It was very cool (literally and figuratively) to get back up to Cedar Point this week. When the media event started to wind down, I felt rather melancholy. Part of it may have been the infrequency with which I get to visit, and I'm sure being there without Simon and Diana was also a bummer. Quite honestly, the highlight of my day was easily the video call I did with Simon before he had to go to school. He got to see the ride run, and I walked up to the station where he got to see a few trains dispatch. The joy on his face was priceless.
I had the chance to meet up with friends, talk about old times, and I even had a few minutes with my favorite CEO. It was an intense 24 hours. Granted, I've come to realize that so much of my remaining love for Ohio is centered on Cedar Point. Cleveland in the bigger sense, honestly, is still a feeling of, "I'm done with that."
This time, just landing at the airport made me feel glad to not live there. The trees were still without leaves, the sky was gray, and it was depressing. The airport is half-closed, the surrounding area is trashy, and it just feels wholly depressing. Getting into the suburbs did feel a little better, and I was overjoyed to have lunch at the Winking Lizard in Avon (on the way back, too). Then that cold, gray trip down SR 2 made me sad again. Fortunately, when I arrived at Castaway Bay, which was open just for press, the sun peeked out, and I met friends for dinner. Outside of Cedar Point, that's how the day on the ground in the area went. It was a love-hate thing.
When I think back to our late July, 2011 visit, we felt as though our social world was more appropriately aligned with Cleveland. While I didn't have a super extensive social network in Seattle, having changed jobs at MSFT made me feel to an extent a little isolated. In reality, we had a pretty good circle of friends. After making the terrible decision to move back to Cleveland, we found that the nostalgia definitely warped our sense of belonging. It was such a great move in the financial sense, paying for just the one house, but professionally and socially, it wasn't a great idea.
That's where I think this quick trip has given me some peace. That 2011 decision really nagged me, even to this day. While I don't hate the place where I was born, this trip made me understand that I was there for too long, and the nostalgia does not trump that reality. I can visit Cedar Point and my friends in and around the park, but that's really the limit of my attraction to the area. I liked Seattle better than Cleveland, and Orlando is a fantastic tie. We're people best suited with views of Mt. Rainier or Space Mountain.