When I was underemployed and depressed, I used to spend my days off riding the bus down to the library, reading graphic novels and scrawling terrible writing in the Arcade over a cup of tea and a falafel wrap.
I love this city because it's home and familiar but my illusions have been dissed, as Randal so eloquently put today, and I know exist in a disillusion that is comfortable in the reality of the situation, but not entirely unhappy, as I've carved out a decent little life in this strange part of the world.
I've never been a boosterific type, and will probably change the title of the blog soon, because what I write has less to do with the city and more with the inner world and the outer world at large. I know there's a part of me that is provincial and intimidated by the ambitious, that is completely okay with not achieving great social status, and figures it's better to expect nothing than think the world is at my fingertips.
But I can't help but roll my eyes as I watch this, because I walk these streets on a regular basis and it never looks like this, even on a summer afternoon at the peak of lunch hour. I've seen maybe one food truck ever downtown and it was for Wilson's Tamales, which goes everywhere. I've seen one person walking their dog in the last four years. There hasn't been a crowd at an Indians game that big since 1997. The president of CSU (which has a nice campus believe it or not) said he was going to live downtown but opted for a swanky mansion in Shaker. So who are we kidding here?
I know this is to make us look cosmopolitan, but the part of the city that is world class is a few miles east where the gardens, museums, and the universities converge, not at the overpriced gimmicky bowling alley (my Inner Parmastani says that new ones that aren't smoke smelling and looking like 1959 are phony by default) or restaurants I can't afford or aren't interested in. $5 for a serving of ramen noodles? That's a week worth of vending machine ramen lunch or a month of Top Ramen from Aldi's. I'm probably outing myself as not the target demographic, because even though I'm relatively young and artsy and educated (ding ding ding!), I'm also poor and prefer a kibbie from Aladdin's if I'm downtown or a gyro from Frank's Falafel around the corner.
And seriously, this is almost all rich and young, and mostly very very white people. Over half of this city is African-American, and there's other sizable non-cracker ethnic communities as well. Also, most of the Bright Young Things are gone. They live in Chicago. I blame this factor in part for my perpetual spinsterhood. My friends are all 6-10 years older than me and usually married, and therefore aren't as likely to leave. If they're trying to leave they're usually stuck. I don't expect them to show people who are homeless or maybe work in a profession that isn't White Collar Technocrat, but that's a lot of our downtowners, the Peonage in varied states of dress.
We're downtown too. And while we deal well in snark and purty photos of things falling apart and the center unable to hold, at least we tell the truth, or something. It's so overblown.