930′s ku klux klan,
Led by Jeff’s aryan grandfather.
Past the zoo.
Chrysler Financial corporate
“I hope I’m never that special.”
The Oakland Center.
Off to ann arbor we go,
Me, my good ole red chevy girl,
& 2,850 alternative news weeklies.
620, first stop, hotel just off plymouth road
Old stomping grounds
Parking lot just in time for sunrise
Pause to enjoy
15 minutes later already
Than when we enjoyed it on the deck
A few weeks ago. Our hemisphere tilting away.
Birds sing to greet the morning sun.
635: first delivery made.
Will be a good day.
Maybe thousands of people can read
Headlines: about the band The Hard Lessons
Foreclosures & politics in Wayne County
This week, because of me.
Maybe they can line their birdcages,
Start their campfires,
Feed the recycling centers.
Stop 2: five recycling returns from last week ..
“A porn star’s best-laid plans:
How a local boy built a mini-empire in smut.”
Traver Village: my old neighborhood, circa 1997-8
Zoup! Site of one & only miserable
First blind date with crazy woman nine months ago.
Wait … open at 11 am? Epic fail, rack inside.
To Michigan School of Music
Home of my forgotten operatic dreams
Opera playing on CBC radio. Nice.
Won’t let me forget.
Closed til 730? And the student commons til 7?
Since when do I get up before anyone at all?
Sitting here by the brand spankin new awesome
Arthur Miller Theatre. Site: crappy blind date, part 2.
At least they were two mind blowing short plays.
Thanks for the free ticket anyway, wacko.
Duderstadt Center: the Dude!
Infamous U president when I was here
Now made rich fat cat emeritus.
Shoulda wore my runners – getting in a good one.
Now to Music School. Bursley Hall,
Where my freshman year chem lab partner lived.
How the hell do I remember that?
Northwood family housing, where married Mormons
Ben’s church friends, smiled & hosted
& tried so hard to draw me into the fold. 1992!
Earl V. Moore Music. Such a plain ugly building
All about what goes on inside.
Music, theater, dance. Fine arts indeed.
Drop three paper bundles here .. that’s a lot.
Ah, artists. Bald man with guitar & coffee in hand.
Music prof? Babyfaced students coming in
For morning practice? Look at the metro times girl ..
She once was one of you, bright eyed & naïve.
Down sterile hallways, to practice rooms,
Where I’ve not stepped in for 15 years.
The regret was just too painful to face.
But now, I’m calm. Serene, happy even,
To be here where my young dreams had their roots.
Where I auditioned, so brave & cocksure.
Feels like some of my essence remains here,
Even after all these years. Good to be back.
Jerry Blackstone, my conductor still here? Yes.
Good. Some things haven’t changed,
Just like the ugly sterile hallways,
Classrooms with grand pianos
Music staffs, treble & bass clefs on the blackboard
At which I peer through tiny windows.
And onward again.
Past the university hospital where in 1997
I got the morning after pill to prevent Bob’s kid.
Dude that kid would be 10 years old now.
To Angelo’s Restaurant, on Catherine Street
Ann Arbor’s best breakfast since 1956
Raisin toast that makes you crazy.
Main campus just starting to come to life.
Down to Village Corner party store
Or as we lazily called it, VC.
Where vienna sausage Kevin worked
& gave me free clandestine cigars, cloves, & booze.
Then to Middle Earth. No, seriously.
Right across from famous Pinball Pete’s.
Then the Safe Sex & Birkenstock stores.
Gotta love Ann Arbor.
Headquarters of the national chapter
Of Students with a Pedestrian Deathwish.
SWPD. Yes, you guys are just like me.
Jogging between libraries, undergrad –
And Hatcher Grad, much furtive love in the stacks
Amongst musty old grad school books.
Old house with a patio made for merriment!
Ah, the memories here.
Sangria that makes you woozy
& flush with pleasure.
Homemade pesto, Dom’s secret recipe.
9 a.m. After 5 a.m. bagel,
Feels like lunchtime already!
Or at least, a refill on this coffee.
Blue Front Kegs – oh the inebriations I’ve enjoyed
Because of this joint.
Cheap quarter barrel kegs
Of crappy beer
Guaranteed to make a freshman’s night.
PJ’s Used Record shop.
Student Union, cool, first place I ever read
The Metro Times, 16 years ago.
Seven bundles?!? 175 papers! Friggin students!
How’m I gonna carry these?
On my head like a washer woman.
Michigan Union ticket office. Buy G Love tickets.
Wendy’s coffee, unreasonable crabbiness
From woman behind the counter.
Does she think I’m a spoiled, pampered rich grad
Living off my trust fund? Lord.
Amer’s Deli. Salt bagels, yes!
Ann Arbor street parking ….. um, no …
But my luck runs in
Chick leaves with 30 minutes on meter
Three more stops @ shops & I’m outta here.
