December 20, 2013


If an individual owned a work of art valued at $100 million and could not pay personal debt of that same amount, we would expect that person to sell the artwork  in order to compensate those lenders that had extended credit.

Why then, as Detroit declares bankruptcy, do they think city-owned artwork valued at $1 billion plus should not be used to offset the debt?

I’m struggling to show compassion for the circumstances in which Detroit finds itself but after a century of hubris from the auto industry so closely allied with the city, I am finding it difficult to be understanding and sympathetic.

I really cannot erase the fact that in my 25 years in the incentive world, there was no client I disliked more than those in Detroit.  So try as I might, there is a little nagging voice within me crying “They deserve what they are getting”.

Unfortunately, the execs of that industry cleaned up and then escaped with the loot…leaving the workers holding the bag…and they do not deserve what Detroit has become.


December 30 marks a year since I sold my car and began my experiment to see how ready Minneapolis was for the future…and how adaptable I was to the same!

There has been a few hitches over the year, but until December arrived, I would say it’s mostly been a pleasant surprise.  Yes, I’ve made some adjustments; yes, I’ve even regretted not having a car a time or two.  But mostly, it’s been good.

Yes, I can get where I want to go without owning a car.  Yes, I can even travel back and forth to Mayo and to see my family relatively easily.  Yes, sometimes I wish I had a car; but I make do.

The biggest “surprise” is that I am losing touch with a friend, but had I thought about it, I would have anticipated it, as it’s a friendship that grew and was nurtured around her kitchen table.  I have always gone there-no matter where “there” was.  And now, “there” is hard to get to. I unreasonably expected perhaps that the life change could be accommodated if we tried, but I’ve found that is easier said than done and I am saddened by that.

And, the best/worst thing I can attribute to the experiment?  Well, I expect most people know me for my “independence”.  You know, that trait also known as “I can do it myself” stubbornness?  I definitely have had to mellow out a little on that stance! 

Then December arrived and it’s been brutal!  The weather in particular has often been “character-building” to say the least.  The days I have returned home after another painful fall, or with feet I could not “feel” and burning pain in other areas of exposed skin, frankly, I questioned my sanity!  Then I remember, oh yes, living downtown, it cost me $2 a MILE to drive my car …that is why it is no more.

This month, I feel like a hermit.  December being the darkest month, I’ve cancelled more evening outings than I have attended – just because I am not sure of how safe (or better said, “scared”) I might be standing at unfamiliar bus stops waiting to transfer to another bus!

But as I reflect on it, even December would have been manageable had I received the expected payments from our current client project.  With money would have come flexibility to opt to reserve an Hour Car to retrieve the Christmas Tree and decorations; and I could have rented a car to take me to Rochester to get new stents and visit family. But alas, no money has made this a very challenging time.

Today it’s haircut day and I am dreading –not the bus ride to Yorktown, but he walk back from there to Southdale to catch a bus back downtown. Should I take my ”crutch” disguised as a walking stick?  Where can I stop to get cash for a gratuity for Sue? 

It’s December  I am sad to be missing Dave and Sue and an early Christmas celebration…along with my Christmas tree and my friend.

Nevertheless, one way or another I will brave the -8 degrees projected for Monday as I walk to the train to get to the airport to catch a shuttle that will take me home…and I will end the year with gratitude to Terry Linskey, and Matthew; JJ, Barb Hollister, and Kim Granger who often have been there with “wheels” so I can say…

What?  No car?  Not to worry; it’s a piece of cake!


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