I’m “glad”, in a sense, for having visited the friendly but dull and desolate urban wasteland that is Detroit.
I spoke to a cabdriver who’s lived in Detroit for 65 years. “When was Detroit’s peak era?” I asked. “The late ‘50s,” he replied.
The Flixbus journey from Detroit to London, Ontario was visually pleasant — flat cornfield farmland with occasional silos and vast blue skies. It reminded me of southern Texas and the long agricultural and steer-grazing stretch between Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata, Argentina.
The flat, modest, sprawling village of Grand Bend, Ontario is fine as far as it goes. A well-tended place, friendly people, a nice library, most of the usual amenities.
Alas, many of the weekend tourists roaming around near the crowded Lake Huron shoreline were chubby or porcine and wearing, of course, the usual low-rent garb. I felt truly sorry for their full-of-beans, bright-eyed toddlers, knowing they’re almost certainly doomed to look and behave the same as they come into adulthood.
We are living through a period of a general lack of refinement, slovenliness and cultural decline, and all you can do is slowly shake your head like Jose Ferrer’s Turkish Bey in Lawrence of Arabia and mutter “I am surrounded by cattle.”
There are certainly no persons resembling Peter O’Toole, Claude Rains, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins or Anthony Quayle on the tree-lined streets of Grand Bend — I can tell you that for certain.
Okay, I’m partially taking that back. There was one exceptionally attractive and interesting person I ran into in Grand Bend — a young, slender and rather tall Vietnamese woman named Liz, a waitress at a disappointing Japanese restaurant and a resident of nearby Goderich. She wouldn’t have been cast in Lawrence but she was certainly genteel and well-spoken. David Lean would have given her a large tip.
Did the 20th Century realm that I knew as a New Jersey suburban kid and a young lad in Connecticut, Boston and NYC…maybe it never precisely existed as I recall it although I’m 100% certain that people were a lot thinner back then. Either way that era is gone for good now.