Monday, March 15, 2010

I Heart Cleveland

I have never been good with change. It's a miracle I went to the University of Wisconsin and didn't chain myself to the car until my parents agreed to take me back home to Cleveland with them. Luckily, nice people, cheese and beer were plentiful in Madison, so I was able to stick it out.

But every time I came back to the 'burbs for holidays and summers, I had a hard time returning to school. I cried. I hoped for winter storms that would cancel my flights. My family thought I was nuts. My brother, a 9th grader at the time, always volunteered to go back in my place. (You know you’ve hit rock bottom when a 14 year old boy is practically your therapist.)

I know what you're thinking ... wouldn't most people cry if they had to go to Cleveland? Not when it was time to leave? Well, for me (and lots of my equally attached friends) there was nothing like the comfort of home. I loved driving around the familiar streets, reuniting with old buddies, eating at my favorite restaurants, and sleeping in my own bed.

Then, slowly but surely, a lot of those things I could always count on began to change. After college, I, like most of my classmates, moved to a big city to pursue a career and live in a shoebox sized apartment I couldn't afford. As the years went on, some friends didn't come home as much for the holidays. Their parents moved out of town. The basements we spent many a Saturday night hanging out in were converted to exercise rooms. The food court at the mall was relocated upstairs.

Even though I was happily building my life in New York, I didn’t want anything about my old life to change. But I knew that was unrealistic. Time marches on. Houses sell. People get better haircuts and start drinking organic milk. And we all have to get a grip, grow up and make the place we actually live... home.

However, as they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Like the fact that my mother always has enough hummus in the fridge to feed a small Mediterranean country and I am just as bad at driving on the freeway as I was at 16.

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