Monday, June 14, 2004

SATMATC 8: Detroit

I won't tell you what Melissa and I talked about that night. It was one of those intimate conversations that we've all had, the kind that seem banal or silly when exposed to the light of day. She was a psychology major, and a deadhead, and took great care to tell me she was a lot more fun and relaxed during the summer. She gave me her phone number, and asked me to call when I got home--there was easy chatter about plans to maybe meet up somewhere, or see each other again, and I felt like that could happen. Anything could happen, with her. She was magical, kids, and I never saw her again.

I don't even remember how we fell out of touch. I think I lost her phone number--I know we talked once or twice on the phone, but I felt awkward. Subsequent events had sort of put me off my feed vis a vis a move to Michigan, and she didn't seem interested in coming to see me. God knows what Melanie had told her about me once I left. Or maybe the shoulder rubbing in the theater had all been my imagination.

She was gone when I got up the next morning. All I had was a pissy fat bitch who couldn't wait to get us out of her hair. I never talked to her again.

Unfulfilling, yes. I promise that the next story I tell, I'll actually get laid.

Over breakfast the next morning, I got out the map and noticed we'd lose a lot of time by backtracking around Erie and taking the turnpike. It made a lot more sense to enter Canada in Detroit, drive through Toronto, and cut back into the US at Thousand Islands Bridge. The only problem, obviously, was the drugs. I stashed the acid behind my car stereo, and forced Shea to find another spot for his weed. That way, I felt, drug dogs would bust us for the weed, but the more serious crime of trafficking in LSD wouldn't necessarily be noticed.

We arrived in Detroit during rush hour (of course), and instantly got lost. The bridge and tunnel into Canada is inconveniently located in the heart of downtown Detroit...which was surrounded by a wasteland of empty warehouses and large piles of crushed cars. It looked like fires were burning inside some of the buildings, and there were some extremely sketchy people wandering around, some of them with shopping carts.

If you're my age, you might remember a television show called "Buck Rogers." It ran in the late 70's, I think, but more than that I couldn't tell you. If I remember correctly, Buck is an astronaut from contemporary times who's somehow been sent forward in time to the 25th Century, where the world is trying to recover from a devastating nuclear war. Everyone who was ANYONE lived inside these self-contained sort of habitats, not unlike The Jetsons. Outside of these habitats lurked the unfortunate mutants.

That's what this part of Detroit looked like: outside the fence on "Buck Rogers."

While we were lost, we passed by the same homeless guy a few times. At first, he was standing on the corner, minding his own business. Upon our next pass, we saw him sitting on the curb, engaging a fire hydrant in conversation. The third time we passed him, he was standing off from the fire hydrant, holding his hands over his head and wiggling his fingers. I was confused, until Shea figured out the guy was apparently trying to hypnotize the fire hydrant.

Shortly after that, we located the queue to cross the river/lake. Unfortunately, we didn't see that you had to PAY to use the bridge/tunnel until we were hopelessly stuck in traffic. We were roundly cursed as Okies when, in order to extricate us from the line, the entire queue was held up as we executed a 10 point turn under the baleful eye of a traffic cop, so we could go find an ATM.

It took us nearly an hour to get back there, through a series of misadventures while we were trying to scrape up six American quarters to feed into the tollbooth. At one point we were nearly back in line when I realized we had six quarters, but that one of them was Canadian. Goddamn canucks.

We pulled up beside a kind of toll booth, manned by a rather impatient looking woman in what looked like a security guard uniform. This woman was plainly not interested in complicating her life by dealing with the likes of us, so her questions were short and direct:

"Where are you from?" "Oklahoma."
"What are you doing in Canada?" "Traveling to NY."
"Are you carrying any plant or animal that might be banned in Canada?" "No," we replied.

She looked at my guitar in the back seat, and said "are you SURE you aren't carrying any sort of plant...material?" Things were starting to slip.

"Yes," I said. She asked for our ID's. I handed her my driver's license. Shea handed her his license, which was, of all places, an Alaskan driver's license. This confused and angered her.

"I thought you said you were from Oklahoma?" "I am from Oklahoma, but I just moved there from Alaska." "We're coming from Oklahoma, at any rate."

She squinted at Shea, and inhaled deeply. At this point, I was ready to go throw myself off of the nearest bridge. This had gone sideways for absolutely no discernible reason, and just as I was beginning to wonder what Canadian jails were like, she tossed both of our ID's in my lap and barked "you can go NOW." We were in Canada.


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