The other day, some boys and I went to the batting cages on the far east side. We go to that one, even though it's a drive, because the high school boys who work the counter don't care when we show up in civvies, and hog the cages, then duck out to the bar for a bit, and come back. Also, I always get a free token from the guy. You can tell he does not really care about his job, except that it's an easy after school job where he just has to pass helmets and bats, and spend the rest of the time watching sports. I was wearing a sequin dress, and a sweater that was cut low on my shoulders which always stretches out the more hours I wear it, and by the time we got there it was pretty much falling off. I must have looked a little bit like a mess, and this time there was a little girls' little league practicing on the courts next to the cages. All the preteens were hanging out in front of the softball cage, which is the one I use because I don't like blisters, and they stared at me hitting balls for 30 minutes, stopping after every throw to hitch my sweater up so my boobs didn't fall out. I'm pretty sure their parents were less than pleased. Messy thirty year old women showing up with hipster boys in t-shirts, playing around, with bad stances.
Afterwards, we went to Fairmount to eat burgers, and on the tv was 60 Minutes. We sipped mildly fancy drinks. My dad used to watch that show religiously growing up, and because of the nostalgia factor I still enjoy it, but it's very old now. The story that came on was about the foreclosure crisis, the one big claim to fame Cleveland has now in the national news, and they interviewed people in a neighborhood who were refusing to give up their houses, despite being really underwater on the values. They showed footage from a place called Cinema Park, which was a housing development started and then abandoned when the company went bankrupt. The pictures were stark, half finished houses and acres of gas line caps. We immediately decided to go the next day. Later we went to our friends house, where an American Apparel employee christmas party was happening. All the people were incredibly weirdly thin and small, and wearing very nice clothes. We left there and went to the hipster bar, to watch Japanese skate videos and I bought 23 yr old girls shots for someone's birthday ( I was all about being the role model that day), and tried to parse out the correct french terms for military tactics used by Napoleon and then later in the Civil War. It turned out, later on FB, that everyone else had seen that foreclosure segment too, which is sort of nice, that people still watch 60 Minutes.
The next day though, we did go, found the place on google maps and went in the middle of the afternoon. This is the kind of stuff you do in Cleveland. You listen to Drake and drive around spying for things the news told you about in the place where you live. The land used to be a drive in theater, thus the name. There were a dozen houses, and people living in six of them, and the rest all empty plots. It was very gray and cold, and the sky looked like a down comforter spinning in an industrial dryer. One woman called out to us from her bedroom window, in a pink bathrobe. I could only catch half of what she was saying, but it made me feel weird, being there only to take photos of how tragic her street looked like. She was fine with it, presumably having dealt with reporters already for a while. Just don't break into any of them, she said. No problem. We understood each other, that this was just a reality of living in this city. They were boarded up tight anyways, Playmobil houses that just weren't ready to be shipped yet. The sidewalks started and ended in odd places, and there were several missing driveways. At the end of the street was a very nice large park with lots of benches, more benches than there were actual people living there. It was a park with expectations.