For those of you who don't live in Detroit, this weekend is the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise, an annual nuisance that crowds the main north-south drag with literally millions and millions of people admiring classic cars. Gas stations inflate their prices. Folks plan entire vacations around "the cruise." Today on a local radio show, callers were *showing off* about how lousy the mileage is on their muscle cars: "I get eight miles per gallon in my 'cuda." Excluding bars, local businesses on Woodward hate the cruise. You can't make left turns, parking lots are shut down (landowners rent out their lots to people who pay big bucks to breathe the fumes, I mean get good views of the cruise), and it takes an hour to drive a mile up the road...do the math, horrid for business.
I had lunch with a colleague yesterday (Toast in Ferndale...delicious!), who said, Bill you study working-class culture, this should be a great opportunity for you. Not so much. I can't get past the nuisance factor. The car becomes another consumer good that obscures class difference. The middle-management engineer comfortably affords the classic car. The line worker struggles to afford the same car, buys it soon after taking the assembly job, and scratches plans to go to school in a few years because of payments on said car. But, in the end, they've both got the car and they're out on Woodward showing it off.
The bottom line, I suppose, is that old cars don't interest me, but, hey, they give others pleasure, so have it! The fumes, the waste of gas, the fact that the oil companies must love this event, the near impossibility of getting from point A to point B...I'll admit that this weekend brings out my inner grump.
My Dream Cruise involvement? Tomorrow morning, I'll be joining folks from several local peace groups handing out literature advertising a 'Beat Joe Knollenberg' rally coming up at the end of August. The rally is part of a push by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq to target hawkish members of congress (like my own Rep., the aforementioned Knollenberg) for defeat in November. Get involved, peeps.