Other than the fact that the city cannot shut up about Lebron James, (2/3 of the stories on the evening news are prefaced by references to him although only one was actually about him. It’s a hard transition from Lebron James to a piece about a drum corps, but they squeezed both things into the same sentence because Cleveland? Is pissed.), I’ve enjoyed my first day in Cleveland.
We started off at a store called Big Fun, which lived up to its name. Let me tell you something: If you ever lost or broke a favorite toy in your childhood, and you were devastated, head on up to Cleveland and see Big Fun. They might just have it. There are two stores, and I overheard one of the employees on the phone explaining that their inventory of Garbage Pail buttons, Jewish board games, GI Joe dolls, and Care Bears toys is limited to what people bring them. But there are toys I never even knew existed. Did you know there were “Happy Days” action figures? How about “Married with Children” action figures?
I barely resisted the urge to buy old postcards of 70s Hunks that I would somehow use in conjunction with my retro Barbie postcards to decorate…something. Also, if you need a kid’s book to educate your children on either poo, gas, or boobs, they have something for you!
From there, we had a quick lunch and headed to the botanical gardens. It was raining a bit, so we decided there was no better place to kill some time than in a giant greenhouse with rooms designed to mimic Madagascar and the South American rain forests. Warm, and relatively dry, it was a nice way to control the weather, and Robyn suspected there would be lots of opportunities for good pictures. She was right! The South America room had tons of butterflies, which he had to make sure didn’t escape with us because that’s a felony. But it seemed hardly likely since they wouldn’t even sit still so I could take pictures of them. You know who hates having pictures taken more than me? Butterflies! That may be the only thing that does. Still, stupid butterflies!
But without a doubt, the BEST thing about the Cleveland Botanical gardens came after we’d explored a bit, and I’d been a bit shaken up by sticking my head in a room where a quick glance seemed to reveal an angry puppet in a plastic tub yelling at someone (that’ll teach me to explore!), we did a tour of the gardens. Lovely, magical, whatever, but it was still raining. The gardens thankfully provided us with umbrellas. We came back inside, and I distinctly heard singing. We popped our heads into the ballroom (okay, I’ll always be an explorer; I’m just curious by nature, so that lesson lasted about 20 minutes) and saw a guy in nondescript clothing singing karaoke to an almost empty ballroom. There were four or five middle aged women there, and one of them was dancing her heart out to the music.
Side note: I saw a similar phenomenon later in the evening at a bar. Apparently, lone, middle aged white ladies in Cleveland LOVE to dance!
If only I knew how to add a soundtrack of unenthusiastic and heavily accented karaoke, this picture would be complete!
This was their “A little afternoon music” program for patrons, and they chose to bypass the more traditional stringed orchestra in favor of a “sing along” kind of vibe.
You guys, I’m digging Cleveland!