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“Whaddya Doin’ Here?”

May 12, 2013

“Like to check in, please. Last names are Ngim and Donald.”

“Here it is, Tom Donald and – Mitzi, ah, what is it – well, anyway, from San Francisco, it says.”

“That’s right.”

“So whaddya doin’ here?”

The answer, on its face, is simple. Visiting family. Here is Strongsville, Ohio, a  sturdy suburb of Cleveland consisting of some 50,000 souls, among them my first cousin, her husband and three sons, as well as my eternally-glorious 95-year-old Aunt Jean.

Do we feel out of place, amidst the seemingly endless string of fast food outlets, enormous malls, thunderous Chevy pickups and all the rest? Maybe at first, maybe a little. But it’s enlightening, and even a bit humbling to realize that full and enriching lives are being lived well outside the confines of our favorite 49 square miles, thank you very much. Ah, the curse of the hipster ethic. No one could possibly be doing anything more important than sipping the right brand of coffee at the right cafe on Valencia Street, could they? No one could possibly be doing anything more important than making art (or talking about making art), could they? Even if the art is unwatchable, unreadable or indeed, unendurable. And evSuper8en if the talk is utter blather.

What are we doing here? Visiting family, and that, in the end, trumps all.

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