Vignettes of Ann Arbor.
The tramps here aren’t your run of the mill down and outs. They’re cultured. This lunchtime we went over to the University of Michigan Art Museum to see a documentary about the Bauhaus and this guy walks in, off the street. Literally. He sits down at the front and proceeds to eat his burger. No one says a word. It’s bizarre. It’s like he had a break from begging–“Hey, I’ve made five bucks this morning.”–and decided to stop for an educational lunch.
Contrast this with life on the other side of town. Laura suggested we go to Whole Foods for lunch. Organic produce for the very well-heeled. You’d think the combination of politically correct organic farming and environmental friendliness would bring out the best in people but no. We watched and waited as two cars, one of them clearly there before the other, fought over a parking space. The second arrival stole it, the first woman blocked her in and honked the horn. Clearly they were anxious to spend some major bucks on very good but very expensive food.
Ann Arbor has a lot of money and a lot of educational opportunities. The President of the University, Mary Sue Coleman, here is the third highest paid public university president in the USA. She earns $677k a year. Nice. I was filming in her office last week, Ann Arbor’s oldest university building. She wasn’t there. We were recording an interview with a couple who are donating $44m to the medical school to help find a cure for diabetes. A good story. Somehow, while I was there, one of my business cards fell out and I think may have been lost in the huge dictionary that was out on display. Filed under “F for filmmakers”. Hey, maybe they’ll show one of my films in the museum one lunchtime. You think?
The Bauhaus film was interesting, by the way, because although I knew a bit, I never knew quite so much iconic design came out of Germany. It’s not all “Two world wars and one world cup, doo daa.” However, the documentary did verge on depressing because of the parallels in current US politics with the right and left halves of the country diverging and the economy going to hell. Mind you, looking around Whole Foods you’d be forgiven for thinking, “Recession? What recession?” There’s no shortage of consumer power in Ann Arbor. Hell, it’s only a matter of time before they start offering courses on Effective Philathropy. Maybe the US trade and budget deficits are all just another big scare tactic by the Democrats. But then why is the dollar doing so badly on the currency markets? Eh?
If nothing else, this week, at least we got Pete’s new mac printing wirelessly over his home network. I call that a result. And this morning, we paid off the major part of our mortgage as America’s debt creates an uncertain future for borrowers. That’s awesome. Today, now, it’s snowing and tomorrow it’s Thanksgiving. I shall give thanks for a great year, thanks for all the good people I’ve met and thanks for Laura. Then I shall attempt to pickle my last two brain cells for posterity.