Michigan Book & Supply, Shaman Drum too,
Where my undergrad knowledge was purchased.
On the street, smiles & nods, I head-carry bundles,
Man the things us working folk do in the a.m.
Washing windows, delivering food, supplies, & mail,
Minding parking meters, making your change.
Keeping these rather invisible things going.
Is it like this every day? & I’ve just never seen?
Get Up! Vintage Clothing Shop
Foggy Bottom incense & hippie stuff
Businesses I didn’t know were here.
Kid walking down the street in skeleton costume
Followed by two friends with camcorders.
Run into small boy with t-shirt:
“Wish my lawn was emo, it would cut itself.”
Encore Records, hipsters posers & wanna-bes
Lovely dusty smell of old sounds
Herb David Guitar Studio
& Seva for vegans & vegetarians.
Aut Bar, not so out, in my humble opinion.
And the world famous Zingerman’s Deli!
Where at 1130 on a Wednesday
There’s a hungry line out the front door.
Crazy Wisdom teahouse & bookstore:
Peace doves love & overpriced zen baubles.
Conor O’Neill’s – Guinness stop!
No seriously – it says that on the delivery sheet.
An injury – cut & bleeding
Right middle finger bears a deep metro times gouge.
The Ark: amazing, legendary folk music venue,
Requests special delivery: “top of back stairs.”
What back stairs? I can’t even find a back door
And neither can this nice chef who ducked
Into this back alley to help me.
Stuck behind liquor truck for 20 precious minutes.
Fuuuuuuck what is this guy doing in Gratzi?
A little afternoon delight in the backroom?
Two martini lunch?
Run around the block, front door locked.
Drop the damned papers here. F you, Ark.
Used to love ya.
40 precious minutes gone & I’m instructed
To do a two-wheelie truck versus semi maneuver
Over a 12-inch wide curb. So I do.
Delivery guys cheer me on, as my truck door
Comes within a centimeter of an 18 wheeler.
Free at last,
Free at last. Heart pounding action,
On the job excitement.
Next: 18 stops to go. 57 down. Really.
Firefly Club! All that jazz.
Two townie haunts, then the Blind Pig,
Where many great bands have played –
Like my band Five Dollar Touch, Mudhoney,
& that little group named Nirvana.
Boy dribbling basketball on street corner,
T-shirt: “tell your mom 2 stop txtng me.”
The Grizz! Grizzly Peak brewpub & kickass food!
Man haven’t been there for years.
Used to be the center
of my microbrew & gorgonzola burger universe.
Wait, is that the liquor truck guy
parked in front of me again?
Forgive him, he’s wearing a Detroit Tigers cap.
Starting to see familiar delivery faces.
Select, special group of rugged folks
Who haul boxes & bundles of shite for a living
Just like me.
130 pm, on the homestretch, 12 stops to go.
So long downtown, campus, Michigan Stadium.
Now to the old west side.
Past the Lutheran Church where we prayed
In memory of our dearly departed class president
Brian Eric Graham
Who messed himself up royally, driving drunk
17 years ago.
Service engine light on? Oh no!
Too much downtown idling on a warm summer’s day.
Almost outta gas – both fuelly & physically.
Gotta fill the tanks.
Music Go Round: tempted to buy that glass slide
For my newish red bass guitar.
Oak Valley shopping center, where I’ve held 2 jobs:
Videowatch, now Hollywood – first post-college,
And then CopyMax, both of which are no more.
Godaiko japanese restaurant,
another former lunchtime favorite.
8 stops to go & I am starving.
Freeway exit, homeless vet gets all my change
Collected from a day’s worth of parking fees,
Coffee & iced tea.
Hampton Inn, where my Antonio & I last met
If you know what I mean
Before he moved back to Chicago.
Beijo – Portuguese kisses –
As you taught me, Antonio.
Only 6 stops to go.
Cherry Blossom, used to be Chi-Chi’s
Man what good times we used to have here
Family birthdays, high school kid hangouts, first dates
Just a stone’s throw, as they say,
From the best writing job I ever let get away.
Borders headquarters – corporate mecca
Land of the free books room
& ecologically sound everything.
Why are these “conscious” businesses
Such a royal delivery pain in the ass
For guys like me?
Sign in, visitor’s pass, frickin blood test & firstborn
To hike 10 minutes & deliver two bundles
To an empty cafeteria.
Is that Dave Tellas I pulled in front of
Turning out onto State Street?
Nope, that dark haired chain smokin
green Jeep drivin guy who gave me the evil eye
must be his twin.
Dave answers my text question: “I’d never give you the evil eye”
4 more uneventful stops, & my truck is empty
Save the mountain of discards in the front seat
Set for recycling.
Filthy, tired, happy, hungry .. I head for home.
Drove 120 miles,
Walked about five,
Made 155 bucks.