And Into the Future

After a nap to recover from the wonders of the Village giving my sluggish mind (and feet) an unaccustomed workout, Kathleen picked me up at my not-sleazy (sadly) motel and took me out for a fabulous dinner at her fave restaurant. She has also taken my boss there. There are no degrees of separation between us (sorry, Kevin Bacon), because we all used to work at the same Hell Office and all escaped with our sanity more or less intact (though not our bank accounts). In our case, the world isn’t just small, it’s petite.

Anyway, we were greeted at the appropriately named Traffic Jam & Snug by its petite owner, a friend of Kathleen’s, like most of the Detroit population. She showed absolutely no sign of having had four children, one in the past year, and immediately made me feel like a particularly ungainly and unattractive Heffalump.

TJ’s, as it is known to its fortunate habitu?s, is a charming, rambling old brick building with a warren of rooms that manage to be both cozy and spacious at the same time. I think it might have been a warehouse or similar in its original state. Now it produces excellent food, including bread and cheese made on the premises. I started with a Sinatra-strength Cosmopolitan that was the size of a young swimming pool. It would have knocked Sarah Jessica Parker on her size 2 ass, but this SJP is made of sterner stuff. I was even able to have half a bottle of excellent California chardonnay with my dinner of superb crab cakes. It was so good to be with such a dear friend in such a great place.

Talk about a perfect day!

The next day, my last in Motown, wasn’t so shabby, either. I took a tour of Ford’s historic (since 1917!) Rouge Factory, where the F-150 trucks are made. It was an amazing experience, and the factory must be one of the only ones in the world with a “living roof” and an on-site wildlife refuge. The Ford reputation for innovation is certainly being carried on. Mr. Ford would be proud.

The tour starts with fascinating historic footage, shown on three huge screens. It was mesmerizing and inspiring. This was followed by what I considered to be a cheesy virtual reality experience of a truck being built, complete with being sprinkled with water and enduring crashing noises and flashing, seizure-inducing lights. I’m pretty sure this was some guy’s little brainchild. Most people loved it, though.

Finally, you actually get to walk around a specially-designed catwalk and watch these skilled workers creating the trucks. It’s like an industrial ballet down there, the people and machines working in rhythm, accompanied by the dissonant soundtrack of machinery. At the end, you get to see the trucks being tested for safety on rough roads, in downpours, etc. If you’re in Detroit, you should go. One caveat: you will get tired of the endless repetition of the theme symphony playing on the bus that takes you there and back. Bring your iPod.

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