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January 26, 1975 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1975-01-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

laura berman
howard brick
contributing editors:
dan borus



page four - books
page five - going


six - the week

mary long
Number 15 Page Three January
__________,:.~~z.::.: . M'q.b..:FEATUP

y 26, 1975



Donuts: A

selfencosed society
begins after midnight
It is a quiet place where people come out of the cold,
stamp the snow off their boots, and gruffly order coffee
while they rivet their eyes to some interesting spot on the
formica. But an extrovert like Big Alcan draw their atten-
tion from the countertop and make a late night stop at
Dunkin' Donuts into a special event.

A SECOND CUP of coffee costs a
dime. If it didn't, there would
be more people here, under the
glare of fluorescent light, downing
free refills into the wee hours of
the morning.
Most customers come strictly to
do business. They stride straight to
the counter, point out a dozen do-
nuts, take their pink and white
bags in hand, pay the slow-eyed
employes and leave. It is another
sort of person, though, who sits
down and stays for a while.
These are the people who work
nights or can't sleep or need to see
other faces because they are tired
of being alone. They stop here late
at night, the one place on Main
Street which is still lit and still
They form a subculture of sorts.
They arrive so late that the donuts
have outlived their shelf life and
these are only five varieties left,
and they park themselves at the
counter, slowly sipping coffee and
leafing through newspapers no
fresher than the donuts they
munch on.
IT IS a quiet place where people
come in and stamp the snow
off their boots, glancing furtively
for a seat not too close to anyone
else's. When the outside door opens,
eyes along the counter glance up,
then quickly revert to unseeing
stares. Dunkin' Donuts is a little
like an elevator; it's uncomfort-
able to talk even to your best
friends once you're inside.
It's already a bit past midnight
this evening and there are only a
few people silently munching at
the counter, their faces immobile.
their eyes riveted to some interest-

ing spot on the formica. Sharon,
the waitress who works the mid-
night shift, already looks tired.
Someone asks for change and she
goes through a series of motions
with the cash register, finally
shaking her head without smiling,
staring at the register.
"It doesn't work that way," she
says slowly. ."It just doesn't work
that way."
A tall curly-haired young man
is nervously chewing a strawberry
donut and stirring coffee with his
index finger when he suddenly
leaps up and addresses a young wo-
man at the counter.

duces himself to Linda, the wo-
man in the hat, as Big Al. Then he
springs into action, greeting a new
customer at the door: 'Good eve-
ning, sir.' Ralph, a ,cabdriver, en-
ters and smiles wanly. It's been a
long day for him and he is tired
after working two jobs - eight
hours as a stock chaser for the Uni-
versity, another five hours driving
a Veteran's cab.
Ralph finally decides that what-
ever Big Al is doing, it's more in-
teresting that a silent cup of cof-
fee. He introduces himself and Big
Al, always one step ahead, leaps up.
"I'm buying," he calls to the wait-
ress. "I'm buying donuts for every-
one who comes in here."
Newspapers rustle, a few sleepy
looking men in the corner look up,
the waitress goes to get Ralph's do-
nut, and Big Al laps. up the atten-
tion. Turning to a pudgy youth in
a green beret who is either a Boy
Scout or a wasted member of that
memorable Vietnam troop, but who
certainly looks as if he is on home
soil, Big Al fires off the standard
question: "Are you an American?"
"VERY MUCH SO." The answer
comes in a slow drawl tinged
with a threatening inflection. Big
Al doesn't back off but instead in-
troduces his ever-widening group
of friends.
"Some people call me 'Cowboy'
and some people call me Paul,"
says the Green Beret, who seems to
be no Boy Scout at all.
It is almost one a.m. when an in-
tense - looking, dark-haired young
man wanders in. He too has just
gotten off work, and he carries a
book, Fear of Flying, which almost
immediately becomes the topic of
conversation. His name is Richard
and he had been driving up Main

Street after leaving work. If the
light turned red, he decided, he
would turn his car around and get
a donut. "Sure enough, it turned
red," says Richard. "So here I am."
Richard needs no prompting. He
is friendly and obviously a little
lonely and he talks about his job-
building hydraulic cylinders -

kinds in here. Last year a guy
came in, ordered a dozen donuts
and walked outside to take his
clothes off. He sat in the flowers
outside the window-just eating
donuts, naked."
All types, Rob says, yet sudden-
ly the tight group finds it has
much in common.

"We get all kinds in here," says Rob, the
store's owner. "Last year a guy came in, or-
dered a dozen donuts, and then walked out-

side and took his clothes off.

