Grosse Pointe Growing Pains: a Love/Hate Relationship

I always forget how much I love certain aspects of Grosse Pointe. I never, on the other hand, forget the aspects that I hate. The feeling that everyone is apart, frozen in their own homes, only activated to pick, pick, pick on the neighbors—"Did you see their new window treatments? I could die."—and nitpick, nitpick, nitpick each other's lives apart: "He's gay? Well, what do you think of that?" All the houses look the same in their manicured, whitewashed way. Built to look just a little different because "God, who would want to live in a subdivision?" We are not like them. We are eclectic. Charming.

And sometimes that is very true. I like that people here smile as they pass strangers on the sidewalk. We ask "How are you?" too late to hear the answer, and no one cares anyway, but it's the sweet routine of it—he asked how I am—that makes it satisfying. The little interruptions to routine bring an equal sense of satisfaction. Biking down the streets you've spent your whole life driving past, seeing a dragon constructed from sheet metal in an otherwise average patch of ivy, the discovery of a church welcoming everyone, honestly and truly, the abandoned pool? Power plant? Greenhouse? next to the middle school, covered in ivy and shrouded in mystery.

My favorite, besides these magical disruptions, are the magical corners, seemingly unaffected by the community that sprouted up around them. You can smell them. They are darker, damper. They smell like earth, moist—green. You don't know how, but they turn colors into scents. They smell green. There are crumbling brown houses around. Oak trees. Strange rocks. The thrum of cicada song, like a lullaby on the wind. Most importantly, the sense that there are secrets here. Something untouched, yet to be discovered, that will never change, and never really be found.

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