Old Cities, Old Ladies
In 1990 I visited a client in Toledo. It seemed only United flew to Toledo so lacking competition they charged more for San Francisco to Toledo than SF to Berlin. Despite the client’s (and Medicare’s) willingness to pay it, my Scottish and German heritage could not handle it.
I took the Friday night redeye and made like a tourist on Saturday and Sunday. The savings on airfare because of Saturday night stay-over more than paid for the Saturday night hotel room and my weekend hamburgers. Toledo has, or had a first class museum thanks to Corning Glass and their founding family. On Monday I was surprised that no one at the agency had been to the museum. None lived in Toledo which I did understand.
The hotel was near downtown Toledo and Saturday night I walked downtown to look around. (The hotel clerk was horrified). NO ONE was downtown; no bars, no homeless, no strip clubs (ok I was looking for some life somewhere), no coffee shops, no apartments, NOT a living soul–but me. It reminded me of the city in the Charlton Heston movie, The Omega Man, or later the Will Smith movie, I am Legend, in both without any creatures but me. I found an old boarded up huge Macy’s that must have been 4 or 6 floors, or more (1918-1983 then vacant until 1996).
The tour of downtown Toledo was a weird and sad experience. Later I would experience similar feelings when visiting Detroit, Buffalo and Amsterdam, New York. It was like visiting an old lady who may remember her youth of energy, parties, flirting with everyone and dancing all night. And now lives poorly with only memories for comfort.