We scream about how much we hate this town always.  Nothing is ever good enough.  I return from my mother’s house on a Friday night, though, with all my friends on the front porch, tearing their way through a keg of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and suddenly everything is brilliant and good.  The music is loud and good and the beer is cold and bad.  We leap from the porch railing into the kiddie pool on the lawn.  We spray each other with mustard.  And at the end of the night I am curled on the front porch couch with Dani, listening to Animal Collective.

It’s not so bad here, Emma points out as we float down the Huron River the next day, sitting in the aforementioned kiddie pool and watching the seaweed and fishes on the sandy bottom.  “Sometimes I’m just glad we’re in a country where we can get a kiddie pool for $25 and get in a river and float down it for an hour,” she says.  “It’s not like I love America.  I’m just glad we won’t get shot around the next bend.”

And I guess that’s legit.  We might not be in love with the squalor we’re surrounded by, but it’s better than a lot of other squalor.  At least the squalor we’re living in isn’t material squalor, it’s intellectual squalor.  And yesterday I would have written here that I’d rather have that material squalor, but today I will tell you that this is okay at the worst.  Certainly in this comfortable, gentrified university neighborhood we wrestle with our inner demons: being young, feeling powerless, charged with emotion and ideas and the will to live.  Certainly the squalor we are surrounded by some others find absolutely delightful.  But it’s still okay to want something more.

I am listening to the sounds of parties down the block.  I am listening to the neighborhood and the liquor talking.  It is a beautiful night, the last night in June.  The moon is full.  The evening’s prospects are music, wine, dancing, good beer, and friends.  I can’t complain about a single thing, but somehow, some way, I still feel a little lost.  Curious, though, like floating down the Huron River north of the Arb, waiting to see what comes next.  And where, where will we land and haul our raft back to civilization?

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