Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Walking Home

After much procrastination, I finally decided that yesterday was the appropriate time to take my car in for some necessary service (kaput breaks, new tires, aqua-abilities) so I drove my car over to the dealer with plans of walking home. My dealer, Jim Fresard Pontiac used to be located at about 11 mile and Main Street, just about 2 pleasant miles from my home. I had recently received a mailer telling me that the Jim Fresard Body Shop had moved to a new home in Ferndale at about 8 mile and Woodward, and at that time, I thought it was peculiar that they would specify that the "Body Shop" had made the move, but not the other components of their business (service department, sales). I drove to the old location to find out that, in fact, the entire facility had moved to the new location and I would now have to partake in a slightly less pleasant 4.5 mile walk home in the snow and wind with a mostly straight shot home down Woodward. I drove this stretch nearly every day as my return home from high school, but I had never made the walk. I struck off for home, and had no less than three unique experiences - only in metro-D.

First, only about 1/4 mile into the constitutional, I was approached by a hooded guy about my age or maybe a little younger who was kind enough to offer me "Yo dude, two cigarettes for a dollar." I have never tried a cigarette in my life, but I was touched that this nice person was encouraging me to experience new things in life, and at such a deal! I declined his offer, but as you may already know, I was shocked to learn from discount cigarette websites that I can order something called a "National Premium Marlboro carton" for $40, and that there are about 200 cigarettes in a carton. Doing the quick math, I determined that a cigarette really costs closer to 20 cents / cigarette, and that this offer was actually a 30 cent premium. I can not fault such an enterprising youth. It's important to find ways to make a buck, and it makes perfect sense to sell things to other people at a cost greater than it cost to originally purchase those things.

As I crossed over I-696 to the north side of Woodward, I was reminded of just how much I dislike that relatively new tall clock tower with working massive LCD billboards. When they started building it several years ago, I thought there was a good chance that it would turn out totally awesome like that clock tower in Back to the Future, but instead, it turned out crappy like that terrible clock tower in Back to the Future III.

I noticed a sign at the base of the tower indicating that the tower with billboards was available for purchase. I've worked hard for my whole life and I live in a thrifty fashion, so I was fascinated at the thought of owning a clock tower and billboards, or possibly convincing others to go in on the purchase with me. If I owned it, I could either turn off the tacky things for a more pleasant Woodward experience for all, or alternatively, put really fantastic messages of my choosing on the billboards. "Happy Birthday, Ken" - "Everywhere else is worse than here" - "2 Cigarettes, 50 cents". When I got home and looked up the price of the purchase online (complete with 0.12 acres!) I was saddened to learn that this piece of property costs an insane $1.5M. Needless to say, my dreams of ownership were destroyed, and we will not, in fact, be going back to the future.

Finally, on the home stretch of my walk, I passed by another electronic sign indicating on one side that the time was 1:26, and on the other side, that the time was 1:01. According to my globally-synchronized cell phone, the time was actually 1:06. The topper was that immediately after the time flashed, the board proudly displayed the message "TRUST CMI". I will not trust you, CMI. Not only do you not know the time, you failed at your attempt to hedge on the correctness of the time by including a second, different time on the same sign. Here is a Google Streeview picture of this sign, albeit fairly blurry.

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Getting out there and walking around a little bit is a great opportunity to see your home's surroundings, experience some weird things, and consider outrageous purchases.


Joseph Fisher said...

Had you take the Woodward bus, I expect you would've had twice the number of interesting experiences.

Ken said...

That's a great point Joe! I think I need to make it a point to take the bus to experience some of the area's fantastic personalities.

Dan A. said...

I enjoy experiences the same, but for the reason Joe listened I avoid busses at all costs. City trains are bad enough *sometimes*.

I would also note that I enjoy that clock, as also making that the way home from high school for one year I liked seeing it be built and the final product becomes a memory of times past. Also true w/ that wavy white building out on Crooks between 14/15m (I think). Of course I was disappointed after it was done as it was not a roller coaster (though I do not even like roller coasters).

Peggy Brennan said...

We have had similar experiences since we've taken up biking everywhere. It's amazing what you can experience by getting out of the car. You see things you never see while driving. And you're getting exercise.

We are occasional Woodward Ave bus riders and love it! We always meet someone interesting or at least hear interesting conversations. The buses are on time and quite warm in the winter.

Thanks, Ken, for pointing out the advantages of carless travel.