When Charlene asked me to guest post for her, naturally I was excited at the chance. I have followed her blog for some 3 or 4 years now, so the opportunity to put my somewhat awkward and mostly eccentric fingerprint on it seemed like a pretty cool gig.
And then I asked if she had a topic that she’d like me to write about.
“What about what impresses you about Cle?”
Again, naturally, I jumped at the chance to ask her what in the hell she just texted to me. Our arguments are a strange combination of married couple, long-time friends, and sibling rivalry. I guess that goes back to the first time we met and I wrote “poop” in her notebook that she was trying to keep all nice and neat (keep in mind, it was a college class). But that’s just the kind of interaction I have come to know and appreciate from her.
However, I think I got the gist of the direction she was headed in. So with that, I am going to try to give my outsider’s impression of the things I have come to really like about the city she, and so many of you out there I’m sure, have come to be so proud of.
The first thing that I think really impressed me about Cleveland is the food. I love my food. And thanks to my dearly missed great-grandmother Ruthie, I have inherited a love for cooking for others. Charlene can attest to my cooking game. Yes, I actually call it that. I think that what’s even more impressive than the restaurants (which, I visited Lolita when I was last there and loved it), is the West Side Market and how you can get ANYTHING there. I felt almost obligated to try to come up with the most completely random food item I could think of, just in an attempt to find the one thing that place DIDN’T have. Sure, we have farmers’ markets here in Fort Wayne, but nothing even comes close to what the West Side Market has. Is that a product of being over 100 years old? Maybe, but I doubt it.
“Cooking Game” (everything purchased from WSM)
West Side Market
Speaking of things in the city to do and see though, I was and continue to be impressed with the Cleveland Museum of Art. I can’t lie, I think I like going there the most just so I can see Charlene’s face when I try to touch the art. Most of all though, the exhibits are always appealing to an art fan like myself and the updated atrium is absolutely gorgeous. The unfortunate thing is that I wasn’t able to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art, but hey, you can’t win them all I suppose. Aside from that, there’s Playhouse Square, where I have thoroughly enjoyed the Jump Back Ball. It’s such a cool place and the concept of the ball is pretty rad in itself.
I’m a Packer fan. Always have been, always will be. I know that Charlene has tried to convert me and most likely considered removing this section of my post, but I will say that the Cleveland Browns would definitely have a chance at being my second favorite team. If for no other reason than because of the dedication you fans have for your team, there’s a measure of respect that’s due. And who wouldn’t like tailgating with you guys? Oh, and you guys have a guy that dresses up as Macho Man Randy Savage. That in itself adds a ton of cool points to the experience.
The sports teams, delicious food, artistic, and otherwise cool aspects of the city notwithstanding; I think the attitude of Clevelanders is what I find the most intriguing and what draws me to want to come back again and again. It resonates with me deeply, mostly because it seems to me like it’s more of a “take it or leave it” attitude. I dig that, a lot. Being that we are in the Midwest, I think the hardworking attitude is pretty much a cultural universal, however I think that it’s something different in Cleveland.
You guys have a chip on your shoulder. Something to prove. Something to hit people in the face with and then ask them “What you wanna do?” And. I. Dig. That. That’s the kind of attitude that gets things done, not just talked about. I’m a native of Texas, so naturally I have somewhat of a chip on my shoulder as well, but it’s different. It’s more of a cocky, “you can’t out-Texas me” attitude. You Clevelanders are confident, and there is definitely a difference in the two terms. It’s the “Ohio Vs. The World” kind of mindset that I have the most respect for, because then you guys just go out and do it. Sadly, it’s something that I don’t see enough of around these parts, only in small doses. Attitudes, and people like that draw me in. I guess that’s why I always enjoy my time out there among you Clevelanders as much as I do.
Maybe I’ll see you around in the near future? The one thing though that I won’t be looking forward to, is that Lake Erie snow and cold. But hey, I think I can put up with that one thing in exchange for all the other awesome things your city has to offer.
Read more of Chris’ thoughts at his blog, The Pursuit of Somebodyness.