This week I've been lucky enough to escape my 'home' town twice -- Monday in Louisville, and last night a quick trip to Indianapolis.
Both trips reminded me again how easy it is to find the Cincinnati area just a bit... off.
Yes, we're getting an IKEA. Yes we're centrally located within easy range of other cities -- Columbus, Lexington, even Chicago and Cleveland, in addition to Louisville and Indy. Yes, there's actually a pretty significant and active lesbian community.
But I go to these other cities and no matter what neighborhood I visit, it just seems more vibrant than my own. People were everywhere in downtown Indy last night and again this cold, grey Saturday morning. And Louisville's quirky Highlands area was bustling at 3 on a cold holiday afternoon.
It's hard to find vibrant here. Or bustling, unless it's a Wal-Mart parking lot. And of the cute, quirky, walkable neighborhoods that do exist, well, sometimes I expect to be asked for a passport to enter.
Is it because I'm not a native? Because I lived first on the all-but-ignored West side of Cincinnati, then moved to Northern Kentucky, both acts of self-imposed exile?
I see first-hand in my work the compassion and the generousity of the people of this community. But they're not easy to get to know. To mingle with. Heck, some times they don't even smile.
So thanks Louisville. And Indy. For the respite.
Monday, it's off to Florida. We'll see how Jacksonville stacks up. 60 degrees sounds pretty good right now...