Today in a last-ditch desperate bid to get out of the house I had my mom take me to downtown Birmingham while she went and saw a movie with her friend. I haven’t really been out of the house — except to see doctors — since last Friday, when I was in the car accident. I also haven’t hung out in downtown Birmingham, outside of the 24-hour coffee joint, since I was probably a freshman in high school. The 24-hour coffee joint is gone now, by the way, it was first bought out by some people who made it into this weird hybrid cell phone store and coffee shop (not open 24 hours), and now the storefront is covered with brown paper. I’m pretty sure Forte bought it out and is going be expanding into it. As if we need any more high-class restuarant frontage in that town. Where are the hip kids and outcast high schoolers going to go to scorn their yuppie brethren? Yeah, I don’t know either. All that’s left in that wasteland are the Corporates: Starbucks, Cosi, and Caribou. The choices for free wireless have really gone downhill. Ech.

Chagrinned, I headed over to the terrifyingly giant Borders Books & Music in hopes of finding free wireless and to pick up Clay Shirky’s new book, Here Comes Everybody. T-Mobile HotSpot. You’ve got to be kidding me! $6 for an hour of internet access is complete highway robbery. I couldn’t quite get connected to the Wireless Oakland network, either. Madness, I tell you!

I had my damn latte anyway, and polished off another couple pages of a paper on Hume that was due sometime last week. I wouldn’t exactly say I enjoyed the people-watching, but it did remind me how good I have it in Ann Arbor. With the exception of one head-turner, the hipsters in this town are just trying too hard. In fact, there was this prepubescent skater kid’s mom who was hipper than the hipsters. Everyone else looks a little stretched thin. And I had the only Macintosh. You know a place is strange and depraved when you’re the only Apple machine in a large coffee shop.

But more than that, it made me wonder how I got out of here okay. The people here are awfully self-obsessed (although you could say the same of me) and simultaneously have horrible taste. They’re largely trying very hard to be well-dressed, but for some reason failing — ill-fitting clothing seems to be the major factor. They eat. A lot. Or not at all, and read books on Buddhism lite. I suppose that many of the denizens of Ann Arbor are much the same, but you know what? Better there than here. At least in Ann Arbor there’s free wireless and indie coffee joints around, and at least in Ann Arbor the intellectuals are sometimes actually intellectuals, not flakes with big vocabularies. Oh, and I’ve never seen bright pink dreadlocks in Ann Arbor. Shudder. Maybe this is why I’m going to lock myself away in academia for the rest of my days.

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