you are what you…somewhere, part 1

food is on my brain (or in, or in my brain). once, when i was just on-the-verge-pubescent, and i’d gone over to mow my grandma’s lawn, she opened the door and said “boy you are going to be a tall glass of water”. i was thinking about that today (and smiling) (and how i didn’t understand what in the hell she meant) and food symbols,  and somehow it lead me back to my skyline post, long planned. little trumpeted.

skyline is a total metonym, my favorite metonym, for cincinnati-ness. when people ask me why i delve the city, i go back to this moment as a child, sitting in the montgomery parlor, where somehow i became aware that things people do in this city are not the same as in other cities; it wasn’t just unsited-sitcom-forever land. PLACE = DIFFERENCE. it wasn’t that big a moment, and i do believe i’m fabricating the skyline setting, but there was a 60 watt somewhere there.

it's a stand-in, or physical representative, of "cincinnati"-ness

it's a stand-in, or physical representative, of "cincinnati"-ness

anyway. recently i had an idea, as an anthropologist, for a field working (hardworking) site. i feed off of cincinnati [OH I AM GOING TO SLATHER ON THE FOOD IMAGERY — I HAVEN’T WRITTEN IN A WHILE AND MY HEAD FEELS STIFF, SO THIS WILL KICK START ME I HOPE], or more accurately this bubbly cincinnati-ness. so i thought – HEY, what about those skyline restaurants in florida? i bet my bottom dollop i can access that somehow and maybe dig into that ellusive sense of displaced urbanity of midwestern/great lakes/southern (eat all [ this is my best so far: “eat all” for “et al”]) ex-pats. obviously they are leaving the rusting belt, but what do they thinking do? CLEVER ELEGANT DELECTABLE

skyline [dot] com has one of those Leave-Us-Your-Story things,* sadistically called Skyline Nation. well if we are a nation, i wanted to meet our emigrants. TO SKYLINE (i just don’t want to see money here. not because it isn’t there–i know it’s a market ploy for a mail order biz–but i just don’t want to think about it today) ABROAD.

well, obviously i didn’t board a plane. [but that’d of been cool. what an adventure vacation!]. and for a little bit i dropped it – but then i thought – google that shit, immediately [2 searches = CO2 emmissions of an electric kettle boiling water! ooOOOOOOoooo {BBC 2009}].

i planned to look at the restaurant reviews and see a cache of Cinci food ferment, in the vein of what you see on the skyline website, where people cry about how terrible life is in indianapolis, detroit, or iraq, and thank god they can get skyline in cans.

well that was a no-go. in fact what i found was a kind of disconcerting middle-class fleetingness across a suburban post-fordist landscape.

actually, no FL, i’m going to quote some from cleveland area, because it was more, egh, bland:

5706 Mayfield Rd, Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio 44124 <<>>  (by the historic Greens of Lyndhurst)

  • your normal-expected-ho hum-joe-shmoe-hamburger-with-nothing-on-it review:

“small. Not your normal tasting chili. I was disappointed. I didn’t like it at all. Lots of ginger in chili.”

  • but it was more one’s like these:

“I lived in Cincinatti for 3 years and lived on the stuff! You must get the 3-way with pasta, chilli, and cheese. The atmosphere is perfect for kids and the food is extremely cheap! It’s not the healthiest choice but something everyone should indulge in once and a while. Trust me, you will become addicted to this place! Amazing!”

or from 4752 Ridge Rd Cleveland, OH 44144 <<>&gt;

“Ok i lived in Cincinnati for 8 years as a young adult! This was the only place to go after the bars were closed! But seriosly, the chili has such a unique flavor that you will soon be hooked! I go to the store often to buy the cans of the chili also- its almost as good as fresh!!! A five way!!!! I’m reminiscing!! I ate alot of those and now enjoy the chili on spagetti at home.”

in the first one they do that classic no-no, misspelling cincinnnati, but for both of them it’s clear that skyline/cincinnati was a phase, that they’re kind of re-living. it’s like if someone was on Real World Cincinnati (oh god please make), and X amount of years later they pop a video in to relive something.

in general, from these reviews there are surprisingly few ex-pat “Cincinnatians, and many of these transitory figures. “4 years here, 7 years there”. i don’t know why, but it was unexpected. it depressed me when i originally looked into it 2 months or so ago. and the locations of the skylines are in the most far-flung strip mall locales, like above (^), supposedly there’s a skyline back there. i went to a strip mall skyline like this in indianapolis, it was not fun. they had a salad bar. i felt like my “community” ideas were being eaten by anonymity.

i found the same stuff for florida, though i have some additional observations for FL that i will reserve.

well, if the “cincinnatian ex-pat” is a myth is the “cincinnatian” a myth?! is the “cincinnatian” dead?!? OR SMIRKING SMILING let’s reinvent. let’s frankenstein, because that’s always neater. look, the valuable thing i’ve been able to take away from this is that it undermines seriously the conception of CITY <—> CITIZEN (native). which is good, because we can always use more theoretically flexible or processual objects. so, down with the native, up with the shifting and uncertain

*personal disclaimament: my sister won a t-shirt for one of those

let’s write with no blushes



Filed under sky me fly me

3 responses to “you are what you…somewhere, part 1

  1. Dear Mr. Skyline,
    I love you, but I hate Cincinatti. I don’t care if I spelled it right or not. 😛

    See you soon!

  2. janet (ex-eaaf)

    raymond, hello!

    i like the photo where you hold up the delicious heap of cheap cheddar….yes, the mayfield road location is my skyline. whenever we go home we eat there (part of a whole list of places where we must eat when we go home). food symbols for sure. i am going to tell d. and our friend who is also a skyline fanatic to Leave Their Stories, especially if there’s possibly a tshirt in it.

    hope you are well,

    janet s.

  3. oh wow that is bizarre. your comment is making me re-think or expand things somewhat. hm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s