2006.09.20 Creature comforts

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL

Now that it has gotten chilly out once again, I can go back to focusing on the creature comforts—something that’s hard to do when we’re stuck in the middle of a 90-plus degree summer swelter, when I take to sleeping on the wood floor in the living room because it seems a little cooler than my bed.

No, mid-September is right around the time I start breaking out my pajama pants, hoodies, long john tops and bottoms, slippers, and the most important garment of all—my robe.

I relished those chilly weekend mornings in Ann Arbor; my roommate Pat and I raced to be the first up—Pat so he could defend his Cheerios, me so I could steal them.

My three roommates and I were the flock of poor, black sheep in a flock of rich Ann Arbor liberals. Our lawn was never mowed so much as it was trampled, or suffocated by leaves our landlord never raked. Despite our house, it was a beautiful neighborhood, full of beautiful people, all of whom hated us.

If all went well, I would be up by around 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning, robe-clad, bowl of Cheerios in hand, lounging on the front porch. About nine o’clock is when people started crowding the neighborhood, looking for free game day parking (we lived about five blocks from Michigan Stadium).

Ann Arbor is probably already the best people watching city in Michigan, but game days elevate the fun to a new level.

There were the hardcore, already drunken fans who probably split a twelve-pack of beer on the trip in from metro Detroit. There were the elderly men and women, neatly dressed with Michigan sweatshirts tied around their waists; SUV-driving soccer-dads, two or three kids in tow; the occasional emo kid stumbling home with a hangover.

There was me, the unbecoming but altogether non-threatening, pajamas-wearing college doofus, eating pilfered Cheerios on his front porch.

One of the small pleasures I indulge in is saying “hi” to people I don’t know. Which is easy when clad in pajamas and, especially, a robe.

Why? Because people know you aren’t trying to impress them. You just want to say “hi” because you’re friendly and it’s a friendly thing to do. Pajamas are also comfortable and physically concealing.  I don’t have to worry about looking attractive in them—I’m not trying to.

“Hi,” I’d say, waving my spoon.

“Good morning,” they’d say.

Eventually, I’d finish my Cheerios, head back inside, switch on ESPN and glower at Kirk Herbstreit. Pat would wake up.

“Jeff, if you’re going to steal my milk, could you at least put the carton back in the refrigerator?” he’d say.

“Sorry. I was gonna put some water in it to make it look like I didn’t drink any.”

I was always the first to leave from the football games. I’m not a big fan of the mob mentality, and to be honest, it’s much, much more comfortable watching the games at home.

Also, I got first crack at the shower. And I could steal some more of Pat’s food. Back in my pajamas and robe, relaxing on the couch, I almost felt sorry for my poor roommates as they filed in, looking haggard and, often, disappointed.

Hair tousled and bleary-eyed from the cold wind, Pat would step into the kitchen for a bite.

“Jeff, if you’re going to steal my frozen pizza, could you at least not leave the empty box in plain sight?” Pat would say.

“Sorry. I was gonna barf into the box to make it look like I didn’t eat it.”

I can’t remember what evening it was last week, but I remember shivering as I read through the final pages of a book.

Because I knew I would never finish the book if I stopped to find my comfort clothes, I read on. In college, I would’ve stopped right there, dug them out, and never looked at the book again. Too many distractions—good friends, many places to walk, movies to watch, cable television.

My stay in Morenci has given me the time to finish off all those half-read books. It’s almost like I’m going back and completing the intellectual journey I started in Ann Arbor.

After a few turns of the page, I flipped the book shut and scrounged out my PJs. I picked a new book from the bookshelf, and settling into the couch next to the open window, covered myself with my robe.

 I was in a warm place and it was getting cold outside.

– Sept. 20, 2006 
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
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  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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