I have been grumpy.
Partly it's the heat. We're not the sort with Air Conditioning and the weather's been in the 90s. Sweltering nights and sweat drenched pillows. We go to bed late. Late. We stay up, the four of us, until the air outside is cooler than in, and the fans are blasted.
We shuffle down to the Big Lake for some cooling. Dunk the head under the bluegreen waters beset by sandy white. Swim until our lips are blue and our backs red and peeling, then back home with sand in our shoes. Fine sand. Sand in our hair. Sand in our shorts. Sand everywhere. Singing sand....the silica sand here in West Michigan is so fine grained and such high percentage of silica it squeaks when you walk on it. Squeaks. Audibly.
Then the hot summer night. Windows open. The occasional breeze.
Then the news and the blogs.
I can't tolerate hearing how things were. Over and over again.
I can't take it.
Once liberals were liberals.
Once Detroit was a booming town of prosperity.
Once there was a thriving middle class.
Once Muskegon was a booming lumber town.
Once there was security and once a family could get by on one income.
Once an education meant something.
Once the shuttered Paper Mill employed 700 people for generations.
Once this empty lot was was home to a foundry that employed 4000. But now it's just an empty lot full of industrial slag and brick.
Once this street was a thriving place of commerce where you could safely walk at night...............now just boarded up decaying buildings.
.............it's an endless barrage of Onces.
Once upon a time................................................
...................a world we're urged to miss. A world we're urged to understand is now gone. Other peoples' worlds we're urged to re-create.
It's gone. It's not the experience of tens of millions of American. We never knew it.
In 2013 we now live in a world of an aggregate of other people's half remembered utopias. Best intentions wrapped in blood and sweat and work and a lifetime of struggle....and memories of what was. What was intended. What became and what never became.
I read story after story after story about what Detroit WAS.
And more and more it makes me angry.
It makes me ANGRY.
What WAS makes me angry.
Because from where I'm standing it's all a ghost. It's all somebody else's world.
It's not mine.
It never was.
It was never mine.
For many Americans we've just walked into the room. We've just joined the game. And what we see is what is. What we SEE is what is ACTUALLY here before us RIGHT NOW. The decay. The boarded up buildings. That's what is.
Don't talk to me about how things were with a sad shake of the head.
We just got here. And what we found is decay. And what will be will be something very different than what was. And it will be better.