Connectivity is a problem on long stretches of interstate. So is forgetting to plug in your laptop the night before. We’re working as we drive, really testing the limits of a mobile office. Making lunch on top of your laptop is not recommended.
Cleveland was a big highlight and not because LeBron lives there (or because the RNC recently visited). We hung out near Case Western and Cleveland’s Wade Park, designed by Olmsted with his characteristic willows and beautiful sightlines from fountain to pond. It was empty. Another lady wandering around in front of the Cleveland Art Museum wondered aloud: Where is everyone? A guide on a bike talked to us for 15 minutes about fish nests near the pond. The kids ran way ahead without fear of being trampled by bikes/tourists/cabs. Maybe Cleveland should advertise in Central Park. I think some people would move just for all that green space.
We stopped in Cleveland so we would have a short drive to Detroit the next day. We were visiting good friends from our NYC days. As most urbanites understand, when you move to a big city away from everything you know, friends are critical to survival — you cling to each other. Something about the close proximity due to astronomical rent.
If you become a parent during this time, your good friends can be the difference between a happy family and your neighbors calling social services. We got to visit with these friends in the Gross Pointe area outside Detroit.
In hours of catching up, we talked about typical upper middle class parent topics — schools, jobs, kid sports, time spent driving to kid sports, food (always food) — but we didn’t mention the election once. Didn’t even occur to us. It isn’t apathy. We discussed the same issues of money, security and loss of community that concern so many Americans these days. But we discussed these issues in order to give each other perspective.
Good friends are like that. They let you take a step back from yourself and make an honest assessment without fear of ridicule — even if they’re secretly thinking, “Oh, she’s lost it now.” I’m hoping all of our friend visits this trip are the same. I need more perspective on myself; but I want that from my friends not from politicians. My friends don’t care whether I vote for them or not.