Dearest Cleveland, City of sports teams that hang at the mercy of the Three Fates, I pose a question:
A five-minute drive in any direction from my house greets me with an unnerving amount of potholes. You would think my car is a lowrider given how many times it bounces on the road. I left for not even two months, and this is how you greet me? I mean, potholes are no new obstacle of mine, but this instance felt particularly aggravating. When can I drive on a smooth road again? When will the construction angels float down from the heavens?
Speaking of construction, are you done yet? Every time I take a trip downtown, something looks different or is in the process of looking different. As great local comedian Mike Polk Jr. says, Cleveland has been "under construction since 1868." He said this in 2009, and it still rings true short of a decade later. We laugh, but the jokes come from a serious place. Cleveland has been under construction its whole life. Everything changes all the time and the city never looks finished because when one project closes, another opens, apparently. A road is always closed, part of the highway (I-90 or I-71, most likely) always has a lane of cones. Detour signs are nothing out of the ordinary in Downtown Cleveland.
But like I said, when one project ends another one always starts.
The Flats reemerged from its zombified state, Public Square revamped its look with grassy hills, a neat restaurant called REBol, and an ice skating rink. The Q even has massive renovation plans underneath it that honestly look like something out of science fiction, or at least dystopian.
Look at this! Are we hosting the Olympics? (Could you imagine?)
Things are looking up for Cleveland. Maybe. Potentially. Hopefully. Telling myself this is a instinctual ritual I need every year to instill a wavering sense of hope in me for my city. Maybe one day we will stop being under construction so much, and maybe then they can fix this potholes.