Monday, July 24, 2006

"Danger" in Detroit

DETROIT -- We thought it would only take a minute. Famous last words.

My pal David Romas is the information officer for the dean of the fine arts college at Wayne State University here in Motown. (He's also the world's biggest "Magnum, p.i." fan, but that's another story for another day.)

Driving back from the Lugnuts game yesterday, David says he needs to run by his office to send a file to a printer who's processing a job for the college. That's cool. We're on vacation. No hurries, no worries.

We drive downtown. We pass an entire car bumper, laying casually in the middle of the road.

"This is Detroit," David says. "There's no telling what you're going to see."

We park and walk across Wayne State's quaint campus. A group of school-aged children are congregated in front of one of the buildings. The young males are playing football, the girls gathered in groups, talking.

We arrive at David's building. Ooops. A loud noise is going off inside the building. It's the alarm!

Dave calls the cops. They show up a minute later.

Officer Kelly asks Dave a few questions. She and a backup officer case the joint. We mill around outside.

A few minutes later, they return, grinning.

"It's OK," they tell David. "We'll leave you alone with your boogieman."

The other officer drives off, but Officer Kelly lingers. She's young, tan, with a friendly smile. She says she went to the Tigers game on Saturday. But not to watch the best team in baseball.

"I went to work on my tan."

We laugh. She tells us she likes her job. Says she never gives parking tickets because she remembers what it was like to be a student -- rushing to class and arriving late.

Officer Kelly says she was disappointed that the opera singing vendor from Comerica Park wasn't there on Saturday.

"He was on David Letterman and everything. Kind of a bummer."

She leaves and Dave heads up to his office to take care of the file. A 10 minute trip has taken us an hour.

Somehow it seems fitting.

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