Thursday, December 09, 2010


(A person who lives in Demonym.)

I flew to Detroit the Saturday before Thanksgiving and shared the Custom Transit van from the airport with a pair of—I won’t say “major jerks,” but a pair of really lovely, I’m sure, persons temporarily acting like major jerks, who complained loudly half the way to Ypsilanti about Custom Transit’s lousy service, when they had shown up with an extra person, which is not how Custom Transit works.

I made sure to give the driver a huge tip and thank him profusely for Custom Transit’s fantastic service. Honestly, those people could have been standing beside I-94 with their thumbs out. Instead they were in fact rolling along toward their destination, despite not having booked in advance, and still had the nerve to list all the people they were going to badmouth Custom Transit to and to try to estimate exactly how many dollars Custom Transit was going to lose for not kissing their feet and on and on. It was all I could do not to turn around and say, “Can you shut the $*%!! up?” They must have been Ann Arborites. They could learn from us humble (and tolerant!) Ypsilantians (?). Ypsilantoids? Ypsi-ites?

I had to phone my mother to ask what you call a person who lives in Ypsilanti.

“Why do you want to know?”

“You know why.”

“No, I don’t: I’m getting old. Oh, right, for your blog. I should polish up some witticisms so I can be ready. Write down that my favorite program is Hoarders and you can get it on Netflix. No, don’t write that down.”

“I already wrote it down.”

“All right. I guess there’s nothing that can be done about that, then.”

“So what do you call a person who lives in Ypsilanti?”

“I don’t call them anything. I call them ‘fellow citizens.’”

“Maybe Dad knows this?”

My mother yelled my father’s name, then laughed and said, “He says, ‘Heh heh heh, you don’t want to know.’”

It turns out my first guess is (possibly) right: Ypsilantian. At least, that’s what my father thinks it is. We did at least figure out the word that means what you call a person who lives in a certain place: demonym.

(Iggy Pop lived in Ypsilanti in his teenage years, and Domino’s Pizza was founded there.)

Speaking of Hoarders, I know a guy who knows a guy who was featured on one show, and also I had this idea for a cartoon to be submitted to The New Yorker: A Hoarders episode with the guest star saying, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested."

My first evening in Ypsi, Dad made the three of us avocado salad for dinner, and then we watched The Green Zone and The Hustler, featuring a toothsome young Paul Newman.

On Sunday, Dad made tomato soup, and pasta and asparagus with cheese sauce, and we watched the first part of the John Adams miniseries and A Walk on the Moon.

I was amused to see a new photo had appeared in a prominent position near some framed family pictures: Michelle Obama.

I’m glad Michelle is now apparently one of our relatives, but I’m enraged at her husband over the tax breaks for affluent Americans. That absolutely boggles the mind. We are going to borrow money to spare those who can easily afford it from paying taxes? Where is President Obama’s spine? Those Republicans in Congress who have said they will refuse to work on anything else until this goes through should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. As well as being angry, I’m heartsick at what our actions reveal about what our values have become.

On Monday of my week in Michigan, I had lunch with Ginny at Seva in Ann Arbor. While we both went to the same junior high, I don’t think we really spent time together after elementary school, so it had been the better part of 40 years! We had a very nice time. It was fantastic to see her, and great that we had plenty to talk about.

After lunch, I visited a spot I’d had an emotional dream about just a couple of weeks prior. It is odd to walk into a dreamscape, of which there are several in Ann Arbor.

That evening, Dad made us mushroom soup, a salad, and biscuits. Mom is normally in charge of biscuits, so this was a new venture for Dad. Mom had made a wonderful batch of bagels before my arrival that I ate and enjoyed all week.

That evening, we watched more John Adams, maybe two parts.

On Tuesday, my sister came over. That night, Dad made lasagna without mushrooms—he is always testing and refining his recipes, and he was wondering if lasagna without mushrooms would be just as good, since the mushrooms are time consuming. We also had salad and biscuits. Afterward, we watched A Single Man and The White Ribbon—Michael Haneke. I had my misgivings regarding the latter, and indeed we all found it grim.

On Wednesday, I went over to Sally’s and we took our now-traditional walk around the neighborhood, through more dreamscapes, and it was of course lovely to see Sally.

That evening, Dad made pasta with tomato sauce, tomato soup, and cottage cheese with artistically arranged tomato slices—a meal with a theme.

Thursday was of course Thanksgiving. My sister came over again and we had vegan nut loaf, gravy, stuffing (the best version ever), cashews, olives, cranberry-orange relish, bean salad, and wonderfully soft rolls. Mom made the rolls and the cranberry-orange relish. Dad made the vegan nut loaf, gravy, stuffing, and bean salad. Dessert was chocolate-chip cookies made by Dad (based on a recipe I sent him a few years ago that features oil instead of butter) and lemon bars made by Mom. Both were delicious.

Just before we ate, Dad picked up a sheaf of printed-out emails and announced, “Topics for discussion,” which made me and my sister giggle.

After Thanksgiving dinner, which we had at 2 or so, we watched Anvil: The Story of Anvil, Derailed, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (for the millionth time—marveling once again over Leonardo DiCaprio's amazing performance), and a documentary about Charles Bukowski.

On Friday, Amy and I had lunch at Café Zola (and, yes, it was splendid to see Amy!), followed by tea at the Sweetwater Café across the street. That night, Dad made tofu with peanut sauce, a favorite of mine, and we watched more John Adams. On Saturday I flew home, and there you have it.
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