Monday, August 23, 2010

Just a child from those ugly new houses

So I went for a bike ride today...

This in and of itself is kind of a big deal. For one, I don't really go for bike rides alone. Additionally, my time spent riding a bike as an adult is pretty slim. This means my bike riding skills are not that awesome. Far from at ease, I spend most of my energy during bike rides fighting off the ever present "I'm totally going to get hit by a car" feeling. And usually my girlfriend is with me. So I have somebody to yell things like, "Is there a car coming?" and "Watch out for cars!" and "Don't let me get hit by a car!" to during the ride.
I'm a carefree spirit.

Going for a bike ride alone also means I have to get my bike out of the house (and subsequently back in) by myself. Now, despite the fact that the following will make some post-gender, feminist, egalitarian Queer Studies major somewhere weep (manly?) tears into their copy of
Paradoxes Of Gender, I typically make my girlfriend get my bike out for me. She is demonstrably stronger, so I see absolutely no reason not to use this to my advantage when it comes to transporting cumbersome and heavy objects in and out of the house. I mean, I hold the door. It's not like I'm not doing my part.

But alone, it's harder. The security door is heavy and doesn't stay open by itself, and my bike is heavy and when picked up, prefers to allow its handle bars to sharply jerk to one side, forcing the front wheel sideways - a position that renders my bike stuck in the door. This makes getting my bike out awkward. And of course, the whole time I'm struggling, the neighbor kids are staring at me. So are the people three doors down who spend virtually all waking hours hanging out on their front porch. For some reason, the worst thing I can imagine happening is one of them - be it child or day-drunk adult, offering to assist me. So I wrestle my bike out with as much calm as I can muster. Even when I accidentally pop off one of my handle bar grips when it gets stuck in the door, I just matter-of-factly yank it out like I had expected that to happen. I spend the next minute or so calmly trying to push and hit it back into place like that's just what you do before you go for a bike ride.
Ms. Cool Ride, at your service.

So now that the bike is out of the house, where to? I had no destination in mind so I just start riding. Soon I am in a Detroit neighborhood near Krown Supermarket. This establishment holds the distinction of being the place with, back about a year ago, the lowest special price on Fruity Pebbles I have ever seen. And they weren't even about to expire. I think they were $1.33 a box. That's like 1986 prices!
I still get excited thinking about that.

The neighborhood I ride through is, like a lot of Detroit neighborhoods, a little rough around the edges. Lots of abandoned houses and trash - but also a lot of really well kept, cute houses. I won't give you a full account of my travels - mostly because I couldn't if I wanted to. I did not get lost, and that in and of itself is a big win. I am a person that still has to look at written directions each time I drive to the airport.

I did see this house though, which I think was on the corner of Moran and Lawley:

I decide to take a couple of pictures of it so I can better investigate its origins once I get home. So I stop my bike in front of the house. At this exact moment, a group of people - all wearing regular clothes but with prominently displayed badges hanging around their necks - emerge from the house across the street. They then walk across the street to the house next to this one and started knocking on the door. Being that I'm not especially nosy, nor (I like to think) especially stupid, I thought it probably best to scram before somebody either does or does not answer the door. Not that my pictures would otherwise be awesome, but they were taken in a hurry. You can see the head of the lady in the group in the picture. With my luck, I am now blowing some giant DPD stake out/sting operation by posting this photo.

Thankfully, with a little help from my girlfriend and the best librarian in Austin, Texas, I found out a little more about the house. It is possibly called The Power House. And it is maybe part of some bigger project that may or may not be ongoing? I thought it might have something to do with Design 99, but I also thought those folks had moved on to other projects. So I'll admit, I am still puzzled to an extent. Artists always have confusing web content. But it was a refreshing surprise in a neighborhood that is in very short supply of refreshing surprises. Very cool. Maybe I should do this bike riding thing more often.


Anonymous said...

I used to work with the guy behind this project. He isn't from Detroit. That maybe isn't terrible that he is trying to do something cool here. However, once time he made a poster about saving Tiger Stadium. The headline said Let's Save that place at the corner of Michigan Ave and Woodward that means so much to all of us. Still trying to figure out what place he was talking about.

D'Anne Witkowski said...

Good job going on a bike ride all by yourself.

You know that Dad would have a heart attack if he read this, right?

Also, where does the title of this post come from?

(Laura) said...

The title of this post comes from the Smiths. Your favorite band of all time.

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