Tour of Cleveland, Redux

cleRedux

Last night and old and dear college friend  came up to go out with me and to spend the night. It’s really nice being able to have overnight guests now, which I could not do while I was married because my ex was not the social or entertaining type. Friend has lived in NYC for many years and moved back to this area last year for personal reasons. We don’t see each other often, but we always have a great time together.

We reminisced, gossiped and got into the sorts of general trouble that two wonderful MILFs get into when out on the town. It was exhausting but also wonderful. Suffice to say I woke up with glitter on my face, leftovers in my fridge and a much lighter wallet. But man we had fun, which we both needed. We went to the Flats East Bank, which I never thought is something I’d be saying I’m doing at age 46, and I loved showing her around.

Today, I took my mom downtown for her birthday, per her request – she wanted to see the new Heinen’s grocery downtown with the beautiful rotunda inside, and maybe get a driving tour of downtown, which she has never known very well. Efforts were nearly thwarted as every avenue into downtown was closed, even the back alleys and side roads I knew had road blocks. I was determined, however, and as those who know me know that I can be difficult to stop when I am determined. And hey, we did get kind of a tour with all the different avenues and alleyways we traversed getting into the city center. We finally made it into downtown proper and though it took me awhile, I did finally find us a free parking space on the street. Between the uptick in downtown inhabitants and visitors and the wide swath of construction that knocks out like three-quarters of the available street parking spaces in town, it wasn’t easy. But we cheerfully strolled down the avenue towards the store.

We passed a homeless guy sleeping on the street. Everyone of course was just walking by and not even looking but I just wanted to stop and look at him a moment. He was nestled on his side like a child in a bed, and someone had placed a snack of apples and a can of Pringles next to him, which was incredibly poignant and sad. “Oh, that’s just so terrible,” my Mom said. “But look, someone left him a snack.” The whole thing just didn’t sit right with me, but these things never do. “Yeah,” I said, looking him over. His eyes were just a crack open at the bottom, which was eerie. I leaned in to look closer at him. “Mom, I wonder if someone shouldn’t check that he’s breathing. I’m not sure he’s breathing,” I said. “Well, probably the people who left the snack did that, don’t you think?” I didn’t know what to do. Does anyone? “I guess so,” I said, and then felt guilty going to the store with all the beautiful upscale food to take back to my nice, working car while this man laid on a filthy sidewalk in 55 degree weather.

When we came out with our few purchases, I immediately saw the fire truck. As we approached, I saw the three firemen working on him; he was completely unresponsive. But they were working, inserting things and preparing things and such, which they wouldn’t have been doing if he was dead. A DCA (downtown safety patrol type) guy was there talking to passers-by, and I asked if the fellow was alive. “He’s alive, but that’s about it,” said the guy. “He does this sometimes.” The ambulance was arriving just then, so we went to move along and he said to my mom, “He really needs to help himself, you know?” Mom shot back, “Maybe he can’t.”

The rest of the day had a cloud over it and was difficult, but then tonight I got to go to a play, which is always good for my soul. Everyone who goes to this play will have their own, singular experience, which is a good thing. It was a very unique concept and resonated with everyone, you could feel the reverberations in the group chat after the show.

It resonated with me as well. After the long and somewhat difficult day I’ve had, all I could think of was how very short life is, how there are no guarantees, and how we need to love those good moments when we get them, because we are not promised tomorrow, no matter how much we plan.

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