Recently Chuck Norris the wife and I executed a quick little raid into American territory for cultural observation and retail therapy.
We were barely outside the city limits, when trouble first arose. It wasn’t long before there was a knock-down, drag-out, cursing and swearing, screaming and yelling, hair pullin’, eye-gougin’ match going on over in the passenger seat, between the wife, and Ethel, the snotty GPS.
The last little village we went through before getting on the Superhighway, was Roseville, ON. Our destination, north of Detroit, was Roseville, MI. When the wife tried to enter that, Ethel insisted, “You’re already there.” The wife finally punched Ethel in the button that read ‘Change State or Province.’ Suddenly, Ethel knew all about Roseville….California. No! No! No! I finally suggested adding the Michigan ZIP-code, and the fight ended with no serious injuries.
The Windsor/Detroit crossing is the most heavily-used border point between Canada and the US, and the one we’ve been using for years. Security is strict. Since we were going well north of Detroit, we chose to cross from Sarnia, to Port Huron, MI, and work our way south. Between a less-busy crossing, and the passage of 15 years since 9/11, it was quick, easy and almost informal.
Our border guard was a young, white male, who wasn’t suffering from testosterone poisoning from listening to Donald Trump speeches. When the wife volunteered that we were staying three days, he replied, “I don’t care how long you stay, as long as it’s not more than six months.” When he found that we were going to strew cash into the economy, we got waved through before The Donald could collect enough Mexican pesetas to erect his wall.
Hotels/motels and restaurants cluster around Interstate exits. The better ones are usually right up front, while the Eats Diners huddle a little further back. Right across from my Red Roof Inn, was a Days Inn, while the Victorian Inn was half a block south.
While searching for a Taco Bell, on the next main road over, and a block north, we drove past the Alibi Inn….because apparently the name Divorce Depot was already taken. They oughta warn a fellow about things like that. Trying to drive a car while giggling hysterically, looks a lot like DUI.
We went to a Wal-Mart to get some work jeans for Shimoniac, in his ‘big and tall’ size that Ontario Wal-Marts no longer carry. The first one we tried was down towards Eminem’s Eight Mile, surrounded by ‘houses made of ticky-tack, and they all look just the same,’ occupied mostly by melanin-rich folks.
It wasn’t dirty, but had the feel of dowdy, and unkempt. In the Men’s Wear section, there were shelves and shelves of jeans. Regular fit, Boot cut, Relaxed fit, Carpenter style and Flex-waist were all inter-mixed in the same piles, as well as waist sizes from 28 to 48, and inseams from 30 to 48. After 20 minutes of frustrated searching, we managed to find one pair.
We then drove north and west to another Wal-Mart. Soon the homes were $500,000+, with gated drives and manicured lawns. The area mall shone like Xanadu. I’m surprised that we were allowed in, and disappointed that they didn’t have valet parking and shuttles to the shops.
This store gleamed. In the Men’s Wear section, all the styles were carefully kept separate, and sizes ran from smallest at the top, to largest on the bottom. They have a much-different clientele. It took only 30 seconds to find another pair of jeans, leaving the wife time to peruse the ladies’ sweaters.
You know you’re having an interesting vacation when you look out your motel window in the morning to see a State Trooper putting his steel battering-ram door opener back into the Police sport-ute. He didn’t have to use it. A local woman rented a room for a couple of visitors. They partied too rowdy. Instead of calling the front desk, who would have had to call the Police anyway, the outraged neighbors called the cops themselves.
While I was gabbing with a room-clerk, a young man came in to get another keycard. “I didn’t mean to pull the door all the way closed.” Fortunately, he didn’t do it while dressed only in his Calvin Kleins, ‘cause she wanted ID.
The motel leaves a printed sheet, reminding guests to flip the ‘privacy’ switch on the inside of the door, so that no-one can enter, even with a keycard. While doing my usual wandering around, I found a keycard which someone had dropped just outside their door while entering. I turned it in at the office.
At the wife’s suggestion, we ate supper the first night at Taco Bell. Michigan stores offer nachos Bel Grande that Ontario outlets don’t have. We followed that with Cracker Barrel, and then The Outback, finishing off the last morning with brunch at Denny’s.
The Cracker Barrel wasn’t really busy, but in our section, the Negro waitress stood around talking to a Negro friend, while the white waitress took orders, delivered food, and cleaned tables. When she finally rushed over to serve us, she apologised for taking so much time.
The wife assured her that we were in no hurry, “You’re busy.” We had till closing time, and told her to take her time. You could just see the stress flow away. “Not a lot of people are like that.” We each got two corn-meal biscuits. I, of course, ate both of mine. The wife ate one. When the bill arrived, I asked for a bag to take the biscuit home in. When she returned, the bag held three more fresh biscuits, “So that you’ll both have two for breakfast, and there’ll be no fight.” Quid Pro Quo!
Finally, well-fed and happy, we headed our mule-train loaded with beet sugar and new clothes back towards the land of maple syrup, socialized medicine and good manners. I’m sorry if that offends any Americans. Please accept my apology….and come back soon. 😉