07 April 2008

The homeless gather behind St. Andrew’s Hall in Motor City and they never discriminate. They'll ask anyone for some spare change. Detroit is the only major U.S. city that actually looks south to Canada. Located just north of Ontario, the homeless who hang behind St. Andrew’s gladly accept donations in Canadian currency as well. I even came across a few loose Swiss francs and they took those, too. Not exactly sure how the coins made it back from Liechtenstein and into the cup holders of our van but it was just as well.

Bitter wind against my face I flipped up my collar stiff, exhaled into my chapped hands and walked deeper through Bricktown, then Greektown towards the Renaissance Center. I knew a bartender at the casino nearby who poured Southsides with a heavy hand and a tight lip. She was studying law at the University of Michigan and working towards his bar behind the bar. I'd sit there quizzing her on a stack of dog-eared 3x5 index cards while she poured an endless tumbler. It was fun having all the answers for once and feeling smarter than this bird. Years later we'd meet in Geneva; I was there on business, she was spending the summer traveling. We rented a Fiat and toured the Pennine Alps. We made it all the way to Mont Blanc Massif before we ran out of gas. Giovanni Agnelli not only made a mean automobile but was easily the most impeccably dressed man this side of Fred Astaire. Gianni gave me some tips I still employ to this day. He and the old head buyer from Barney's taught me everything I know about wearing a proper suit until it falls apart. Buying quality once and having it forever. Never buttoning your sleeves and letting the fabric fray where it may fray, so long as its bespoke and beautiful. I'd rather have something from Savile Row or something by William Fioravanti or Jon Green with a few frayed edges than something brand new from the 3 for $99 garage. So long as its classic, Made to Measure, English and woolen. Super 220 and up. Vicuna or cashmere with a touch of guanaco.

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