Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Strange Little Patterns

Just this morning on my ride in to work (I stayed over in the suburbs last night, which is where my girlfriend lives) I became aware of a weird pattern that apparently dominated my weekend without my even noticing it.

We went up to the north woods of Wisconsin for the weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July - we being me and my girlfriend Katie. Katie's family has a cabin there.

Anyway, we decided to get an audio book for our six and a half hour jaunt up to the top of Wisconsinland. We picked Middlesex, which is a Pulitzer Prize winner by a dude named Jeffrey Eugenides. Heady stuff for a guy used to listening to the sports radio and the rock music whenever I go anywhere, but Katie heard it was a good audio book and I probably needed a change of pace anyway.

The story is about a Greek family that comes to America in the 1920's and everything that led up to the birth of the narrator, who is a hermaphrodite. We didn't finish the audio book - it's seventeen CDs long - so I can't tell you how it ends but what we listened to was good.

We got through the first couple of CDs about the grandparents leaving Asia Minor by the time we made it up to the cabin.

The big town near their cabin has a bunch of gift shops, a book store, and a movie theatre. The movie theatre was showing Public Enemies, the new Johnny Depp movie about the infamous bank robber John Dillinger, which I saw and subsequently enjoyed.

While in town, Katie bought a couple of smart people magazines: Harpers, the Atlantic something or other, etc. Since I brought nothing to read for myself and neglected to get anything at the bookstore, I ended up stealing her magazines and reading them. One of the articles in Harpers compared Obama to President Hoover, who was the President at the time of the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression.

John Dillinger robbed banks during the Great Depression. People loved him for it because he was sticking it to the banks who were the recipients of Federal assistance at the time but who refused to restart lending practices and instead foreclosed on people's homes, farms, etc.

One of his big shootouts happened at the Little Bohemia lodge, which is in Wisconsin, in the North Woods, not far away from Katie's cabin. John Dillinger was gunned down outside of the Biograph theatre in Chicago a couple of blocks away from where I live in Chicago. They closed the street down last year and rebuilt the block surrounding the theatre as though it were 1934 to shoot those scenes for the movie.

Last night, on the ride home from Wisconsin, we heard the portion of the Middlesex audio books that dealt with the Great Depression, which the main characters experienced while living in Detroit, which is where my family is from and in whose suburbs I grew up. The narrator's grandfather made a living by rum running and operating a speakeasy; both of these were illegal during Prohibition, much like bank robbing which remains illegal.

So, three different facets of the trip dealing in some way with the Great Depression, while we are experiencing our own recession where the banks are receiving bailout money but aren't really passing that on to the general public, featuring three locations where I have either lived or spent significant amounts of time and of two counts of people resorting to a life of crime to get by.

I don't know if that means anything - other than something to think about on a long traffic-filled ride into work - but I just kind of though it weird how little patterns like that come up.

5 comments:

Mademoiselle Nessa said...

I think it means you should write the Pulitzer Prize winning tale of a bank-robbing, Greek-American hermaphrodite living during todays's recession. Grape Leaves of Wrath?

That, or I think it means you should resort to a life of crime to get by.

Mademoiselle Nessa said...

Also, thank you for this. I love life's weird little coincidental patterns like this.

Nat Topping said...

Grape Leaves of Wrath.

Awesome. +1 for Ness

Joe Janes said...

Clearly, you are destined for a life of crime.

JC Miller said...

You can't ignore this, Nat. You've done the research, now get the guns and a good getaway car.