Yet another tempestuous weather day is in the offing, and my thoughts have been occupied with the storm’s projected arrival and potential path of destruction Murmurs of tornadic activity, or even high winds worry me – we have many old, large and neglected trees in the yards behind. I’ve kept an eye to the sky and an ear to the radio, waiting, hoping it will fizzle out, and wishing for all the world I could turn the clock twenty-four hours ahead to better weather. I write this post early as clouds are already on the horizon and predicted volatile weather will keep this writer’s computer turned off and unplugged. I will, instead, stay hunkered down, listening … and waiting … and worrying … as this wicked heat butts heads with the cold front. I hope once again we remain unscathed; I hope everyone remains unscathed.
My walk this morning was semi-pleasant; great, if you like steam baths. On a humorous note, I have to admit that sweat and that hang-dog feeling is tolerable only if you are doing a pleasurable activity … selective sweating, so to speak. Chores in the sweltering heat – not pleasurable at all. Early Thursday morning I spent about an hour watering around the old homestead, just dragging the hose and inspecting if the sprinkler was properly hitting the intended mark, and I was sweating as soon as I began unrolling the hose from the hose reel. Sweat stung my eyes before I correctly placed the sprinkler, and the mosquitoes were relentless and swarming en masse. Yikes!! I worked quickly, but still I was a sitting duck for them, despite being clothed in long pants and shirt plus socks inside garden boots, they still got me. I refuse to use repellent as I worry about the chemical risks, so the skeeters bit me with a vengeance, leaving my neck looking like I could play “connect the dots” with the mosquito bites. I had tried, unsuccessfully, to sport the preppy look – collar upturned to thwart any neck nips, but that was unsuccessful since the humidity made the collar droop and flop over, much like the person wearing the shirt. I think they find my Lever Brothers soap inviting. The spate of stormy weather the past few days has left little pools of water that don’t get a chance to dry up completely and instead become a watering hole for mosquitoes to congregate, much like the proverbial office cooler.
I only accomplished a short walk today. My thoughts while walking, were divided between the impending weather and an equally stormy subject – the filing of bankruptcy by the City of Detroit. I followed the breaking news last night and early this morning as well. The airwaves were filled with commentary by various legal experts on the mechanics of Chapter 9 bankruptcy, as well as many comments from the common folk – the current residents in Detroit, the workers with City-related jobs, the retirees who stand to lose pensions and benefits, earned long ago and thought to be viable the rest of their lives … the fear was very evident in their collective voices.
I watched the slow decay of Detroit, from the time I began commuting to the City on a regular basis, when I started Wayne State University in 1976. I attended school, then worked in Detroit for more than three decades after my first foray into the City. I rarely drove, but usually took the bus. After September 11th, the usual route into the heart of the Downtown Detroit business district was detoured, so that the federal courthouse could be cordoned off; bus stops were removed and buses never resumed their regular routes again. The bus route strayed from Downtown proper, by just a few blocks, but it was then I witnessed the decrepit buildings, replete with graffiti and boarded-up windows and doors. These were once-thriving restaurants, or other businesses, as well as some former court-related or government entities, which similarly were not immune to the deterioration and destruction. Whole blocks looked like war-torn areas. In fact there are some places just off Fort Street and near Downtown Detroit, that are still ravaged by the ’67 riots, and should have been demolished years ago. I watched the slow decay of Detroit over the years, and I think that although Dan Gilbert may continue to collect Downtown Detroit property, that it will never be the jewel it once was. Emily Gail, the perpetually pig-tailed ambassador of good will for the City, had a credo, as well as many bumper stickers, mugs and t-shirts, proclaiming “Say Good Things About Detroit” … well Detroit needs all the help it can get now. The national news has featured the bankruptcy of the largest city in the United States as the lead story for nearly an entire day. The late night talk hosts shall have a field day with Detroit’s misfortune, not that they haven’t done so in the past. Today native Detroiters and those who work or are entertained there, are sad; a gigantic pall has been cast over the City of Detroit, and I believe the stormy weather is here to stay – this is not merely a tempest in a teacup.