It’s been fun, really. Some of my best memories in Detroit were made with you. It was you who introduced me to Friday Night Live! and Dally in the Alley. You gave me my favorite pair of earrings and made me the best chai latte I’ve ever had. It’s just that, well, it’s time. I’m moving out. It’s not you, it’s me….
What’s that? You want the truth? I suppose after two years of our on and off again relationship, that is what you deserve. I mean, you were my first sublet in the city. You offered me my first part-time job when I needed money and my first one-bedroom apartment when I needed a place to stay. Sure the hot and cold faucets are reversed and one of my doors is mounted upside down but I think these details are kind of endearing.
What I’m saying is I think you have a lot to offer. I’m just ready to see different neighborhoods. I want a yard in the back and trees lining my street out front. I want a kitchen large enough to maneuver in without having to turn sideways to reach the sink. I want a porch and windows opening to more than one cardinal direction. I want to control my own heat. I want even floors, an attic, a basement. Quite frankly, I’m tired of the blaring horns of firetrucks, ambulances and police cars up and down Woodward and I’m done with the glow of the golden arches illuminating my bedroom at all hours of the night.
That said, there’s a lot I’m going to miss. In Midtown I never had to go far for amazing vegan ice cream, a delicious bubble tea or that irresistible sea salt chocolate chip cookie. Your savory pizza, brews and rooftop seating are the envy of other neighborhoods and your restaurants with their lentil burgers, sweet potato fries and mac-n-cheese will not cease to entice both the locals and visitors alike. Please don’t take it personally…apartment living just isn’t for me. You’ll be fine. You will make many young professionals, Wayne State and CCS students very happy. Don’t worry, I’m not going far and I’ll be back often to visit (I mean, I can’t go all winter without tuning up my bike). Oh, and one more thing – this doesn’t change my soccer allegiance one bit.
When I moved to Detroit earlier this year with nothing more than a few suitcases of clothes and an assortment of mismatched furniture, kitchen supplies, and favorite books, there was much uncertainty; at the time I was working a part-time job (getting barely enough hours to make rent), looking for full-time work, and volunteering with a different organization every week to network. Perhaps the one thing that was very clear, however, was that I would certainly be without a car.
I’ve already shared my views about Detroit’s bus system; while I’ve recently-dare I say, upgraded?-to my lovely, five-speed road bike with red handlebars, starting off car-free in Detroit would have been extremely difficult without Detroit’s Department of Transportation. Maybe it’s because the memories of waiting for 20 plus minutes in minus 10 degree weather has long faded but I do think the buses fill a definite need in the city. That said, there is also a need for more buses on some of the heavier utilized routes, like the Woodward (and one piece of advice if you were ever to ride buses here: Detroiters refer to buses by street name rather than number…it took me a long time to pick up on this, as I am much better with numbers and constantly referred to my bus of choice as the “53” rather than the “Woodward”). Like a fellow rider once joked: “You got a can opener?” as we boarded a packed bus one afternoon, riders are indeed crammed like sardines at rush hour; it’s during those crammed 4:00pm rides down Woodward, as the bus driver darts in and out of traffic, is the need for a light rail down this main drag most evident.
But those days are now behind me. I’m happy to report that I’ve been bus-free for well over two weeks now and couldn’t be happier. Sure, I have my criticisms about sub-par road conditions and unaware drivers, but in general I’ve enjoyed beginning to explore Detroit by bike. I also can’t help but think that there is so much potential for Detroit to become a biker-friendly city. As a colleague recently pointed out, if there’s one upside to the loss of population here, it’s the amount of under-utilized roads that can serve as unintentional bike lanes.
Now that I’ve acquired a bike and a job, it’s time for the next challenge: figuring out a way to lure Zipcar into the city.
Moving isn’t my favorite activity; coupled with a nasty winter storm, my move-in weekend was a potential snowy mess. Luckily disaster was averted, with the help of my parents and a good sense of humor. We encountered a variety of concerns upon arrival to my new place (like pulling off the doorknob to the hall closet, realizing the bedroom door is in fact hinged upside down, and discovering some cat erotica hanging in the bathroom). Because of these odd surprises, my potentially stress-ridden move was quickly remedied with laughter. And it wasn’t until my shower rod came crashing down into the tub did I finally understand the incredible utility of duct tape. For this I am truly grateful.
The best part of the entire ordeal, however, was my oversight in one small detail: electricity. After several calls to DTE Energy and one missed appointment with the technician, I am now scheduled to have service on Friday. As in three days. Last night, as I lit my candles and rummaged around for my shiny new flashlight, I realized that my dear friend and past roomie Alyssa Marks lives without electricity every single day (along with how many other people in the world?), as she is currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali. How fitting that today is also her birthday.
So tonight, Alyssa, I light my candles in celebration of you. Happy birthday love.