A short list of notes on the weekend trip to the Cleve! (We can call it that now, because’n we’re regulars!)…
1. Breezewood, PA teaches us that outlet malls and bizarre interstate connectors go hand in hand! The rest of life on the Turnpike – once you get on I-76 – is incredibly boring. With not much visual stimulus around, save the glorious views of farms and dilapidated signs advertising long gone hotels and still-operating dairy farms within their town borders, it is a test for the oustiders – a challenge of endurance against the hypnosis of redundancy.
2. The hills of Pennsylvania, once entering the Turnpike may be constructed of nothing but carefully groomed manure. The introducing odor at the very least might compel driver’s to wonder what they stepped in and agonize over how much they may have dragged in the car. Relax… it’s only Pennsylvania!
3. The Midwest desolation of Cleveland is getting harder to ignore, even to the occasional visitor. Our connection live in Shaker Heights, just off the Square, and with the appearance of booming, but provincial commercialism, all looks well. Until you notice that every third mansion of Old Money Cleveland is up for sale and that the increasingly abandoned Downtown area is eerily starting to resemble Gary, Indiana. The only thing missing is that weird Trump Casino and numerous fast food joints named after Coney Island. Where will these cities be in another ten years when the cause of urban flight is pure boredom? I wondered this when we were told there was a 2 1/2 hour wait for a lane at the bowling alley. It was only one of two entertainment hot spots lit up Downtown on that Saturday night.
Indianapolis could be slated for the same fate if Eli Lilly, pharmaceutical giant and the largest employer in the area, were ever to do something stupid, especially litigation-wise that would force the company to initiate too many local layoffs. But Indianapolis, unlike Cleveland, didn’t invest in a weird busline (evidence of kickbacks?) to revitalize the city. It relied on the revenue generated from a place where 90% of the businesses are restaurant and cafes. How is Cleveland one of the top five of fattest cities?
4. I am baffled that there is a commercial advertising discounted catheters for home use as though the white coated man in the stethescope necklace was selling vacuum cleaners or kitchen aid products. They go up your naughties!
5. 90’s Trivial Pursuit technology questions appear to revolve largely around Microsoft. I guess Grunge was not really the decade’s defining icon.
6. I have no idea how much Alpaca’s are selling for, but given the ease that one at the Shaker Square Farmer’s Market seemed to pose for pictures, it could be a lucrative side-business – renting it out for children’s birthday parties, weddings and Bahtmizvah’s, or inviting people to have their picture taken with a real live Alpaca! The only drawback is all the spitting and the inability to crate train the animal.
7. Boba Beer could happen! Patent pending…
8. Phil was in slot machine and Epic Buffet kind of mood as we drove back to the Greenbelt (working on a cooler variation of that one!). I made four bucks and didn’t suffer a food coma and my car, despite the novelty of a flickering check engine light (was the car just confused? Cranky?), the Geek Machine is still surviving. Though, she’s getting wary of these road trips.
For Ali and Mark, a dedication: Vulture Whale’s “Tote It To Cleveland!” Thanks for a fine weekend, kids!