*Initially published on The Black Sheep (http://theblacksheeponline.com/michigan-state/7-hells-okemos-michigan)
Okemos compellingly embodies emotional turmoil, with its conflicting small-town layout and rapidly rising property value. Try not to be thrown by the delightful folksy exterior of its many suburban subdivisions: Okemos is a frothing, sloppy wrestling ring of steep upper-class values and Get Out (2017)-style social fronting. Spread across this curious Michigan landscape are seven nuggets of hell, each bearing its dollar-infused essence.
7.) Jolly Road:
Jolly Road is the most apt describer of Okemos, displaying its tiny chain stores, fully functional farms, single story houses, and mansion suburbs. It’s likely the only place you’ll see a southern-plantation style mega home with its own horse stable placed next door to a converted trailer, a visual poem that both encapsulates the sweeping majesty of Americana and makes you question how the fuck resources could be distributed with such inequity.
6.) Ember Oaks:
One of Okemos’ most recent mansion suburbs, this money cluster was erected and populated faster than two married lawyer/doctors could hire a housekeeper. When jogging through watch out for paranoid stares, as you duck and weave through an unending maze of Cadillacs and Mercedes’, and fire-causing lightning strikes, as apparently God himself can’t stand such wealth concentration.
5.) Dobie Road:
Life in the Midwest proves that terribly maintained roads are the foundation of any small town, and Dobie Road is no exception. Rife with gasp-inducing potholes, the street exists in a nebulous purgatory of government funding, ensuring any complaints to financial offices will prove Beckett-style futile.
4.) Meridian Mall:
Ah, the great nexus of Okemos’ bizarre socioeconomic mix. Feast your eyes on a rotating turnstile of single mothers with seven children in tow, goth high schoolers riddled with piercings, and middle school children sporting fresh polos, blinding white sneakers, and immaculately clean sunglasses. Aural sensitivity is key when navigating Meridian Mall, as the decibel level of any given group’s laughter is directly proportional to its wealth.
3.) The Intersection of Jolly Road and Okemos Road:
Every year Okemos folk wait with baited breath for fresh collisions occurring on the civil engineering nightmare that is Jolly and Okemos. Placed mere hundreds of feet away from an I-96 exit and replete restaurants, gas stations, and a Holiday Inn, your chances of making that left turn without a dent are slim to none.
Frequented by Michigan State students, yuppie families, and all shades around and in between, the Okemos Meijer is a chaotic social equalizer, bustling with bodies on the weekends and proving that regardless of upbringing, it’s still challenging to maneuver a cart upstream a river of tired faces.
1.) Okemos High School:
OHS is the crown jewel of Okemos: public enough to service all stars and stripes with a quality education, yet rich enough to house highly competitive AP classes and preposterous arts programs. Throw into the mix your fair share of sex scandals, children in the running for Mr. Peanut-level snobbery, and perfunctory yet deceptive liberalism, and you’ve got yourself the zesty bummer-of-a-melting-pot that is Okemos High School.
If you’re on the lookout for a rich town problematically named for American Indian tribes, look no further than Okemos, Michigan. Stop by and enjoy some greasy Applebee’s favorites, a recently built Whole Foods, and a giant marching band exercising its corn-fed free speech in sporting racist caricatures.