We returned to the vicinity of Ashley's to go shopping at a little knick-knack shop, one where bunny_hugger gets these adorable little figurines (though none this time) and she picked up a couple of cards. We also stopped in for coffee at a place working mightily to be a hip coffee shop, complete with accessories like a take-a-poem-leave-a-poem bulletin board as well as tables that have a curious little notch cut by one corner. I suggested it was maybe the record album cut-out. We also poked around in the Dawn Treader used book store, which was warm and pretty cozy and gave us the chance to pin down just when she started working at the bookstore she occasionally works at, since the Dawn Treader had one of the books which was inescapable when she first started working at the shop in Lansing. Although we marvelled at the very 70s-ness of many of the 70s books we didn't pick up anything, this time anyway.
All this was fun but the trouble is it took us to about the close of all the big shops in the area, and a couple hours before we could really want dinner, which threatened to leave us wandering around the city with nowhere to go. I thought of something: wouldn't Pinball Pete's be open? Or at least likely open later? Sure they were, and they even had something remarkable posted, signs inviting people to the new Lansing Pinball League. I so took it for granted that a pinball league made sense for Ann Arbor that I didn't even realize they meant, like, our Lansing until bunny_hugger repeated it. As best we can determine Ann Arbor hasn't got a pinball league (its players presumably go to the Detroit area meetups). But this, well, that's exciting to learn. (Pinball Pete's started in the Lansing area and expanded to Ann Arbor, which is why any pinball place in Ann Arbor would have anything to say about Lansing. More on this to come.)
While we worked out whether we'd be able to play in it at all --- their meetings are of course on class nights so bunny_hugger would have to come late --- we tried out various pinballs, including the Tron Legacy machine that's a great show but a dollar per play (so it had better be a great show). We also ran across an early 90s Quiz & Dragons game, in which you walk around a maze and defeat monsters by answering trivia questions which were probably easier in the early 90s when there'd be a chance of remembering something about the New Kids on the Block.
After one last pinball game we walked back across town to Sava's, the vegetarian restaurant we'd planned to finish at, and found that I'd made a horrible mistake in taking that one last game: the restaurant was minutes away from closing. That was just crushing to the whole birthday-observation spirit; bunny_hugger had been thinking of the cocktail she'd order for the past hour.
However ... now that we had a meal slot free, why not go to the Fleetwood Diner? I'd never been to its Ann Arbor mothership, though we've been to the Lansing descendant several times. We found it, thanks to bunny_hugger's brother having texted us the location, and discovered that its menu is very different from the Lansing outlet's (at least as of the last time we were there); notably, the master location has vegetarian burgers. bunny_hugger got one just as her brother had prescribed and found that, yes, it was indeed all that. Unexplained: how her brother, who gets out to Michigan for as many as eight days per year, knows the best vegetarian burgers to be had.
The diner's of the little tin shack model, the kind that depends for insulation on the band stickers people have put over the walls. It's also got one of those analog clocks with the hands turning the opposite direction for, I guess, style. I'd ordered something that came with eggs and asked how I wanted them cooked ... well, I wanted poached, but I know that ordering those can annoy the cook so I asked if he was willing. He thought a second and said, yeah, ``I can do 'em. I don't have to like 'em.'' That was worth an extra five percent on the tip, I figured. They were poached perfectly, too, to the point it felt unfair to spoil them by actually eating.
So with some restaurant plans dashed, an awfully good substitute found, and the best response to a poached egg request we'd ever heard there wasn't much else we could want for the Ann Arbor trip, and we got home not too long after midnight.
Trivia: Henry Ford II refused to fly the corporate 727 across the Atlantic, as it had only three engines, and he would fly across the ocean only on four-engine planes. Source: Ford: The Men And The Machine, Robert Lacey.
Currently Reading: Humboldt's Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey that Changed the Way We See the World, Gerard Helferich.