This one started out around the corner from BEET JAR on the corner of W 29th and Church. I hoofed it along Detroit Rd just east of the Cargill salt spread on the coast and took a glance at a nearly former Cleveland ruin.
I have no idea what this pace is or was or what it’s about to become but it did have this cool mirrored tile on the front.
A few more streets dropped behind my fucked up shoes before I took off over the Detroit-Superior bridge. I’m guessing it was at least half-a-mile over the thing, maybe more, and I got a few photos before I felt nauseous. The sun beat from well overhead of me, and my slick Caucasian skin took the pounding like a woman desperately trying to impress a well-hung man. By the time I made it all the way over the bridge I thought I might keel over, so instead of going with my original plan of haunting The Flats, I turned back for Ohio City.
Yeah, it was a wuss move. With my anxiety and heart problems I’ve been a wuss lately.
Halfway back I started feeling more nauseous. I didn’t know if I should hate myself for wussing out or love myself for being vaguely aware of my bodily needs. Of course, I immediately worried that I was about to have a stroke or a heart attack. I slugged a little bit of water and about thirty seconds later burped up a mouthful of puke, which I gargled and swallowed like the best prostitute in Cleveland.
Jesus, I mumbled. I’m in bad motherfucking shape. Either that, or I’m about to pull a Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler and collapse with a fucked up ticker.
I hadn’t exercised in a while, like all summer, unless you consider lifting mugs of beer to within reach of my mouth exercise. If you do, I exercised this summer like a boss, and bulked up with about twenty extra pounds of beer fat. As I trudged forward in the sun, I got more nauseous by the step and I kept saying to myself I really want a beer right now. I really want a beer.
Other than my impending death, beer was all I could think of.
And puke burps in my mouth.
I think I might be an alcoholic. A functional one, but still, an alcoholic.
By the time I made it back over the bridge I’d had to swallow four puke burps.
Maybe that bar I parked near will be open, I wondered.
I went back down into Ohio City waiting to have some sort of meditative epiphany but my lurid paranoia of failing or collapsing in cardiac arrest kept the prominent portion of my brain occupied.
I turned down W 26th, three blocks before that bar, just so I wouldn’t tempt myself, even though I really wanted a beer, where I ran into St John’s Episcopal Church. According to a plaque on its facade somewhere, St John’s is the oldest church in Cuyahoga County.
After standing in front of St John’s for a while obsessing over whether or not I was about to puke, I moved down the road where I found The Rex Body Company. No, they don’t pimp out hoes. They do automotive body repair. I’d live in this building if I could.
I also saw The Goodyear Blimp.
A lot of the neighborhood is being reworked into condos and trendy domestic setups for nebulous yuppies that prefer the urban hoods to suburbia. There is a lot of construction. A lot. The little area I explored, that is, when I could pay attention, had half-a-dozen construction sites, at least, within a few blocks. This is great for Cleveland. My hometown has been on the rise for a few years, and with the Cavs and everything, the city, we, are coming back.
Sometimes I feel synonymous with Cleveland. The ennui the city felt in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s was the ennui I ingested as a kid. The Browns’ failures and the Indians’ close calls all taught me a valuable lesson: losing is what you will experience in life. I learned that lesson hard. All those early defeats for the city intermingled with the losing hockey team I played on (we were lucky to win one or two games out of thirty). My arguments with my parents, even when I won, were slammed down for the count, trumped as always by parental authority. Losing has been a way of life for me. Either experiences play a pivotal role in how we think and see ourselves in relation to the world or I’m just a loser and a coward and wrong about everything, just like my dad said. As much as I want to see myself get over my depression and anxiety issues, I want to see Cleveland rise from its own ashes. Mistake on the lake to World Champions. Cleveland and I are together in this. We are fighting the same demon.
After a short trek down the Detroit Shoreway I circled back to my car. An unknown future awaits me, a future that might project into many extremes, but I, at least, can be like Cleveland and pick a direction.