He sat in the

flowers outside the window-just eating do-
nuts, naked."
:4:..:. - :::::::::::::::::::::::::::si~s::si:si:::.*.*.*. *.*.**:::dss.*:.*::*.*.*.~mis.***. .m ~ m a

Daily Photo by STEVE KAGAN
All the people here are now will-
ing to talk about their lives:
Richard talks about his days in
Vietnam, and his aunt who is de-
scended from Jesse James and who
called upon the famous outlaw's
spirit to watch over Richard.
Linda, who has been laughing
and avoiding serious conversation,
says she is going to Alaska this
summer to be a cold water deep
sea diver for an archaeological ex-
pedition. There is excitement in
her voice and she looks hurt when
no oneasksuabout it, but no one'is
listening much now; rather they're
using these late night minutes to
spill out thoughts they have been
holding in.
RALPH, who says he drives a cab
R because he likes meeting peo-
ple, is lost in a reminiscence about
his most famous "fares" - Van
Patrick the announcer, and Rocky
Colavito. "But those were in my
Detroit- days," he says. "I had to
leave there when it got too rough."
Everyone is smoking cigarettes,
drinking yet another ten cent cup
of coffee, and telling their life
.stories. Linda X complains about
the tips at Schulers and Big Al
whips out his checkbook. He pre-
sents Linda with a check for $100,-
000 and signs it Gerald R. Ford.
Linda smiles appreciatively. Ralph
takes another sip of coffee.
"IT'S GREAT to be alive," says
Richard, wiping a crumb off
his chin. "It's great to be alive, to
be in America, to be in Ann Ar-
bor, and, especially, to be at this

"Hey, are you an American?" he
demands in a loud but good-natur-
ed tone. The woman, in a floppy
hat and tightly belted coat, looks
up and admits she is.
"So am I," says her interroga-
"Amazing," she says.
"Yeah, I'm glad," he says smil-
ing. "I don't like foreigners." He
looks about suspiciously in the cor-
ners, under the counters.

animatedly. He says he can turn
out one an hour, depending on how
many cups of coffee he drinks and
how many times he washes his
hands. He likes the work and does-
n't mind the hours (late afternoon
until midnight) and he isn't par-
ticularly disturbed that his BA
from Eastern Michigan isn't being
put to use. "I don't really give a
damn about it." he says, "because
I am happy and having a good
"Only the best people are out at
midnight," Richard declares and
the group at the counter nods in
"I don't know," says Rob, the
store owner, suddenly appearing
from the back room. "We get all

ANDNOW IT seems that Linda.
Is another college graduate
with a menial job; she doesn't in-
tend to be a waitress at Schuler's
for the rest of her life, she says,
but there is no hurry to find a bet-
ter job. Her degree is in sociology,
after all. What can you expect?
Big Al admits he too has just
graduated from college. "I am
proud to say that I can be counted
among the nation's unemployed,"
he says. "The great thing about an
eight percent unemployment rate
is that over 90 percent of the peo-
ple are still employed. Only prob-
lem is I'm not one of them."
New everyone is talking at once.
All the initial barriers to talk have
broken down and it is too late to

A Prankster gets off'
the bus in Ann Arbor

TO HEAR Pilot Program teacher
Norman L. Hartweg tell it, he
made the 1965 trip from Los Ange-
les to the Merry Prankster com-
pound at La Honda, California, be-
cause he wanted to sniff out chan-
ges in the wind. In the next eight
months he got a snoutful.
The Pranksters were the Sixties'
",do-your-own-thing" kids, a c i d
heads disdaining the conventional
American frame of reference for
the doors beyond. They were the
ones Tom Wolfe wrote about in
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,
Ken Kesey's people.
Fresh from a cross-continent
jaunt in a Day Glo painted school
bus replete with all the hallucino-
gens then known to mankind, the
pranksters had settled, for the time
hniver t Inof in fa V m.frni

author Kesey, best known in liter-
ary circles for his immediately
successful One Flew Over the Cuc-
koo's Nest and the tremendously
ambitious Sometimes a Great No-
tion. Kesey, armed with both his
Oregon serenity and his adventur-
ous searching spirit, served as
chief choreographer for the Prank-
sters, directing the pranks and the
flow of events.
Within the next year, Kesey
would be in exile in Mexico. The
Pranksters and their spiritual de-
scendants, the Flower Children,
would be blazoned across the cov-
ers of 'Time' and 'Life', sending a
chill down the spines of Mom and
Dad and dreams of two-car ga-
rages. Visions of french - fried
brains would populate America's
media. Behind them the Prank-
cf - A 1 , .-. r n l o niprf "A nir

ted to analysis and rationality de-
cide to join forces with a band
dedicated to eradicating limits,
boundaries, and definitions?
"IT WAS EXCITING, and so to-
tally different from anything
I had ever donc before," Hartweg
recalls from his fourth-floor Alice
Lloyd dorm room where he holds
forth as a Resident Fellow in Phi-
losophy in the Pilot Program.
Dropping everything, floating to
a new life or adventure is typical
Hartweg fare. Sitting in a room
cluttered with collections of an
eclectic past - Hog Farm posters,
recent Rolling Stones, books by
Sartre and Camus, childhood pic-
tures - the 40 year old Hartweg
speaks infectiously. A compactly-
built man with long black and grey
hair tightly Dulled back in a hint

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