Becoming Cleveland

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The longer I spend in Cleveland, the more like Cleveland I be­come. This first man­i­fested it­self years ago, when I started ap­pend­ing “or what­ever” to the end of my con­ver­sa­tions. Having suc­cess­fully bro­ken my­self of that habit, I’ve now no­ticed that I’ve in­ter­nal­ized, to some ex­tent, the Cleveland ten­dency to find things to com­plain about, es­pe­cially if I’m hav­ing a good time, or what­ever.

I some­times feel that a typ­i­cal Clevelander would com­plain to the God that Saint Peter didn’t open the Pearly Gates fast enough. (Choosing to make that a Catholic ref­er­ence in­stead of a hick ref­er­ence is an­other sign of my grow­ing Clevelandesqueness).

I first no­ticed this on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival (and in the en­su­ing post). It was a great time, but I was all, like, fo­cus­ing on hav­ing to drive all over since the bridges were out of ser­vice, get­ting a splin­ter, no first aid kit, or what­ever. Gotta cut that out, be­cause neg­a­tiv­ity is the only thing I know that can sur­vive by feed­ing off it­self.

Cleveland has changed me in other ways, I’m much more cos­mopoli­tan than I was when I moved here as a fresh, real-world-ig­no­rant, col­lege grad back in November of 2003. By cos­mopoli­tan I mean, ea­ger to seek out and ap­pre­ci­ate the other cul­tures in what has be­come my town; less ig­no­rant about gay folks, Jew folks, black folks, Hispanic folks, and more aware of how dif­fer­ent sorts of pol­i­tics are im­mersed in every as­pect of daily life, learn­ing to choose my bat­tles, how to bat­tle, how to nav­i­gate with­out tak­ing sides, how to treat women, what con­fi­dence means (more on that later), how to take a metaphor­i­cal punch and keep on truckin’.

Basically, Cleveland took the raw stock of my up­bring­ing and ed­u­ca­tion, smithed it, tem­pered it and gave me what­ever I have that ap­prox­i­mates an edge.

This has been a year of in­tro­spec­tion for me, and as I con­tinue to be­come Cleveland, I’m sure there are as­pects of liv­ing here that I’ll re­ject as equally as cer­tain parts of speech and at­ti­tudes, but fewer things are more Cleveland than be­com­ing Cleveland on your own terms.

Or what­ever.

2010 Cleveland Dragon Boat Festival

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

I went to the 2010 Cleveland Dragon Boat fes­ti­val with Bram on Saturday. We had a tough time get­ting there be­cause I for­got just about all of the bridges in the Flats are closed, so we missed part of the open­ing cer­e­monies. And then we ended up leav­ing early be­cause I got an inch long splin­ter in my foot (don’t wear san­dals on the Nautica board­walk), and there wasn’t a first aid kit to be found. Nonetheless! We had an ex­cel­lent time. Here’s some video I took. It is pretty shaky, be­cause it is hard to film steadily with a two-year old on your shoul­ders: