11 Jan 2007: Last evening, with the sewing circle ladies coming, I went out for the evening. First I stopped at Westgate to buy a copy of DBusiness. I ended up being handed a phone by the Korean lady who’d stepped out of the cleaners to have a cigarette; she was trying to explain to 911 that there was a drunk passed out on the sidewalk. How does one say that in a foreign language that one hasn’t mastered? Get a passerby to say it, is how. The guy’s fingers were still warm, and he roused enough to say, “I can’t walk no more.” The ambulance and fire truck (!) arrived while I was in the drugstore. One of the two clerks said, “It’s probably for a drunk who’s passed out.” I said, “How do you know?” “I used to work with those people.” Me, sandbagging: “Oh, you were a bartender?” (Her coworker snickers.) “No,” says she, “as part of an emergency response team.”
Then I went to the U-M Library to find a two-volume history of Grosse Pointe that I need for my yacht story. When I brought it to the circ desk for checkout, the rather militant-looking woman (I’ll bet that just before her shift, she’d been at an anti-globalization, anti-war, anti-man rally) looked at the card and said I was obviously not Susan Ahrens. Of course not, but spouses of staff have borrowing privileges and I’ve used that card for twenty-one years. Well, obviously no one has looked closely at the card, she retorted. (Oh, sure: twenty-one years is a long time! She was still learning to read when I started using it!) She wouldn’t let me check out the books. So I make copies of the two chapters I needed. When I returned to the desk to put the books on hold, another employee handed me a spouse card application. Maybe something has changed, but employee number one wasn’t going to tell me about it, I guess. I wonder why she had such a bug up her ass. I wanted to suggest she go home and eat some pussy; it’ll make her feel better. When I went out of the library, I got panhandled—by a thirteen-year-old whose mom was making him do the begging. It rather enhanced the whole experience, as you might imagine; but I repaired to the Red Hawk, a State Street bistro and favorite place of mine since 1991, and enjoyed a hamburger and beer.
16 Jan 2007: What an amazing sight this morning as the sun climbed over our glistening, icy world! I noticed in the newspaper’s weather map that icy rain was predicted as far south as Brownsville, Texas, where grapefruits and pineapples grow. When Martyn and I were there a year ago, it was around seventy degrees. Some of those people probably don’t even own good, warm coats.
I had a half-hour nap yesterday afternoon but woke to a metallic “clank.” I took Maisie outside a while later and found the source of the noise: our neighbors’ Canadian flag had become coated with ice and fell out of its holder, landing on a downspout. I carried the flag to their door. It must have weighed thirty pounds.