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Wanna go to Gibraltar Trade Center with me?

Instead of going to see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy today, I went to Gibraltar Trade Center in Mt. Clemens. For those who are wondering, it's a big building with a lot of booths for individual vendors of stuff, especially close-outs and overstocks. I've heard this sort of thing called a "swap meet" – it's not a flea market, though they now allow flea market sellers outside the building. Inside it's all new stuff, though it's mostly the stuff you'll never see in a Macy's by any stretch. Its customers tend to be middle and working class folks, and it's good for people watching if you like that crowd.

It had been a while since I was there, and it's far enough away that it counts as a nice drive. I also wanted to visit some vendors there I like. So out I went, deciding to even have dinner there. I wouldn't recommend taking a date there for dinner, but it'll do in a pinch if you happen to already be there. After food, I got a Mountain Dew and started wandering. I also gathered enough material for about three Live Journal posts, so this entry might get a little long.

Dessert was a handfull of mini donuts from the Little Angel Donut Shop. The donuts are made right there and they're about the size of a half-dollar. You get six for $1.50, except the cashier can't count so you always get more than a half-dozen. They are so warm and good that you can almost forget what the doctor is going to say when you see him next and he weighs you.

Next stop was Pollywood Pet Shop. Puppies, kittens, bunnies, guinea pigs, finches, parakeets, and other parrot-sorts abound. Since it was pretty late in the day, all the birds were squawking. I watched the finches and the 'keets. Then I went back to the kittens and gave them skritches. They were so frickin' cute ... one of them was licking and chewing on my finger, except he or she was only about 4 weeks old and didn't have much power behind the chewing yet. I wanted to take at least a pair of them home, but restrained myself.

Sidebar: I know it's a pet shop. There are plenty of "better" places to obtain a pet: the Humane Society, for example. There are lots of pets that need rescuing. But these kittens and puppies in pet shops need rescuing too. I mean, who wants to be in a pet shop? The problem is, if the shop sells all their kittens and puppies, they'll get more, and the problems of pet shops continue. It's one of those ethical dilemma things. As I said, I didn't buy any pets, just skritched them.

On with the journey. Passing a few leathered scruffy bikers with their women, I made my way to Shar-Dan Leathers. I've shopped there for years, and I can say they've gotten plenty of my money and I've helped them grow to become one of the biggest shops in Gibraltar Trade Center. Their stock runs to biker leathers and mundane items like purses, hats, and belts – no fetish leathers (well, sometimes they have dog collars, but they think they're selling them to folks with big dogs). I just wandered through their shop for a few minutes looking at the pants, vests, and jackets. I sure don't need anything and I don't exactly have the cash for it, but I like to stop by. If nothing else, they sell a lot of motorcycle helmet stickers that I like reading through. Sayings like "My inner child is a mean little fucker" and "I'm so miserable without you, it's like having you here," and of course "Live to ride, ride to live."

Like I said, I've been going there for years and both Sharlene and Dan recognize me. They're good people, and take part in and sponsor biker events for charities. We didn't get to chat tonight; Dan was helping a lean, tall biker select a new pair of chaps. It was comfortable hanging out there for a little while, till I had to move on.

Which leads to another sidebar: Maybe it's surprising that I'm not a biker, though I guess the locals know that--after all, they've never seen me on a bike, huh? It's not like I haven't thought about it every summer for the last twenty years or so, however. I even got halfway through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's beginner course in 1994, but work pressure was pretty high that year and the stress spilled over into my taking the class so I dropped out. A few years ago, I "decided" that it wasn't going to happen for me and I would stop thinking about ever doing it. After all, at my age I don't bounce as well as I used to, especially where pavement is concerned, and beginners can count on bouncing once or twice. However, just because logic led me to decide to give motorcycling a pass, doesn't mean I still don't think about it, still don't look at every bike going down the road, still don't want to do it. So the one problem with hanging out at Shar-Dan Leathers was, as comfortable as it was, it just reawakened that sleeping beastie. I'm actually having enough problems reconciling myself to this life that I didn't quite count on leading, so wishing I was Mad Max or C.C. Ryder doesn't help.

Well (returning to our main story), I did not buy a bike, or even any more leather. I did manage to buy two coin folders so I can expand my penny and dime collections. That was a nice, safe purchase, huh? That closed out my night at Gibraltar, too. Soon I was back on the freeway in my little car, on my way to Java Hutt where I wrote up this incredibly long entry.

A couple of other observations about Gibraltar tonight: There are more and more empty holes in the floor layout. It must be hard to make a living there, or at least a partial living, since it's only open on weekends. The new trend in selling there seems to be knives and sharp pointy objects. There are now at least four shops selling swords, knives, and katanas. All you ninjas and Medieval warriors, take note.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 1st, 2005 04:18 am (UTC)
Biker Songdoggie who loves scritchin' kitties and his Mom & Pop shop doughnuts ... *SIGH* what a heart-warming confluence.

Y'know, you in a pair of black leather chaps and a rabbit fur loincloth ... what a crotch-kindling confluence ... "AHEM!" *calms self*

You really do help make the world a better place, Songdog.

May. 1st, 2005 04:30 am (UTC)
Thanks :-) Excuse me while I blush. I wonder if the chaps and rabbit skins aren't kind of a mixed metaphor... granted, maybe it works, I don't know yet.
May. 1st, 2005 04:34 am (UTC)
Try this on: brown distressed buffalo leather chaps with the rabbit fur loincloth. It'd damn sure work for me!

But then again, I've always been grateful that the package comes with the guy inside it. A winning combination.
May. 1st, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC)
*horsey grin*

Oh yes, chaps. And a leather vest with "Born to make song" on the back of it. No tattoo that says "Mom", though. I think it would either be a careful replica of a treasured guitar or maybe a stack of amps in flames. :)
May. 2nd, 2005 03:34 pm (UTC)
Maybe a big back-piece tattoo of a guy playing an acoustic guitar and the words "Born to be mild" somehwere. :-)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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