Monday, July 20, 2009

The American People

My title refers to the common phrase we hear, constantly, in political discourse. Now I will present a sample of two such people, American People, the only people seen walking on Kercheval Avenue in Grosse Pointe (it’s a sizeable boulevard), at precisely seven minutes to 5 p.m. today. One was myself, wearing jeans, a striped shirt, and a rugby cap (Detroit Rugby Football Club, Est. 1968), and carrying a white plastic CVS bag holding two medications, picked up on foot (about an hours' walk) to get exercise and (incidentally) to save a tiny bit of gasoline. Concerning me, you know a little something from reading this blog. The other representative of the American People was a gentleman of roughly my age. He wore a tan suit, a white shirt, and a dark bow tie. He walked from the shade of an elm into the sunshine, and that bow tie was like a coat-of-arms, you couldn’t miss it. He was carrying a slender folder. Judging by the place, the time, I guessed that he was a retired businessman or banker who still visits an office, a place of refuge, a place where the transition may be marked in dignity, most likely in the Punch & Judy Building, across from our Library—a building that specializes in offering just such suites, modest in size but nicely appointed, to serve such purposes. I went my way, he in his, and as I walked home I pondered the meaning of this picture—the limitless uniqueness of each and every person, not least the American People neither of these two old men could see—because they were driving up and down Kercheval, as usual, but the sunlight reflecting brightly from the windshield hid their faces from view.

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