On an uncharacteristically warm Friday morning in late April, I started sweating through my shirt. For months I’d been waiting for a single warm day, the faintest hint of summer – there was hardly a spring this year – when I wouldn’t have to don my jacket, sweater, and long-sleeved shirt to shuffle against the brutally chilly winds. Of course, the perfect day coincided with the day Panrimo was relocating offices. I’d considered this a positive sign, but it’s harder to appreciate the symbolism when you’re out of breath and hardly just begun. And when you’re hauling shelves, desks, bookcases, sofas, chairs, and an assortment of odds and ends up and down a flight of stairs, you’d be surprised how quickly you can turn against great weather.
I stood in front of the ventilation system, letting the flow of air cool me for a few blissful seconds before resuming the Sisyphean task before me. Whenever we finished packing something, it seemed another item unearthed itself. Back and forth, up and down, with a few breaks in front of the vents for an artificial breeze. After a few hours, the once warm and cozy office had become cool husk. While I welcomed the temperature, the starkness was a touch unsettling.
Over the course of the day, my sentiments about the perfect weather varied. After setting the last piece in the back of the van, the sun remained a reminder of the unpacking to come. The sweltering heat that blasted from the door as I got into my car didn’t exactly help. But driving down the freeway with the sun shining and a cool breeze coming through the windows raised my spirits and lowered my body temperature. Watching the Detroit skyline drift into view, with the Renaissance Center glittering alongside the Detroit River, sparked genuine excitement.
Surveying the empty space upon arrival, we quickly mapped a new layout and got to work. Unpacking took half the time, or at least it seemed so. With each item unloaded, my enthusiasm sparked. Every few minutes, I’d spare a second to glance at the Renaissance Center towering above the city. Across the river, Windsor bustled along, another country within a stones throw. The sun still beat down, but the work felt easier. When we finished, the warmth felt like a reward instead of an opponent. It felt like a greeting, or perhaps an introduction.
May marks the beginning of an exciting time at Panrimo: new office, new programs, and new perspectives. It’s time for summer in the city, whichever city that may be. Bonjour, Detroit!