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.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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