The Weekend We Found Xanadu That Was
Posted on May 20, 2013
This was another special weekend, mostly because like the conventions I attend, it only happens once a year. And it typically involves a convention. My best friend from college (Don Zomberg) comes down with his girlfriend (Lindsay) and we attend the Motor City Comicon. We’ve done this for the last ten years or so (which includes years prior to his meeting his girlfriend), only we skipped it this year. Instead, we drove around, listened to lots of Journey (one of author Dorien Grey’s favorite groups…so be sure to ask him about them!), and proceeded to explore the area around us in ways we never had before. It was a slightly surreal adventure where we sought out interesting things for Lindsay to photograph with her new camera and it turned into a wonderful bonding experience.
Bonding. I said bonding, Patti Logan, not bondage. There’s a reason the first person who responded to my trivia question on Friday when I asked who I thought the most evil person on the planet is came up with your name.
I took my friends on a ride down Jefferson last year through the Grosse Pointe area and into the lovely areas of Detroit beyond Grosse Pointe. And when I say lovely, I mean scary. Real scary. It’s the kind of scary where you have a full tank of gas, stick to the main road, never travel there at night, don’t pull off onto side streets, and for He-Who-Walks-Behind-the-Blu-Ray-Rack’s sake, don’t get out of the vehicle! Detroit scares me and I don’t even like traveling down there for PrideFest or to go to John King Books. Or the Fox Theater. Or even the Detroit Institute of Arts. I do go to some of those places, but not without bringing along a minimum of three staff members to act as human shields.
So what does Lindsay say? “Can you pull off on one of the side streets so I can get out and take some pictures?” Umm…no. Okay, she’s lucky I agreed to turn down a side street. Real lucky. The first one? Not so much. We traveled about fifty feet when we saw people approaching a car in front of us. Not good. Maybe they knew each other. Didn’t care. Lindsay wisely changed her mind and we sought out the first available area that looked like it could give us the space we needed, turned around and went down another side street. Hey, she wanted a side street, not a specific side street.
Thus began our journey of looking for abandoned, burned out or otherwise scary looking houses. We certainly found some along with a few buildings, too. The odd thing is that these houses often had houses next to them that were kept up quite nicely…and then some that weren’t. Pushing the creepy factor is some of the inhabitants of these neighborhoods saw us and looked as aghast that we were there as we were to be there. That’s not a good combination under any circumstances. It fortunately started to get dark and we decided that an hour and a half of light left was simply too much to chance in case we had to Escape From Detroit.
The best part of journey out and about happened on Saturday. We’d driven up to Port Huron so Lindsay could shop at the mall there. I haven’t been to that one in years and it’s a place where I took my husband when we first started dating, so special memories. It’s changed a little. Kind of a lot, actually. But as we were heading back, I decided to indulge in another special memory place from way back when my hubby-to-be would take road trips just to get out with each other. There’s a small outlet mall off of I94 where honorable husband and I would walk around and browse. It was quite nice. It’s not anymore. It’s…um…almost a ghost town and that’s sad. BUT, that being said, we saw the remains of a factory of sorts beyond the shops that simply drew us to investigate the area.
Don said the unfinished skeletal structure reminded him of Legos and it did. I thought it looked a bit like a coliseum or concert venue. The building beyond was hallowed out as well. We wanted to take a look inside, but there was a truck there and someone had been driving a 4-wheeler around, so we didn’t go further than the structure. Our first glance of it made it look as if it would be easy to climb. It wasn’t. There was a lake where the smaller steps of the structure reached into. We did, however, find a way onto it and, believe me, it went pretty high up.
I haven’t climbed something like this since I was a youth…ten years ago. But talk about cool! The higher up I climbed and looked out at the building, the more I was reminded of the (don’t laugh) film Xanadu. The building in the film was a shell of its former self, yet was turned into something magical. This place gave each of us a similar feeling, that there was potential here. It touched our imaginations. And, fortunately, Lindsay brought her camera.
We’ve never been bored during our weekends together and it’s never felt like we’ve done the same old thing, but this weekend offered us a new adventure and a tradition I think we’re going to continue next year. We’ll seek out former civilizations, places with no life forms, and boldly take pictures…unless we see other people, in which case we’ll run like hell.
Still, we found Xanadu this weekend. Xanadu that was and might be again one day.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
9 Responses to “The Weekend We Found Xanadu That Was”
May 20, 2013 at 9:06 am
It sounds like you had a blast this past weekend.
May 20, 2013 at 9:09 am
We did! I’m going to post these pics and several others on FB today. She took some really awesome shots.
May 20, 2013 at 9:13 am
Sounds like a terrific adventure, Kris. I love abandoned buildings. Thanks for taking me along vicariously.
Oh, and what’s this reference to “Journey”? They’re a musical group, I assume?
May 20, 2013 at 9:19 am
I’ll post more of the pcs on Facebook today if you’d like to see more of the shots she took.
And yes, dear sir. Journey is a music group. =) I think you might actually enjoy some of the vocals.
JP Adkins says:
May 20, 2013 at 11:18 am
Ed and I have done that a few times. It is always a great adventure. Glad you got away for a bit.
Don Zomberg says:
May 21, 2013 at 9:49 am
Why do I not remember doing any of this?
May 21, 2013 at 9:56 am
You’re older than I am. The memory starts to fail. 😛
Don Zomberg says:
May 21, 2013 at 2:07 pm
Too much Bud Ice maybe.
And last I checked, June comes before October.
May 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm
I know not of these two people you speak of or their mating habits.