I just got a new job, and went to pick up my apron and other employee stuff today before I start my first day tomorrow. My new boss (who’s from NYC) asked me where I grew up.
Him: “Cleveland, Ohio. Hey, I think another guy who works here is from Ohio.”
Me: “Oh really?”
Him: “Yeah, or somewhere weird. Did you grow up there dreaming of leaving?”
Me: “Not really.”
I didn’t say that even since I was a kid, I’ve been a little bit obsessed with Cleveland. Once I had an awareness of it as a city people looked down on, an overly defiant spirit came upon me like the dewfall and, well, even the Denver sun hasn’t been able to evaporate it.
Him: “How do you like Denver?”
Me: “It’s different.”
This is the truth. This is the only real answer. It’s different.
When I’m in Denver, I miss: my family, my Cleveland friends, ornate architecture, the cultural neighborhoods, and pierogies.
When I’m in Cleveland, I miss: my Denver friends, living downtown, walking everywhere, the amazing street art, and green chili.
The point I’m trying to make is, as much as I might hold up and compare the two cities in which I’ve had an address, there is no comparison. Denver and Cleveland are two totally different places, in totally different areas of the country, with their own culture and their own history. You can’t compare the Rust Belt to the Wild West. You can’t compare mountains to Lake Erie. You can’t compare green chili to pierogies. (Omg, wait. Can you put green chili ON a pierogi?????)
Sure, I love to shit-talk Denver, but that’s because I find ranting fun. And it’s like teasing a friend. As in, hey, I notice the weird things you do because I pay attention to you. And some of these weird things annoy me. Same story with Denver. (And honestly, same with Cleveland, too. But just like I wouldn’t tease a friend in front of people who don’t know them, I’m not going to shit-talk Cleveland when people already think it’s trash.)
I’ve already gone over this topic many times, in print and in person, Denver vs Cleveland, the loves and the hates. That’s because talking/writing is a mode of thinking for me. Whether joking or serious, when I find myself talking and writing about a topic over and over, it’s because I’m digging into it. Putting it into language, explaining it before I’m even really sure what it is I’m trying to explain. It’s all a sprawling, messy first draft of… something.
Clearly, I haven’t yet figured it out. Anyway, just remember: you can’t compare apples and oranges. Or the Big Apple to a plum. Or the plum to an over-hyped piece of–
Darn it, there I go again.