Beyond DNA, all of us are united by a common experience: the bad day. It often strikes without warning, or when you least expect it. It has a tendency to spread itself over multiple days, snowballing with annoying efficiency. Combined with cabin fever, largely dreary conditions and minimal daylight, the leading months of the year have a tendency to exacerbate the bad day. Sadly, hibernation is not widely accepted as a coping mechanism.
Recently, I woke to find that I had last left my keys in a blackhole, lost to time and space. To add insult to injury, my apartment was leaking water through the ceiling in the dining room and kitchen, and the property manager showed little interest in remedying the problem. Bad day escalating.
I was able to get copies of my roommate's house keys made at Heights Hardware in Coventry, a minute's walk from my Cleveland Heights home. There, the pleasant, polite employee explained the finer points of key creation, and I was out the door in minutes, for $3.40. Still feeling a bit lagging, I walked down the street, picked up a locally made bagel and chai tea at Phoenix Coffee, a locally owned shrine to caffeinated beverages, having a pleasant exchange with the employees there.
Returning to my unduly damp abode, I enjoyed a relaxing breakfast in the bright, if not warming, glow of winter sunshine. Energized, I contacted the Cleveland Heights housing department, who were quick to light a fire under my landlord, who soon changed his tune faced with official orders. Then my work day began.
As a small business owner, it's rewarding at the best of times, and a never-ending list of to-dos all the time. I'm not complaining. I enjoy the challenge, and I have surrounded myself with the region's most talented people to accomplish the job. Ten hours later, having skipped lunch, I was famished.
My comfort zone can be found at 2299 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. There, at Brennan's Colony, a cozy bar and restaurant, timeless decor and an affable staff awaits. As does my favorite cheeseburger in the city: a one half-pound, nicely seasoned patty cooked exactly as ordered, topped with gooey Swiss, sweet tomato slice, onion and crisp lettuce, in a buttered bun. Add a side of fries, and a pint of Guinness. It's consistently comforting.
In the end, it's the little things. It's a simple trip to a neighborhood hardware store to solve a problem. It's finding a well-smeared bagel and tea to get your day going. It's finding that perfect burger indulgence to bookend your day. It's interacting with fellow Clevelanders with an innate sense of understanding. It's why I'd rather have a bad day in northeast Ohio than anywhere in the world. Plain and simple.