Cleveland sucks. There is nothing to do here. It’s depressing. Blah blah blah. I heard it from yet another long time resident how much better life would be elsewhere just anywhere but Cleveland. You see there is nothing to do in Cleveland. Nothing at all. It’s boring. I hate it because… honestly fill in the blank. I guess I hate some of the potholes and I guess there are some small little things that annoy me but to some I think it has been bred into the genes to blame the depression and your unsatisfactory existence on the city you live in. I would imagine that there are self loathing city haters in every major city in the world. The traffic and smog in LA, the crime of Detroit, the Republicans of Texas. Okay, the last one was a valid bitch I guess.
The problem isn’t the city though. No, not at all. The problem is that person. If you can’t find something fun to do, or something different to do you seriously aren’t looking at all. I will be the first to admit I was on the city hate bandwagon. Yep, Mr. 5-2 would bitch about the city in times past. You know where I did it? I did it from one of two bar stools that I would plant my ass at and drink whatever was wet and cheap. I went to 2 or maybe 3 bars on a regular basis, hung out with friends, watch whatever sporting event was on and go home. It was a pattern of “I don’t give a shit”. Going anywhere outside of the norm or out of my comfort zone would “suck balls”. I was a bar introvert. I liked my Cheers Norm like status at the local watering hole. Anything outside of my cage was weird, or different and obviously sucked. So, yeah folks I was just like the ones I speak of now.
Don’t get me wrong though there are still places I won’t frequent. I would rather have my testicles pounded with a mallet over going to the West 6th area. It’s not so much the bars or restaurants because I think there is some real cool stuff out that way. It is because of the people. These are the haunts of the Cleveland self loather. It’s Disneyland for the 21 and a day crowd and the actors and actresses pretending they are not lower middle class living a paycheck to paycheck life. Cleveland is not filled with the well to do socialites of the Hampton’s party scene. It’s filled with hard working sons and daughters of mostly blue collar parents. That just isn’t sexy though.
I grew up in what was the most affluent suburbs in Cleveland in the 70′s and 80′s. Yep, I was born and raised in Bay Village. If you had money during that time you lived in Bay Village. If you lived in Bay Village you were some wealthy elitist cult member. I have news for you. We were lower middle class. I just had parents that wanted the best for their kids. We had a small house on Lake Road. A 3 bedroom ranch that has since been torn down to make way for a mini McMansion that barely fits on what was once a nice yard. My parents both worked and struggled to afford that luxury for us. I was driven to the zoo on a field trip in 1st grade in a stretch limo. That, is a true story. At the time our family car was a piece of shit Plymouth Volare. However others in the Village were much more well off.
Things aren’t always as they seem I guess and as much as I feel larger cities like LA, Chicago, or New York are great I implore those who hate Cleveland so much to move to one of these utopias. You’re going to quickly find it’s not the city, it’s you. You have the freedom to be miserable in any state in the country as a matter of fact. Just don’t go bad mouthing an entire city because you can’t find what you are looking for without leaving your backyard. Sometimes you just have to go out and seek what you are looking for. It’s not going to come to you saying please pick me! Pick me! Take off the blinders of suckdom for one minute and see what there is out there. No one wants to hear your broken record of self pity. You own your misery, leave me the fuck out of it.
If the past 24 hours (ok maybe more like 28 hours) I went to the Grog Shop for a comedy show. The Grog has bands pretty much every single day of the week or something going on. I am sure out of 365 days out of the year that every band, comedian or other doesn’t suck. Fine, go to the Beachland or Happy Dog ,or Peabody’s or any of the other 50 venues that hosts national and local talent. Oh, that all sucks too? Okay, this morning (in that 24 hours) I went to the Police Memorial Parade downtown. I saw marching bands, horses, and your standard parade fanfare. But 52, there isn’t a parade every day. Okay, cool after that I went to the Rock Hall. But 52 the Rock Hall sucks and is too expensive. Okay, well I pay $75 a year for a membership and can go any time I want. You don’t have $75 (or $50 for a solo membership) to pay for that? The Rock Hall sucks, is an argument that will never be won against me. If you can’t find something at the Rock Hall to check out you are an idiot.
Okay, scratch the Rock Hall, after the Rock Hall we went for Pho at Minh Anh. Surely you can’t bitch about the food scene in Cleveland. You have to eat right? I mean we have Michael Symon for crying out loud. We have tons of interesting restaurants in the city that cater to every ethnicity, creed and culture. Surely the food is awesome right? No, okay cool food scene here sucks too. Well for Happy Hour we went to the Flying Monkey in Tremont for a cool book swap thing. I met people I never would have met before and got a new book to read. I met one of the pioneers of the Cash Mob craze Andrew Samtoy and chatted with a former ballet dancer in the 70′s and talked about his life and how much he loves the city. Okay, books and literature suck too. I capped off the night at the record release party for Roosavelt and saw Don Dixon open for them at the House of Blues.
Cleveland sucks and there is nothing to do however in the last 24 hours (give or take a couple) I saw 2 comedians, 2 bands, a parade, visited the Rock hall, and ate Vietnamese food. Throw Thursday in the mix and you can put Sokowlowski’s in there too because that was lunch. Everywhere I went was about 20 minutes from my front door. I was never stuck in traffic for more than 2 minutes. I was never raped, mugged or murdered. The river never caught fire and I am still alive unscathed and unharmed. The grand total spent? Maybe a hundred bucks and change. Is Cleveland the problem really? I think the problem might be you. I can’t wait for you to leave this shit hole either. One last question though. Can I help you pack?