Since I graduated, returned home, and entered the job hunt, I have done more driving than I have ever before. I’m the personal Uber driver for my parents and (so far) a handful of their friends. They call me Maruber. Horrific or genius? I’m still undecided.
When I’m not chauffeuring a group of Generation X around, I’m the most important driving accessory for my license-less 16-year-old sister. I sit dutifully in the passenger seat while she shuttles us to and from her friends’ houses, the grocery store, and her School of Rock lessons. That is, unless she doesn’t feel like driving, in which case I am returned to my well-loved driver seat. Somehow, she always ends up getting to choose the music.
While I definitely don’t love the traffic or the construction, I will admit that my new driving gig has allowed me to do something I never took the time to do growing up — get acquainted with Cleveland.
I wouldn’t say that I learn something new about this city every time I go out, but it happens more often than I would have guessed. Some things are more interesting or useful than others, but my favorite tidbits are of course the ones that become personally relevant. For instance, I recently learned that the hole-in-the-wall coffee joint my sister raves about (Common Grounds) is just across the street from my favorite comic book store (Carol and John’s Comic Shop). I love knowing stuff like that.
Last month, I had some friends from out of town stay with me over a long weekend. I found myself so excited and happy to share not only my home, but the place I consider to be my hometown. Seeing them enjoy the same local haunts that I do just reinvigorated my own love for this place.
While we don’t yet rival the New Yorks and San Franciscos of the world, I’d like to believe that a city’s merit is not found in the grandeur of its skyline. Rather, it’s found below that. It’s found in the people, in the lives they build for themselves and each other. It’s found in the small gems around the corner, in the establishments with roots in the community, or in the obscure places you’d never come across on your own.
From Victor Ving’s new “Greetings from Cleveland” mural in Ohio City, to the Lakewood Solstice Steps, there are plenty more places out there for me to see. So while I continue on my job hunt, I plan to stick with chauffeuring duties. That way, I can keep getting to know my hometown.
One drive at a time.