Detroit spring, Detroit crazy



Pure wintertime reflex makes me decide to pull on on my gray hoodie before zipping up my  black leather over the top of it. I look out the window at the early morning sunshine, wondering if maybe this is too much,  but then I remember how cool it was this morning when I let the dogs out. I grab my guitar and head out to rehearsal.

The reality of springtime hasn’t sunk in yet, which means I still think the weather is trying to con me. In Detroit, that always happens around this time of year, which always leads to a sort of environmentally-sponsored confusion where I don’t know whether to dress warm or cold, be happy or sad, plan for a day in the sunshine or play it safe behind closed doors where I don’t have to worry about sneak attacks from the clouds.

So I head down Chicago to Woodward, then hang a left which will take me to the rehearsal space in a near straight shot. About halfway there I’m paused at a stoplight just south of the Davison, and I look  off to my left where I see this woman walking casually along. At first glance everything seems normal enough, meaning she’s not screaming at the squirrels or any crazy shit like that. The kind of crazy shit that you become used to in Detroit.

But no, she’s just walking north on Woodward at a normal pace, not appearing to be in any particular rush. Looks to be in her mid-40s, maybe early 50s, wearing a brown skirt that reaches down to just below her knees. Bare-legged, no stockings. The shoes, now that I look a little closer, look like they probably should have been retired several months ago. But then the same can be said for mine, which are starting to wear down to the point where the soles of my feet are a little more intimate with the cracks in the sidewalk than they would like to be.

Then I see the headscarf, which makes me wonder how it is I didn’t notice that little peculiarity earlier. As in right away. Because as she’s crossing the street, not bothering to look to her left where she might have noticed the cars racing up the ramp off of Davison and directly towards her, her tattered brown scarf is calmly blowing back over her shoulder and fluttering down to the ground where it drags sadly in tow. This scarf has to be a good six or seven feet long, which is a good length of scarf for a woman who couldn’t be over 5 foot 5 on tippy toe. Though it is somewhat tattered, as I mentioned before, it’s not so far gone that it doesn’t deserve a little more respect is what I’m thinking. After all, I’m sure it kept her warm when warmth was what she needed. And I bet she wasn’t letting it drag along behind her in January. I bet you that.

But  now January has run away in retreat, chased away by the urgent passions of spring and summer as they burn away the last remnants of chilled breath. Scarves no longer needed. And whatever is no longer needed in Detroit is simply cast aside, dragged along,  torn down, or ignored.

Still it was somewhat strange to watch as several folks walking in the opposite direction passed right through this woman  as if she were nothing more than vapor rising from a broken pipe underground. But then a white man waiting patiently behind the wheel of a nice-looking car in the next lane over gazed directly at her in a somewhat amused fashion. So I guess those of us who were at a safe distance could actually see her. Only those close enough to be annoyed had the gift of blindness.

Then the light changed and it was time to go. We who are not vapor but solid flesh and bone, we have things to do. People will miss us when we die. After which we too will become vapor.    


~ by Keith A. Owens on April 21, 2007.

3 Responses to “Detroit spring, Detroit crazy”

  1. Keith – I always have to read your shit twice because it is so good. You jab and punch with your commentary and I am knocked out every time. Amazing. Anyhow, keep the flow going with your observations and such. As I’ve stated before, I enjoy the flow here on The ‘D’ Spot

    peace, Villager

  2. Villager.

    A big thank you from the heart, man. That means so much coming from you. And CONGRATULATIONS on your elevated Technorati status! Much deserved.

  3. […] Read more here… […]

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