Monday, June 10, 2013
My sister came to visit from Chicago. The first morning here I took her to our local family owned organic market where I shop 3 times a week. I introduced her to one of the clerks as my sister from Chicago. "I'm not comfortable with you telling people where I am from". Whoops, chatty me.
So my openness was a big adjustment for my sister whose sense of stranger danger is so heightened. By the third day she was much more relaxed. We gave our parking spot at the art fair to an elderly couple, from whom we accepted a ride to our car for any easy swap. (Yes she actually got into a stranger's car). She met the people that make up my life here, behind the checkouts and stocking the shelves, these people as much my lifeline as the air I breathe. We are connected to the same planet and God. Why would we shut each other out?
That's how we could roll in Cleveland. We don't have to just say hello to people, we could actually get to know them. Having lived in smaller towns, Cleveland does not strike me as friendly at first impression, but when you make the first move, most people show you their warmth and goodness. Yes there is crime, and you have to be careful, but that is also true for little towns as well. Tragedy does not need a map.
While some of my neighbors in Ohio are superficial and cold, I try to remember people have crises that are hidden to us, and the habits of the city can make people feel safer in isolation. I like Cleveland again after returning here from a town of 3,280. I needed to leave to see it with clear eyes.