Some weeks ago in this column I wrote “The Best is Yet To Come,” in which I said I’m thinking of moving to Covington. Currently, that notion is still very much alive.
I’m looking at an apartment at 10th and Madison. With some fixing up, I think this small studio setup would be a good urban setting for me to live in. It’s on the first floor and there’s lots of sunlight. Also, in a roundabout way, I know the landlord. He’s holding the place for me. My son and I looked at it again last week and I’m going to try and make this move happen. I’m excited about it.
Thinking of this move to Covington puts in focus all my years living in Cincinnati. I’ve lived here, on and off — but mostly on — since 1973. Moving away, even if it’s just across the river, makes me reflect on my current views about Cincinnati. Somehow in recent years, my attitude has changed.
When this column first started over eight years ago, I often was accused of being anti Cincinnati. While I don’t think I was at all, I still wore that symbol like it was a badge of honor.
I wrote about downtown restaurant closings and how dead downtown couldn’t support them. I wrote about how unfriendly people are here. I wrote about the support in the community for silly, unfair drug laws. I wrote about my dislike for our lazy Cincinnati City Council and about meanness and violence in Over-the-Rhine and how nobody was paying attention to it.
I basically wrote about issues in the city I was passionate about and, in my view, changes that needed to be made here. I took plenty of heat for it.
Some of you have pointed out to me that these types of columns are now few and far between. Some readers have written to me saying I’m now softer and gentler. I’m not sure about that, but, yes, I’ve changed.
I’d rather now write more people stories or try to find the humor in urban settings or difficult situations. My emphasis is different. In my head, I’m trying to figure out why, trying to understand my current Cincinnati state of mind.
I’m going to tell the truth — in recent years I haven’t followed local news as much as I should. When I try to, I immediately get turned off. Let me give you some examples.
I started to read a story in The Cincinnati Enquirer about the streetcar project and how it likely won’t be happening now. I read a few lines, then stopped reading.
In the back of my mind I knew that the conservative forces in this city and in this state would find a way to make this tiny attempt of being progressive go away. I also didn’t need a daily conservative newspaper rubbing it in my face.
I’ve made attempts to read about the city’s budget problems and how more city workers will be losing their jobs in the months ahead, yet the Cincinnati Police Department won’t be affected by this. The more cops the better is the thinking in this city, and I can’t stand to hear or read about it anymore.
A gambling casino could be a big plus to downtown Cincinnati, but I’ve read headlines on national news sites that these casinos are starting to fade and suffer in other cities. I’ve only been reading the headlines because I don’t want to think that Cincinnati is once again a day late and a dollar short in getting something that would help the economy here. I’ll stop with the examples. Maybe you’re getting my drift.
I don’t think my inability to follow local Cincinnati news is indifference. I think it’s more of a realization that Cincinnati and I are never going to be on the same page. I’ve accepted that fact, and that’s why my words here are now focused in a different direction. I don’t want to be angry all the time.
Changing my direction has mostly been OK, an eye-opener for me. In getting to know the people around me in Cincinnati, I’ve found out that they really aren’t that unfriendly. I said this in another column a while back and apologized for it. I like to think I can admit it when I’m wrong.
I also think Cincinnati does have a lot going for it. We have excellent theatre attractions, wonderful museums, a younger population that’s being drawn to downtown and at least one sports team — the Reds — that seems serious about being contenders.
These are all pluses. The Queen City has always shown promise. But I’m concluding that it’s the conservative approach and the politics I don’t like here. That’s why it’s time for me to make a change and move to Northern Kentucky.
It’s not like I’m going far away. Most of my family and friends live in Cincinnati. Because of them and because I write for CityBeat, on most days I’ll still find myself downtown doing what I need to do. The only difference is I’ll be starting up and winding down over in Covington.
Maybe when I make the move, I’ll find things to complain about there. Maybe it will get my critical juices flowing again. I’d love it if that happens.
CONTACT LARRY GROSS: [email protected]