This summer, I traveled around meeting great people in the Great Lakes State. And I’ve also taken up palm reading as a new hobby.
When you meet a Michigander, one of the first things they will talk about is where they are from. And to do this properly, they will show you on their palm. Their right palm to be exact.
Michiganders proudly refer to their state as the Mitten. So much so that you can buy Michigan Mittens or oven mitts at kitschy and cute tourist shops Up North (yes, it’s capitalized) or like the ones I found on Karin Marie’s “talk to the mitten” Pinterest site.
To demonstrate, I will call upon my lovely assistant and local hand model.
See, we live in the Detroit suburbs, right here:
If you want to vacation on Lake Michigan and swim and sail where the water is warm and mostly calm all summer, go to any town located here, like Bay City, between the thumb and the index finger.
Last week, I went “Up North.” for a quick getaway. We stayed at a lovely Inn in Leland, on the Leeelanau peninsula. That’s here, in the pinky:
While up in the pinky, we went on a hike in one of the last remaining Cedar forests in North America. On the trail, we met an older woman who lives in the thumb, near Port Huron
We stayed at a wonderful place called the Whale back Inn, named so because the area where it is situated, when viewed from Lake Michigan looks like….
yes, you get it.
The grounds of the Inn overlooked a pristine and inviting lake (of course it did, we are in MICHIGAN!). There, we met native Michiganders now living in Palo Alto, Calif. (I don’t know what body part California looks like.) They have relatives who farm land in the center of the palm, right between the fate and life lines.
Finally, a guy I met in synagogue the other day held up his palm and said he grew up around Benton Harbor, and that’s right here, at the heel of the palm.
All this palm reading and thinking got me thinking about a country famously known for its shape:
If you travel in Italy and converse with Italians, do they locate their cities of origin on “the boot?” Do they point to their knees, heel or toe when asked where they are from?
Or, what about New York, my home state? Sure, New York has the Big Apple, but what is it shaped like? My best bet, if I had to make a hand shape for New York, it would look like the Vulcan hand salute. Rotated. And reversed.
Or, or, as my hand model – his hand getting tired from twisting from these poses and working for me for 20 minutes -said maybe we should just leave the hand symbol for New York at this:
One thing I’m learning fast about Michigan is that it is full of lakes. And I’m not talking about the big ones, like Lake Michigan or Lake Huron.
In West Bloomfield alone – that’s my new hometown – 12 percent of the entire township of 31 square miles is water. From my own experiences, while driving around and getting my bearings accompanied by my new best friend – my GARMIN GPS system – most roads ride alongside a body of blue.
Now, most of these lakes in my new home town are private – meaning, any long-lasting view of a lake is obscured by these incredibly huge lakefront mansions. So when the common folk like me want to see a lake, we go to a public park, one of many in Michigan’s vast park system.
(Don’t worry, people, I’m getting to the eyeglasses part).
This weekend, only our second in town, we ventured to Proud Lake, a state park with hiking, canoeing, and swimming.
We came to this lovely swimming hole along the Huron River. Others who kayaked and canoed stopped here to take a break and swim. Teens and tweens frolicked in the gentle current.
We were having a great time until….
A woman in her late forties in a fuchsia printed bathing suit drinking out of a metal Coors canister on a dock, in spite of the “alcoholic beverages prohibited” sign, summoned me.
“Excuse me… can you get…”
And here I am thinking she was pointing to the teen in the leopard bathing suit behind me, thinking it was her daughter.
“Oh sure,” I willingly replied, tapping the girl on the shoulder.
But it wasn’t the teen she wanted. She wanted my husband.
This was getting interesting. i told you it was getting interesting.
“Hey, I may come off as very bold
or very drunk
but I have to tell you, those sunglasses have to go. And I mean this in the kindest way. But there are all sorts of new eyewear technology, I mean, there are transition lenses, and magnetic sunglasses that snap on to your lenses…. but those sunglasses – what are they COCOONS?? They are really ridiculous and geeky, sorry just sayin’ as I work in sales for an eyeglasses store in Ann Arbor.”
Now, I’m standing there; chest deep in the Huron River, just taking this all in. A woman, who we never met before, who knows us from – NOWHERE – is sipping a beer insulting my husband’s choice in sunglasses.
The inner Staten Island girl in me would immediately retort:
“Yo BITCH! Who the FUCK do you think you are disrespecting my MAN and his dorky sunglasses? Step off that dock I’ll drag your ass under!”
But that was never me. But many an Island girl would have spoken like that, really.
I did say to her “Gee, WOW! you do have a lot of nerve, and yes, maybe his glasses are dorky but he is a GOOD man!”
I did, and I can’t believe I did, stand there in the water and make chit-chat with her for about 10 more minutes before I swam away, to learn that she was just this dumb, racist white trash woman who in no way reflected most of the good people I am so far meeting in Michigan.
In the end, I did deep down inside agree that those sunglasses are a bit dorky. But what’s it to her? The man behind those sunglasses is the man I love.
In the end, I later apologized to my husband for not rightly defending his honor and his right to wear dorky sunglasses.
In the end, eyeglass saleswoman on the shore had her canister of Coors taken away from her by an interceding park ranger.
In the end, I came away with a funny blog post to share with you.