I am new to Lakewood, having recently emigrated here from Broadview Heights. Lakewood is an intriguing place for me. It’s interesting, it’s different, it’s exciting. Yet I realized when I moved in earlier this month that I am not accustomed to your ways.
For example, I have learned of something called a “duplex” which is what I moved into. Apparently, a duplex is where someone lives on the top floor – usually a tap dancer or a hip-hop artist – and someone lives downstairs. The person downstairs must be an expert in cooking foods whose scents have the power to permeate the ceiling, causing the people upstairs to get violently ill. As a downstairs duplex dweller, I am failing miserably as I have yet to find a way to cook peanut butter and jelly in such a way.
Living in a duplex is like living in the glorious 1940’s, a time when there was no central air conditioning and the best way to stay cool was to remain motionless until the sun went down. Moving into the duplex in July was a great way to experience this firsthand.
The temperature outside was a sizzling 97 while inside, it was a balmy 93. I have already sweated off my first 150 pounds and with any luck, I’ll lose enough weight to be able to slip between the floorboards to the cool dirt below the house.
When I’m not indoors, I like to hit the sidewalks to mingle with fellow Lakewoodians. But having come from the deep south of Cuyahoga County, I have to admit, there is much for me to learn before I can become one of you.
I discovered this the other day when I was made fun of because of my unique pronunciation skills. I was caught enunciating Cuyahoga as Cuy-a-hoaga. A nice man and his wife were walking by when I made this now-obvious faux pas.
“Hey you dolt, it’s Cuy-a-hawga, not Cuy-a-hoaga. You’re not from here, are you?”
I shook my head in deep shame.
“You speeka da Englash?” said the wife of the proud Cuyahogan. “You see honey? You have to talk slow and annunciate. That strange fellow looks dazed and confused. I mean, who else goes around town muttering Cuy-a-hoaga to himself anyway?”
Cuy-a-hooooga… Cuy-a-higga… Cuy-a-hoop-dee-do. No use… I must practice.
When I get back home, the temperature has mercifully dipped to 91 inside. I get back to the stove and cook up a batch of garlic and onion to put on my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don’t think it bothers the upstairs duplex dwellers though… they’re too busy tap dancing.