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Boys, Toys, Electric Irons, and TVs 11: Futures End #12

And, now, a story…

My wife and son picked me up from work today and our plan was to go to Livonia to pick some things up at Walmart that are not available in Canada and, then, get some supper at Five Guys or Culver’s or Panera Bread (or some combination thereof depending on what my wife and I each wanted). The lineup at the border wasn’t too long and our line moved briskly. The customs officer made my wife shut off the car, asked what we were planning to do in the United States of America. My wife told him and he asked what we were planning to do after our shopping and supper. My wife said, “We’re coming back here.”

“Here or Canada?” he asked, completely deadpan.

My wife paused, unsure how to answer before eventually settling on ‘Windsor’ as her answer. He examined our passports and let us go. We paid the toll, got on the I-96 West and headed towards our destination. Our exit was Middlebelt Road and, while it’s a bit further out than most people would go, we’ve been going there for the past few years. In one plaza/parking lot, there’s Walmart and Target right next to one another along with Five Guys and, down the road, various other places to eat. Our old routine was to go to Walmart, walk around, see what we wanted to get, and, then, go to Target to see if anything was cheaper/different. Then, after Target, we’d go back to Walmart to finish our shopping. Usually, this was a mixture of DVDs and food items. Nothing big or special.

There was construction on the I-96, so we took a detour that went on the 94 North and, then, the I-696 West, which eventually merged back into the I-96. Traffic was terrible. Our son was doing intermittently well in his car seat, vacillating between crying and amusement playing with his toys. Driving with my wife when my son is like this is stressful. I’m usually of the mindset that there’s not a lot we can do when his main desire is to leave the car. She feels for him so much that she doesn’t stop babbling nonstop at him in an effort to make him feel more at ease. The opposite usually happens. As I often have in the past, I tried to focus on the music and hoped that traffic would lighten up.

It got progressively worse as the I-696 crept towards its merging with the I-96. I tried to feed my son one of his fruit packets, but doing so from the front seat was awkward and he was too upset to eat despite being very hungry. My wife was getting frustrated as a 25 minute trip had now taken over an hour with no end in sight. Also: I had to use the washroom with growing urgency. After much crying, frustration, and wasted gas, we got back onto the I-96, but nothing looked right. Had we passed our exit because of the detour?

We settled on yes, looked for the next exit, got off, got honked at by an asshole, my wife swore (which is rare while driving), we turned around and headed back on the I-96 East. The sun was now in my son’s eye. There was nothing to be done, but drive on and hope we hit our planned stop. My wife expressed a half-hearted desire to just go home, but the toll and gas made that seem even more pointless.

Until we hit detour signs for the I-96 East. Seemingly only a few exits away from our planned exit. We were forced to get off at another street. But, I had a plan: look for the road that intersects with Middlebelt at the plaza where the Walmart/Target/Five Guys is. We saw the road late and made a dicey lane change and, then, a slow drive as we, not quite sure, hoped we were headed in the right direction.

After 15 minutes, we found ourselves in the parking lot. We bought what we wanted and headed for the Culver’s I found on their website as being nearby. We got there and a van blocked off the drive thru. The parking lot was a third full. It looked new. A handmade sign said “We’re open on the 28th! Come back then!” But, we saw people inside, customers and employees. We went in and were told that they were training and to come back Monday. Why would their website list a location that’s not actually open yet? We settled on Panera Bread where my son spent most of the time throwing his yoghurt drops on the floor for fun.

The drive home was uneventful with an easy, direct detour that ran right alongside the I-96 under construction. It was downright pleasant as my son was mostly calm and my wife was happy.

Yesterday, I read Futures End #12 while dinner was cooking in the oven and my wife and son played loudly on the floor of the living room. After supper, I read the rest of my comics with the baseball game on mute and my put my son to bed.

5 Comments

This is a metaphor for something and I’m just not seeing it. That, or people are gradually giving up on Futures’ End and you’re doing this as an experiment to see if anyone would notice if you told a story about lousy Michigan traffic instead of commenting on the issue. Or, as a third option, you only uploaded part of your article by mistake and the rest is coming later.

You did make me have a brief longing for Michigan, though. I lived there over a decade ago and except for a few rare trips back, including one last summer, I really don’t see it much. I’m surprised that traffic was so bad given that Detroit’s population has sharply plunged. Ann Arbor’s doing great, though. I saw that the Vault of Midnight comic shop is no longer a dingy basement store and is now a 2-story monstrosity on Main Street that’s open well into the evening.

So anyway, I’ve noticed that sales on Futures End are sharply dropping only two months into a year-long book, and people are largely grumpy about the book on the CBR forums. Not everybody, but a lot. What do you make of that, Chad?

I write these posts in Word and then paste them into the CSBG Word Press site to post them. So no half-written posts going up early barring something really strange happening…

I can’t speak to what others think of this (or any other) comic — or why. Sales figures are… not meaningless, but something that I don’t care about at all. They have nothing to do with me or what I’m interested in.

FWIW (and I did not realize you were around my neighborhood):

Exit Canada and head I-75 South. Take I-75 South to West Road Exit 32. This should take all of about 20 minutes from the tunnel or Ambassador depending on traffic.

Exit West Road, go East (so towards the Kohl’s and Lowes that should be visible from I-75). Go about a mile to the intersection and Allen Road.

I give you the gift of a Walmart, Meijer, and Target all around each other on opposite corners of the same intersection and probably faster to get to than Livonia right now. You can drive across the street from one to another. Further, there is a Five Guy’s, a Bagger Dave’s, and a Stevie B’s (an all you can eat pizza place that also allows you to make your own pizza as well; the baked potato pizza is amazing in my opinion) in the various lots in this area.

If you want a mall, Southland is available a few exits earlier on Eureka. Exit and make a right around exit 36; the Southland lot also has a Target and sits across the street from a Meijer. Just saying.

Unfortunately, 96 being closed has caused quite a few snarls around here. I used to go that same Walmart/Target back when I lived in Dearborn Heights. I guess they added a few more eating options in the intervening few years. As bad as traffic has been getting in Michigan recently, I’m just glad that I don’t have to deal with Hawaii traffic anymore.

So, to summarize: the comic was so bad/ uneventful that you spent your allotted writing time and word count writing about a trip to Walmart instead of writing about the book.

Though in all fairness, your story about a US/ Canada border crossing would probably be more interesting than the latest issue of “Futures’ End”. :)

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