First impressions are always the most funny ones. The ones that give shape to your frame for understanding all things one is gonna encounter. Now my first impressions here were as one could expect: the USA really does look like all the images one knows from TV and movies: huge cars, big people, many ads along the road, and those dinners and delicatessen we all dreamt of. The car we drive in here swallows a 120 litres of gasoline. When the battery run empty some guys, each one of them weighting at least what us three weight together, helped us out at the gas station. And to finish the story at the gasstation: they did serve some awfully good Mexican food. So actually now new impressions there.
But than to something that did strike me. We all know Detroit’s notoriety as the town where things, to say the least, didn’t exactly go as once planned. Economies failed, corporations decided to leave town & fuck over all their employees & their families, and hence the drop in population size from over 2 million to a mere 800.000 at the moment. I suppose everybody reading these lines heard about the word ‘ruin’ porn– the eagerness of seeing and preferably photographing the abandoned and deserted desolate and sometimes halfly burnt houses, so no need to dwell upon that – but what I did not realize is this: when these houses, factories, and other lots were taken down the sites weren’t developed and thus the town has an enormous amount of empty space. And Detroit already looks like a spacious town to me, having grown up in busy neighbourhoods in Europe. Every direction one looks shows open space. So even though Detroit is a big town it has a village feel.
Lethargy of living in limbo
And connected to that feeling is the very citylike idea of a village being more relaxed, more connected, more community like than the towns most people live in today. But than, for some among us who did grew up in villages, those little towns also had the dready long afternoons where nothing was gonna happen and you did know at beforehand. Numerous were the afternoons when homework was done and you didn’t know what else to do. That in some way also is the Detroit experience. It is the quietness of a post conflict zone where new life has yet to gain shape. It is the limbo time in which we don’t now what tomorrow will bring. It is the spacious surroundings that are so wide we don’t where to start filling them in. It’s the lethargy of not knowing where to start ‘cause there is so much to be done. It is the poetry of longing for a future finally starting.