Monday, July 09, 2007

Big City State Of Mind

I was dying to be anywhere but here yesterday.

This weekend started off with me trying to watch as much cable television as possible while house sitting for Big Blue Blood and Mr. Brown (the smelly poop of 2 cats + 50 bucks = easy job).

I think I watched three episodes of The Simple Life Goes To Camp, five Bridezillas, two Platinum Weddings, half a Snapped and one full rotation of Four Weddings And a Funeral (I have a weakness for Hugh Grant, Divine Brown saga and all - did you know she put her kids through private school with all the cash she made after that little indiscretion with Ol' Floppy Hair? Who knew...)

I tried squeezing out some more sweet, cable goodness yesterday morning when the cells in my body collectively shouted must. move. around. pronto.

I guess I had had enough of laying around like a lummox (that's what my mom calls it, anyway).

So I threw away the beer bottles on the counter, stripped the sheets, scooped the poop out one last time and watered the plants (Mr. Brown - I swear the hose worked when I left Sunday) and hit the door.

The beastly heat slapped me in the face as I approached my car, quickly slamming the door shut while simultaneously cranking up the A/C.

After a few minutes of melting like an ice cream cone, I hit the road, Destination: Over-the-Rhine.

Regular readers know I love this diamond-in-the-rough neighborhood.

I really wanted to check out the monthly Second Sunday on Main event, which had a bit of a Latin flavor this month. The street-fair style venue showcased local artists painting the most colorful, vibrant, life size paintings, musicians pounding away on drums to create sounds that sounded straight out of the Andes. Dancers in costumes of every color swirled and bobbled and vibrated to the spicy beats. I felt almost like I was at a Carnivale event in the Bronx.

I took in the street scene and decided I needed to escape to a cool spot with some cultural nourishment.

The Cincinnati Art Museum tickled my eyes with a fabulous exhibit on wearable art. Apparently a woman who works at the museum collects the most whimsical, avant-garde pieces created by modern Asian designers. Some of these pieces looked like vertical columns made of accordion folds. Other pieces conjured up visions of space age aliens dressed for winter. The most delightful selection contrasted three different types of material - one rather wrinkly and wavy, another precisely and elegantly pleated and the third very graphic and three dimensional.

I also really enjoyed an exhibition on a massive mural created for a Cincinnati restaurant by classic New Yorker cartoonist Saul Steinberg.

I milled through the massive, free (!) museum and checked out the beautiful trinkets in the gift shop before a security guard pretty much shoved me out the door (why does closing time come so quickly?)

I still had to get out my elsewhere ya-yas, so I decided to head to a sunny patio with a good read.

I headed to a shady patch of porch at Longworth's in Mt. Adam's for a cool pint of Bud Light and a few pages from my novel. C'est la Vie is the entertaining, fascinating true story of a 50-something newly widowed woman who packs her bags to fulfill a life long dream of living in Paris.

It seems Suzy Gershman struggles with her elsewhere ya-yas, too.

The book takes you to the City of Light and the charming, if frustrating nuances of moving to the country where the bleu, blanc et rouge wave proudly. There she was, talking about the CE and Zagat's picks for best restaurants and flower boxes bursting with geraniums, and all my brain could process was more, more, more. I pretty much felt like I was in Paris, as I sat beneath the cafe umbrella, my dark shades on, sipping a cool drink. True, it was an ice-cold American beer, but hey, I was trying to live the dream.

Gershman also happens to be the same Born-to-Shop Gershman. She's written dozens of shopping guides for travelers visiting practically every corner of the globe, and she shares a bit of her wisdom in C'est la Vie. I've already made a mental note to track down what she says about shopping in London and Amsterdam.


C'est la Vie is a great read. If you enjoy travel literature you should pick it up - it might inspire you to buy a pack of cigarettes, too.

I hopped back in my car and headed back home after a full day of longing for a big city, only realizing Cincinnati has so much to offer the soul struggling with a bit of wanderlust.

No comments: