Sunday, January 23, 2011
East side vs West side
Living in any large city there is a debate: Which side is better? East Side or West Side?? You see this in NYC, Cleveland, and even Portland. I find it comical now when people make statements of "I will only go to functions on the west side of town." or "I have lived here all my life and have never been to the other side of town!"
Growing up, I didn't really know about this debate as I lived in a Southern Suburb of Portland, Oregon, I went to church on the NE side of town, but yet my family would also go to the west side of town for dinner. I never really gave it a thought which side of Portland was better. I just knew that I preferred the mall on the east side of town, but only because it was a larger mall that had a movie theater attached to it. I also knew that some of the nicer neighborhoods were on the west side of Portland. Now days though each side has its amenities with nice and rough areas. As an adult, there was a time where I lived on the east side of Portland but worked on the far west side, so I was still breaking the rules.
I have found that this "East vs West" mentality is very prominent in Cleveland. I live on the west side of town, but work on the east side. No big deal right?? Well to some people this is a huge deal and do not understand why I would drive back and forth everyday. I first explain to them that I did look for a job closer to my home and the only thing I could find was out n the east side and then I explain to them that I have always driven quite a ways to and from work even when I lived in Oregon. I have met people here in Cleveland who have lived on one side of town their entire life and have never went to the other side. I just am in shock at this!!! People in Cleveland treat Interstate 77 like the Berlin Wall. It is what could be the divider between each side. People even joke about how one needs to have a passport to get to either side. What people do not understand is that there are great things on both sides of town!!! I just wish people would suck it up and drive to the other side and try the different restaurants, parks, and outside markets.
I fully believe, though, that if one lives in a large city, one must experience ALL of the city and not just a 7-10 mile radius from one's house. If people only went only 7-10 miles from their home they would never fully experience what the whole city has to offer. Now granted, there are spots in each large city (in any area) that may not be the safest, but you get that. So you have to know the good and bad spots and which spots are ok to go to in day and night. I know that here in Cleveland there are places that are acceptable to go in only the daylight and not have to really worry about anything, but if I am in that area of town after dark I tend to be a bit more on guard. There were parts of Portland where I would rarely ever go because it just was not really that safe any time of the day!
I know I can not make one get out of their comfort but when someone asks me how I know about the cool little tea house way out on the east side of town, I will smile and tell them that I am not afraid to drive an hour to an hour and a half experience something new.
My challenge to you this year, break out of your comfort zone and explore the opposite side of town that you live on at least once a month. You might be surprised in what you will find!!