Monday, December 05, 2005

An Ann Arbor-centric Weekend

After work, I went over to Leopold Brothers to listen to the mayor and some other bloggers discuss local political issues. While the acoustics were dreadful, it was still interesting to sit in on this informal town hall sort of meeting. One of the things that caught my attention was when the mayor said that Google was planning on having some kind of presence in Ann Arbor. He said he doubted the company would move its headquarters here (duh), but that it definitely intended to open up some kind of shop in Tree Town. If true, that's good news for local IT nerds looking for jobs. Anyway, it was also cool to finally meet Todd Leopold and others.

I went straight from Leopold's to the Blind Pig to meet some friends at a concert -- some dude named Brendan Benson was playing. He was OK, I suppose, but I didn't want to bear his children, like I think a number of female audience members did. After the concert, my friends (who live in Canton) expressed a desire to get something to eat. It was already after 2 AM, so I suggested the obvious: the Fleetwood Diner. They had never been there, so that settled it. Of course, the Fleetwood was packed to its metal gills with the usual after-hours louts and miscreants. We lucked out and got a table by one of the front windows when some people left. Our waitress turned out to be a woman I used to live next to, which was cool -- I had no idea she worked at the Fleetwood.

Anyway, about midway through our meal some loud, belligerent guy comes crashing through the door. He's cussing and acting like a drunken moron*, so the employees behind the grill tell him to get the hell out. Some other people at the table next to us also tell him to leave, but in an even less polite way. The drunken moron then flips off everyone in the diner, says something to the effect that we're all assholes, and challenges the people at the table next to us to a fight before turning around and going back outside.

This is when things get a little confusing for me (I'd had quite a few beers myself). First, a woman at the table gets up and runs outside after the guy and they begin exchanging words. Her tablemates join her. Soon there is a lot of punching and pushing and people are banging against the flimsy Plexiglass window that is mere inches from where I'm chowing down on my gyro. Front row seats! One of the employees goes outside with a lead pipe or something, but another convinces him that's a bad idea and he comes back in. As my friends from Canton sit there appalled, one of the waitresses advises us that we might want to move away from the window. There really isn't anywhere to go, though, and anyway the next thing we know, someone gets socked back into the window and out it pops onto our table. Some more punching occurs before the police arrive to break things up. The waitress brings us some tape and we try to put the window back, but we can't quite get it to snap back in because it also broke. The people from the table next to us return from outside. The woman says she teaches in Detroit public schools and is well qualified to deal with these situations. One of the men accidentally brushes his bloody knuckles on my female friend's coat as he passes. After we pay our bill, I apologize to my friends for taking them there, even though I am still laughing about it.

More proof you need someone from out of town to visit so you have a reason to check out all the places that you live a couple blocks from. Two friends from my East Side Posse™ dropped in for a day of Christmas shopping. We started with lunch at that Thai place in Braun Court (not too bad), then dorked around the Farmer's Market and Kerrytown shops. Christmas came early for my cats, Sam & Max, as they got some toys from that pet store on Fourth Ave. Then we headed to Main St. and visited some other places I'd never been in, like Peaceable Kingdom, and moved on to ACME Mercantile before wandering down to South U. and Middle Earth. By this time, we were ready for some aperitifs, so we stopped for some mango cocktails at Shalimar on Main. Finally, dinner time at Cafe Felix, yet another place I'd never set foot in. (What is up with that ugly, incongruous painting of Charlie Brown on the window?) All in all, the best time I've had shopping in recent memory, and all I bought was a cat toy.

OK, so I actually spent most of Sunday in Allen Park. But I needed a break after all that Ann Arborific activity.

* Actually, I'm pretty sure he wasn't acting.