Day 20: Dayton Outskirts / Out of the Frying Pan, Into Detroit

Full disclosure: I like Detroit.  I really do.

I’ve been there a handful of times, a couple for social visits back in the early ’00s, and twice to the Detroit Electronic Music Festival/Movement, once in 2002 or 2003 and once in 2010.  The first few times were with a native — my friend I’m heading up there to see for the first time in like a decade, in fact — and the last I roadtripped up with another from Texas.  We finally did some requisite urban exploration, climbing around a couple of abandoned auto factories (probably also nearly getting tetanus after cutting my leg climbing through a festering cesspool of a broken window).

Probably I’ll add some pictures from those sometime in the next few days, when (a) I’m not lurching along on shitty Greyhound wireless here and (b) I’ve not done anything but attempt to turn into an actual sloth and as such have nothing interesting to say (although if I successfully turn into an actual sloth, I suppose that would be pretty interesting).

But they’re fascinating, the way they look like a bomb dropped one day and just wiped them out.  Single shoes, eyeglasses on the floor, rusted baby strollers.  1970s-style television sets, shattered on crumbling pillars still poking up through rooftop sinkholes.  There was a rowboat in a random upper-story corner.

It’s like all the post-apocalyptic tension of the city is concentrated in the decrepit old buildings, and it’s absolutely fascinating to me.

I suppose I was drawn to something similar in Milwaukee.  I used to stand on the sixth floor and watch Lake Michigan in the east, glittering and endless, and then turn to the south where plumes of factory smoke puffed and curled over the southern sprawl.  There’s something hauntingly appealing in it.

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