To me, the difference between Cleveland and Madison is pretty drastic. Now you have to understand that I grew up on the East side of Cleveland, and the West side of the city is also very different. Keep in mind that when I refer to Cleveland, I am referring to the East side, not the West.
As I have mentioned before, one of things that drew me to Madison was the appreciation that people here have for the outdoors. It still blows me away that after 14 years of running on and off, a lot of it in Cleveland, Ohio, I hardly ever saw any other people exercising outside. Maybe it was my route, who knows? But more so, I always observed that the Clevelanders I knew do/did not care about exposing themselves to nature.
Yesterday, I went to a restaurant for brunch. As I got near the place, I saw a Lexus SUV (remember, SUVs are not very popular here), with an Ohio plate. Big surprise. As soon as I spotted it, I surveyed the restaurant for a "Cleveland looking" person, and I found her immediately. She had colored blond hair, she was wearing all black, she was probably 55 or so, and I am sure a UW mom. She looked like she was in pain. You know that look I am talking about? She just looked mean. Like everything that could go wrong was going wrong in her day.
I happened to eat at this same place for lunch a few days before, and the restaurant filled up with smoke. Nobody seemed to care. Everyone continued their conversations. The Madison locals all appeared to be happy with their little liberal lives. As I made this observation, I said to my friend, "If this was Cleveland, people would be complaining, if not leaving right now." And trust me, upon exiting, they would exclaim, "I am never coming back here again!" But, oh no, not these Madison folks. Life is good for us.
I am going back to the Cleveland looking woman, who was probably connected to the Lexus SUV. The place was jam packed, and she was sitting outside (shocking, because most Clevelanders like to stay indoors all year round and hibernate). There was a line out the door, and I saw her continue to come into the restaurant, pushing her way through the line about a half a dozen times. And then, I figured out what she was doing.... she was complaining! I overheard her approach an employee with a ramekin, and she said, "The leaves are going crazy outside, and they keep on blowing in here! I don't want this any more!" She then handed the ramekin to the employee, and the worker looked pretty confused. It appeared that she had never heard such a complaint in her life. I was uncomfortable witnessing it. How can you sit outside and be disgusted with the leaves? Talk about shallow.
And so, I must say, I certainly do not miss these kinds of superficial people, who do not appreciate the beauty of what God, or Mother Nature, or whoever, has given us. This is my favorite time of year, and I am sucking up every minute of outside time that I can get.
A little advice for you, if you are anything like "Cleveland Lady," Life is too short to get upset about bad service or leaves blowing in your ramekins. You will find that there are more serious problems to face, such as your money getting stuck in an account where the bank has gone out of business, or watching your loved one lose all their hair during chemotherapy. It is important to appreciate everything you have, and that includes the trees turning colors, or a butterfly landing on a plant (as I observed while running the other day). Take in these moments. You never know what will happen tomorrow.