Ypsilanti, prison stories, parks, and socks

7/22/22

Today was a very pleasant day.

It was a bit hot and humid for my taste, but I guess that’s true for most of the continental US right now.

I slept later than I had intended, but it felt good to catch up on some much-needed rest.

After an oatmeal breakfast with local maple syrup and fresh strawberries, I headed out to the nearby town of Ypsilanti, mostly because my hosts had told me there was a nice bike path to get there, as well as a co-op in that town. (Those are two of my magic words!)

I found it to be indeed a pleasant bike path, mostly along the river.

I enjoyed a nice lunch, al fresco, from the co-op deli.

Then I turned right back around, to go to the Ann Arbor art fair. I wanted to see the PCAP event at 3:30, where formerly incarcerated people read aloud their poetry and prose, and sometimes also creative writings from other people who are currently incarcerated. There were about seven or eight performers, and I enjoyed all of them.

After that, I found a lush nearby park, and relaxed on a bench for a while.

I took the opportunity to call my mother, whose 80th birthday was today! I felt glad to be able to connect with her, despite our physical distance.

Then I made my way south of town—on the way back to my hosts’ place—to REI, to buy some new socks. I have been wearing my favorite brand and style of socks (Endura Coolmax, which for years I had to order from England) for well over a decade now. My thick toenails have kept poking holes in them, and I have darned these few pairs of socks for years, including these three or four pairs I have with me on this journey. I have been slowly coming to terms with the fact that they are becoming threadbare enough that I really should probably replace them. Sadly, though, that particular style is no longer available. I have been putting off buying new ones, because I am not confident that any other product can live up to these.

But at some point, we have to just take action. So I walked into REI at 8 pm—still light out!—and encountered a dizzying array of socks. I asked an employee for help, but then I ended up doing most of the talking, eventually talking myself into a new pair, with only a small amount of input from her.

These new ones look almost the same as my existing ones, and they are made from recycled plastic, so I feel good about that. (Wool is off the table for me as a vegan, and cotton is not practical since it can get wet and feel cold and miserable.) I will test them out soon, maybe tomorrow. If I like them, I should be able to easily get more, since there are REI stores in most major US cities.

I returned to my hosts’ place just after dark, in time to chat a bit before they turned in. I’ll turn in soon, too, and then tomorrow I’ll head north a bit, to my new hosts’ place. If the weather is good, I hope to also check out the arboretum.

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