(Suburbanite searching for Navy Pier? Credit: Motoe.)
Recently, a bit of year-old Carless content created an unexpected stir in, of all places, the Cleveland.com forums. Yes, I was as shocked to learn they have the Internet in Ohio as you were.
The post in question? Suburbasaurus!, in which I decry the annoying comportment of a certain breed of out-of-town visitors. Annoying, anyway, to downtown residents, who have to put up with these pasty, polyester people, parent and progeny, and their endless entreaties for instructions to get to Navy Pier or asinine solicitations to discover the way back to LaSalle Street Station, all day long. Annyoance decried in the Cleveland forums as arrogant, anti-tourist, anti-suburban bias from an overegoed inner-city Chicagoan. I respectfully disagree. I love tourist dollars.
Are most Chitown visitors suburbasauruses? Not by a long shot. But it does peg a small minority of dunderheads who tend to show up in Chicago and other big cities having done not an iota of advance planning and with nary an idea about how to get around once they get here. Despite the everpresent city map, waving uselessly in hand like some tri-fold tourist flag. They’re the same people who’ll jump on a bus, or train, or elevator because it’s there, and then after the journey’s begun actually begin themselves to try to ascertain if they’re moving in the desired direction.
Still, given the hew and holler from Lake Erie shores, I suppose an explanation is in order to my Cleveland.com readers. So let me set the record straight by responding to a few allegations made about about the post and me in the Cleveland forums:
An arrogant post? Yep. Looking down on suburbanites? You betcha. City dwellers as generally the only civilized humans on the planet? Exactly. And that’s just here in Chicago. The idea of Cleveland suburban dwellers, one shudders.
Of course, one would have to think of Cleveland to think of Cleveland suburbs. And, as any civilized person would imagine, Cleveland is not exactly a hot topic of conversation in Chicago. Well, at least not polite conversation. Although, living as I do in a city that so far has only managed to burn its buildings down, I do give Cleveland credit for learning how to burn its river down, too.
I hope that clears up any misunderstanding. You know, there really is something cathartic about admitting when you’re wrong.
Michael Thaddeus Doyle
I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.