Measured Extravagance

2001-06-02 - 7:27 p.m.

Dispatch from Ann Arbor:

It's comfortably sparse in Cafe Depresso right now, and I'm reflecting on how it's a far more inviting space now than when I was a student here in the early '90s: there's a guy in a plaid shirt comfortably sprawled on a plush, comfy-looking sofa reading a paperback novel, shoes off and bottled water on the side table next to him. In an armchair facing away from the sofa, there's a younger student hunched over a thick textbook, blowing bubbles from a thick wad of pale yellow gum. At the computers, there's a woman in a red shirt whose lips keep reluctantly curving up - she's typing very fast, so I'm guessing that she's chatting with a friend and trying not to laugh aloud, but she could also be guiltily eavesdropping on the guy pontificating several tables away.

I'm taking it easy tonight: I arrived in Detroit a little bit after 2 a.m. (one flight cancellation, one flight delay, and a panicked retread around Metro after realizing my wallet was no longer in my pocket), and then ended up drinking chardonnay and munching on crackers, cheese, cucumbers and babaghannouj until 4 a.m. with Saz and Erac. By 10 a.m. I was back in my car, driving to Chelsea, where I met L. for lunch at The Common Grill and poked in and around Main Street afterwards. Then I took a nap in the car, and then headed to JB's parents' house, where she and her precocious two-year-old spend their weekends. My hands still smell of playdough.

I hadn't had time to pick up the baby gift I'd earmarked for Rae before leaving Nashville, so that's why I'm pausing here in Ann Arbor. In addition to the gift (which I can't mention yet, since she reads this journal), I also came away with a copy of The Owl and the Pussycat illustrated by Hilary Knight, the artist of the Eloise books. (I hadn't needed any more additions to my luggage, but the Alice in Wonderland references in the wedding-dinner spread were too much for me to resist.)

So, it's back to Detroit, for a quiet evening: more wine with Saz and Erac and perhaps the copy of On Pilgrimage (Jennifer Lash) tucked away in my suitcase. For tomorrow, there will be church, lunch with Rae, dinner with assorted friends, the Tony Awards (if they're still on by the time I get to my hotel), and more slogging away at the presentations I'm giving Monday and Tuesday. Then onto the plane Wednesday morning, back to my overflowing "in" and "pending" boxes (which I do not miss) and the Beautiful Young Man (which I do).

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