November 17, 2008

20 Michigan Realities

Tomorrow I will read for the students of Northern Michigan University, come rain or come shine.

Or rather, come snow. It is the first real "lake effect" night, and four inches (with a bit of sleet for good measure) have fallen.

In trying to travel carry-on only, I had no room to pack boots.

I have pulled the chair in my hotel room up to the window, so my feet are resting directly on the heater. As I type I can look out a window down a Main Street white with undisturbed snow. There is a series of frosted-glass lamps. There is a clocktower.

Courtesy of my laptop, the Counting Crows are singing "She looks up at the building, / says she's thinking of jumping, / says she's tired of life. / She must be tired of something."

My dinner at the hotel restaurant was rather awesomely rich. The Marquette translation of "prosciutto" is really just peppery ham. But asparagus wrapped in a blanket-of-ham = asparagus that's going to sleep soundly tonight, in the bed of my belly.

I was the only person in the restaurant. It is a Monday, after all. The waitress, when she noticed I was reading, asked if I wanted them to turn the house lights up so I could see better.

After the fancy dinner, the less-fancy pub. One bartender gave the other a funny look when I ordered a Cosmopolitan. "A cocktail?" he stage whispered. Yes, I know it's a girly drink. I promise to order Bell's Brown on draft like a good Michigan-er tomorrow night. But when I was on the plane, I dreamed of Cosmos, and so a Cosmo I will have.

This is an obnoxiously citified thing to say, but it does seem like you get a little more for your money here.

On the drive from the airport to town, my host said "and there's our ski mountain." When I turned my head to the right there it was, complete with machines blanketing the slopeside in a thick cover, the lift carriages frozen in place, and the chalet with its cheery wood trim and retro font. They're not kidding around.

My host says that the husky racing is big here, in training for the Iditarod.

My first radio interview is at 7:30 AM tomorrow.

The paisley brocade they used on the bedspread is the same material they used on the curtains.

I have no idea what I'll read tomorrow night. Still haven't figured out to sustain all these damn sestinas in oral performance.

Counting Crows: "How'm I'm gonna keep myself away from me?"

This is perhaps one of the theoretically four worst days of the year for me to be out of the office. But when someone asks you to go read poetry, you go read poetry.

The cold may force me to wear my socks out tomorrow, since I don't have stockings and my high heels leave my feet exposed. These socks are bright turquoise. With little embroidered sushi rolls on them.

I'll have to wake at 4 AM on Wednesday in order to be back in DC, and in my office, by 11 AM.

It's worth it.

1 comment:

Charles said...

The term is actually "Michigander." :)

So much solitude in this post; it reminds me so much of rural Wisconsin in the winter.

I remember walking on campus in Minneapolis one night during a lake effect-type snow storm. Huge, drunken flakes falling lazily around me. They were so big they collectively made a shushing sound as they all hit the ground. It silenced all other noise.

Snow is that beautiful only once.