You’re standing at the corner of Main and Liberty streets in downtown Ann Arbor. An out-of-towner shows you his bleeding hands and asks, “Is there any place around here I can buy a Band-Aid?” The Chronicle had an answer. For readers who’d like see how their own answers might match up, it’s left to the end of this article.
What trauma led to the blood on Rick Hale’s hands? He’d spent the previous hour pounding out improvised rhythms on his djembe just outside the Parthenon restaurant.
Hale lives in Wayne, but attends school in East Lansing at Michigan State University, where he’s now a creative writing major after switching from jazz. He now gets his music fix by playing every kind of drum he can find. The djembe he found under the Christmas tree this year. Well, not exactly under the tree – his mom bought it for him on eBay. It wasn’t a competitive auciton, because the seller had four drums, in different colors, and she exercised the “buy it now” option.
Hale said that on average when he plays on the street it works out to an hourly wage of around $5. This was the second time he’d played in Ann Arbor. The first time was the previous day, New Year’s Day, and Hale said comparatively, it was pretty dead downtown. He’d had better luck on the second try. During the 10 minutes The Chronicle spent listening to Hale pound out a rhythm, we saw three people throw some cash his way.
None of the three people we saw contribute to Hale’s cause seemed perturbed by the irony of a drummer using a guitar case as a receptacle for their dollar bills.
Back to our question: Where can you buy Band-Aids in downtown Ann Arbor? On Christmas Eve, we’d seen a pregnancy test on the shelf at the BP gas station on the southwest corner of Main and William. Based on that, we figured they’d probably have Band-Aids, too. So that’s where we directed Hale.