Friday, February 15, 2008

The Most Miserable City In America

The news is in and it's not good -- according to Forbes' misery scale (who knew there was such a thing?!), Detroit is the most miserable city in America, beating out Stockton, California and Flint, Michigan for the honor. The index rates things like taxes, pollution, weather, unemployment, crime, and comes up with the "winner." I find this news strangely cheering; we're good at something, by God! When I moved here, my friends warned me how awful it would be and nothing can make a place more seductive. That's my siren song anyway -- the sad and forlorn, the I've seen better days, the sweet spell of an ending when everything seems precious because of its fleetingness.

Whenever something shitty happens, invariably someone says, This too shall pass. Which is true even if you want to pistol-whip the smug dullard who says it. Not that I have ever felt this way, not me, no sir. Nothing stays the same, not for long. And yet even in the briefest of circumstances, we cling to our routines, the rituals that make us feel at home in the world. And the thought of those passing into oblivion is sometimes more than we can stand. For if the bad passes, the good does as well, only nobody repeats the old chesnut in the times of plenty. But taken in the best way, it means that we can look at the streets and see everything that has been and will be. Sometimes I think it could be 1970 or 2008 here in Detroit given the pictures I take on the streets. And for the first time in weeks, the sun is out in the most miserable city in America. But I love it best when it's what I call Detroit gray, that particular hue the sky takes in the winter, when everything except the people are dead and everyone trudges home in the snow with their hearts in their hands, waiting for spring.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." Arthur Ashes

Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: Love Is A Mixed Tape Rob Sheffield

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!


Anonymous said...

Alan Greenspan said: We're on the brink of a recession, so hold on tight to your heart!

Anonymous said...

Bud Collins said: Arthur Ashe died of AIDS that he got from a tainted blood transfusion. He had the heart of a lion and the soul of a saint.

Anonymous said...

Wa want the Grouchies! We want the Grouchies! ect...ect...s Yeaaaaaaaas!!!!!--Short Bus and Special

Anonymous said...

mighty eyes

JR's Thumbprints said...

It's so very true: we cling to our routines, even when we alter the venue.

jodi said...

Oh, c'mon. Misery shmisery. Did anyone notice the LARGE heart made up of red lights on the BXBS building? Misery and love--coincidence?

the walking man said...

Detroit hasn't changed all that much in the past 30 or so years for whatever reason, ergo it must have been a miserable place for a long time. I personally think that when constipated pollsters can't think of anything better they make a poll that allows them to finally let their bowels loose on Detroit, after all who will stand to defend the quality of of life in of all places Detroit.

Fuck 'em.

And this is old news in Detroit time that Forbes article came out a couple of weeks ago, things are different now, why there's the Mayor thing and all the huffing and Puffing about Detroit hosting the most creative city convention, so to them that say this is the most miserable city to live in all i can say is...whatever.



Charles Gramlich said...

Winter sometimes brings out the most powerful writing moods. I've often wondered why that is. This is a very strong piece. Good point that if the bad will pass the good does too.

Me_Again said...

Hi! While browsing for bloggers with Prince as a musical fave, I found you and I'm glad I did. Looking forward to reading!
Peace & Love

Lana Gramlich said...

Hang in there. I know what you mean by "Detroit gray." *hug*