Sunday, May 27, 2007

You Know You're In Detroit

When my sister visits Detroit, she has made some trenchant observations about what Detroit is like. Taking a page from You know you're a redneck when . . ., she often says, You know you're in Detroit when . . . So how do people roll in the D? Well, here's a partial list:

-- when people complain about how weak mixed drinks are at certain restaurants
-- when people pay more attention to the cocktail menu than the food menu
-- people still smoke in other people's houses
-- the smoking sections in some restaurants and bars still exist
-- there are so many potholes, you stop noticing until your tire is flat
-- people start complaining about the heat when it hits 75 degrees
-- you can go to a bar and watch three sports events at the same time with all excellent Detroit teams (and nobody ever mentions the Lions)
-- people swear as if they were in a Sopranos audition without blinking

I could go on, but I'll stop with that. I love the D, all its quirks and particularities. Of course, my Detroit exists only for me, the way that Woody Allen's New York exists only for him. But I don't think it's the knowledge that allows you to write about a place, it's the passion. To quote the late great Marivn Gaye, That's the way love is.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Detroit turned out to be heaven, but it also turned out to be hell." Marvin Gaye

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Waitress

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday! Go Pistons!


Charles Gramlich said...

Great quote from Gaye.

Solomon and Geller said...

Solomon(New York Times Magazine interviewer)Q.:You recommend letting your dog beat you occasionally at a game of tug-of-war, which seems like coddling to me.
Tamar Geller(dog obedience coach and former Israeli intelligence officer)A.:You have to give the dog the feeling of victory every once in a while. How much interest would you have in meeting me for tennis on Sunday mornings if I beat you every time?

eric said...

Makes me think of my beloved "Welcome to Detroit" t-shirt collection.

"...where the weak are killed and eaten."

"...its a friendly place, you asshole."

"...sorry we missed you the first time."

or a shirt that defines Detroiters as:
hard drinking
hard working
hard punching
car stealing
shit talking
crack smoking Mo___ Fo____

of course...

"did somebody fart, or are we in Detroit?"

Detroit: reloaded and waiting

Detroit: you were expecting Toronto?

Detroit Pimpin: must be the money

that's how I roll. Off to work soon. Take care

Native Detroiter said...

The best part of Detroit is Winsor, Ontario.

the walking man said...

You know you're in Detroit when:

A)The word nigger is freely used on both sides of 8 mile road and you know the intent behind it when it's used.

B)Every third house is empty and sits next to a vacant field that used to have a huge woodframe sight built hose on it but was allowed to collapse in on itself because the owner abandoned it.

C) HUD owns more property than the people who live in the city.

D) There is random sporadic gunfire within the sound of every home still occupied in Detroit.

E) Most white suburbanites have a story to tell of being robbed, or molested in Detroit even though they never were because the ony places in Detroit they go to are the areas like the ball park or the cultural center which are so heavily policed that there are not cops for the neighborhood.

F) People from the suburbs come and dump their bulk garbage in aforementioned fields.While they are buying their drugs (powder coke and Heroin)

G)You know you are the baddest motherfucker in the world and would have no hesitation in knocking the shit out of somebody using whatever was handy.

H) You pull your piece on the bartender if he tries to short shot your drink.

I) You swear like a goddamn sailor because that's the way your fucking parents talked.

J) Black folks have the same fear and loathing for White folks as White folks have for Black folks

K) When you're diving down any side street there are three different basketball games going and you have to wait until the play in motion is done before you can proceed.

L) You know you can travel anywhere without fear because you're from Detroit and the rep alone is enough to get people to move back a step.

M) when you know those aren't pot holes but sewer man hole openings that someone stole the grate from for the 150lbs. of scrap.

N) when all the white suburbanite kids come downtown or near fort street to have a rave or go clubbing but the place is filled only with other white kids.

O) There is no shame in using a bridge card to buy your groceries and you will argue with the cashier about whether a specific item is an approved purchase.

P) You know that a hoopty isn't a beat up piece of shit but a 90's Chevrolet that has $1000 rims, 20" tires and a $10,000 stereo that literally makes the windows in your house pulse as it passes by.

Q) You can really feel the devastation of New Orleans and the federal hurry up and wait aftermath.

I could go on and on but I think ya'll get the fucking point. I live in Detroit it is my home and if some of you white motherfuckers would move back not only would you find kind and generous people once they got to know you but you will learn to carry a pack of cigarettes with you because no one can afford their own so they will kindly ask for a smoke, and not give you any shit when you say you're out.

And if anyone ever talks bad about south of 8 mile road I know they have never been there. Because they grew up knowing that niggers are a bad thing and will kill you.

the walking man said...

Native Detroiter said...

The best part of Detroit is Winsor, Ontario.


And the worst thing about Windsor is all of the 19 year old white suburbanites getting drunk and driving home on Friday night.

e bag said...

what a thought provoking post, m.

I do have to say that cops and robbers in Detroit can and do set up ambushes for white suburbanites with their heads in their asses.
Cops offer you your freedom unscathed in return for drugs and money and jewelry. I'm glad to only have gotten that far on the list. The people I know who have never given me a problem said that this has happened to them as often as a dozen times. It's called getting taxed, which is funny, as death isn't to far away either when a barrel is pointed at you for reasons like this. I was told to tell my friends not to go to Detroit by a brigand in uniform along with his cohorts, all of them armed rather openly.

I could tell you more, but I'm waiting for the right words for some of the ironic beauty and danger, philosophy and love contained within these stories of being threatened with guns by people you don't know beyond a nickname. Each time there was something that told me my number was up, so to speak, even if I ignored the signs that shit was about to take a hard fucking left into the land of no control. I'm sure you all get the point of this as well.

This does not stop me from going down to the D to visit my friends and conduct a bit of commerce and whatnot in Detroit. I now see everything around me, I don't avoid eye contact any more than usual and at least nod to everyone I see. Fear's smell sharpens the instincts of predators of any skin type.

Detroiters always have stories to tell, and a bunch more that they only hint at until they know you have their back--or a smoke. It means the same. It makes you want to be there all day, listening to the cautionary wisdom and stories of tragedy, sometimes. Or listening to the spirits that range from anger and revenge to hope and faith and all shades in between, underlying every word you hear.

We all love this sinking city by the straits. But its a pressure cooker at the best of times, each circle of it a snake devouring its own tail until at the bottom its just you and the giant rats under Bagley Street and the walls falling in.

Susan Miller said...

Go Detroit! said...

Hmmm... you know you're in Detroit when the exfelons greet you and say hello, you know you're in Detroit when they figure out where you blog. You know you're in Detroit ... never mind. Yours truly, Eddie.

one constant said...

They will always be there
the girls at the bars
the grazing faces you won't forget
attached to the names
you never remember

that's fleeting
something that tells you
that you aren't alone
if you can just create this...

you aren't alone
if you cry
with each word writen

But it won't always be there
so you better listen to it
before it finds someone else
no matter what the faces said
spitting popcorn and beer fizz

no matter what
the girls will always
be at your bar

Native Detroiter said...

My dear WM, I always spell Winsor with no "D" in it beause "D" stands for Detroit. Winsor is the best part of Detroit because there is no Detroit in it. Now go finish college my dear WM.

Jay Gatsby said...

He's no use to us if Detroit is his idea of a small town....

Black Labrador said...

I hate it when other dogs call me a nigger.

the walking man said...

"Native Detroiter said...
My dear WM, I always spell Winsor with no "D" in it beause "D" stands for Detroit. Winsor is the best part of Detroit because there is no Detroit in it. Now go finish college my dear WM."

R) Don't ever use the word dear when referring to me. My wife is the only one allowed that sobriquet motherfucker.

S) Beause has a "C" in it. as Windsor has a "D" in it whether you fucking care for it or not, asshole.

T)Windsor is not a part of Detroit or even America you racist prick

U)Would it not be better if Detroit and the suburbs stood united as opposed to each other or is that concept beyond your niggah hating ass?

V) If you love Windsor so much the entire metro area would be better off if your ass lived their, then you can hate their large Asian population.

W) I know you're L.Brooks Patterson trying to be clever by using an untraceable name, you drunk driving asshole.

X)What the fuck does the L stand for anyway, yo momma recognize you as a Loser when your fat ass popped out?

Y)Why finish college when I'd have to listen to more babble from ignorant, uneducated morons, who know nothing but 4 generations of racial hatred and separation, and have no qualms about saying nigger in a room full of people as long as their are no niggers or nigger lovers in the motherfucking room to take your bitch ass down.

Z) You know you're in Detroit when fools like you won't venture in except on the expressway on your way out of town or to come and fuck a crack whore because you can't find a good clean white girl to do what you want her to do while you buy your drugs....I-94 to I-375 Woodward west to the tunnel or I-75 south to the bridge pay your money and lose your passport and birth certificate over there. You ceramic receptacle.

Native Detroiter said...

My Dear Wm, I left out the "C" because you plainly do not see that you are what Norman Mailer refers to as the White Negro. Nuff said.

the walking man said...

" Native Detroiter said...
My Dear Wm, I left out the "C" because you plainly do not see that you are what Norman Mailer refers to as the White Negro. Nuff said. "

No motherfucker I am what little pricks like you refer to as a "nigger lover" and what does Nuff fucking mean you piece of rolled up toilet paper waiting for a big beautiful Black woman to come and wipe her beautiful ass with?

the walking man said...

And do the world a favor and catch AIDS and die as grievous a death as this city that you and your ilk abandoned.

the walking man said...

One more thing motherfucker, get an intellect.

Charles Nelson Reilly said...

I think he has a beautiful brain and you are so cute Mr. WM.

Eric Bachman said...

I don't feel so bad about losing my civility last week, or about loosing my creative bowels on these creeps.

And, yes, I love all woman. Chocolate or Vanilla.
no cone, please
ice cream is best on sticky fingers

Like em said, and like m knows, I am whatever the fuck you say I am.

Eric said...

let me extend that love to all people: man or woman, pale or dusky, yin or yang. No need to single out women for that.
(or misuse it's grammatical form)
(it was an accident!!!)

the walking man said...

Charles Nelson Reilly said...

I think he has a beautiful brain and you are so cute Mr. WM.

Yeah that's me a big old cuddly teddy bear with soft fur a frozen glass eyes...moron

Chewbacca said...


D'Augustine said...

m, you look so marvelous in this pic. I am no fashionista and don't expect it from others. You knock me backwards in just a t-shirt. Enchanting face. That's the secret. What a secret. You'd think I'd put my writer skills together and come up with something better than that...

And the writing is smooth--very, very good, and I can't say that enough. That, and the pic made me drop back in on this one. We need
Take care

eric said...

smooth for a list, I meant. it's hard to do that stuff!

Anonymous said...

i hate typos.

rush limbaugh said...

seems to me that Detroit has its own brand of angst.

My docs have meds that can help with that.