Saturday, February 12, 2005

Small World - Big City

I have heard over and over again how this town is small and everyone knows everyone, and you go the same places and see the same people. Now, I have experienced this myself and most it can be explained because I go to the same places over and over again. For me its the Comet, Northside Tavern, Crowley's, Milton's, and Panera.

Today though I got the chance to say hello and very briefly meet a blog reader and journalist Kelly Hudson ofCiN Weekly. I happened to be at, you guessed it, Panera Bread for the second time in two days. At least I do go to different locations of the restaurant and I should buy stock in the place for the all of the money I spend there, as the cliché goes. They have the free wifi and good food, so I have no guilt at my obsession with it.

What do people do when you see people you “know of” around town? Those are often people of note around town, sometimes called “local celebrities” sometimes chided as the elite, or the influential. I have been around town and seen other journalists, TV news anchors, sports stars, business leaders, politicians, and the occasional actually famous person and most of the time just think, hmm, cool, and then go on about drinking my coffee or beer.

Do we live in town where everyone does know everyone and ”local celebrities" who may not be the talk at the water cooler, but at least whose names are known, do not get noticed by people?

I grew up in a small city of about 35,000 people or so. There I knew or knew of every kid in town within about 3 years of my age. I still would go around town and not know people. It was almost assured that anyone I met would know someone who knew someone, etc.

Hear in Cincinnati those who have grown up here I believe think or say the same thing. As someone who has only been here just over 10 years, I can't say that. That in part may be my own fault because of my lack of the sociability gene. On the other hand most of it has to do with the simple fact, the Cincinnati Metro Area has nearly 2 million people. That is a big city. What may be our problem, partly caused by geography party by cultural choices, is that we live in a city with big divides. Suburban vs. urban, Eastside vs. Westside, Black vs. White, Liberal vs. Conservative. Bridging those divides are our challenge and the climate in the city and the country is one that favors or even promotes building moats, fences, and cultural barriers.

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