Last week, I bought a home in Lima.
Contrary to my need for nightclubs, penchant for wearing skinny jeans, love for public transit, lack of local ties and late-night lifestyle, I bought a home in Lima.
The decision surprised a lot of people, mainly my close friends and family, all of whom live out of state. And Iíve been asked to make my case for why I ó born in New York, raised in Arizona, softened in California and laid off in Chicago ó am committing to a little-known town in West Central Ohio.
So, here are some advantages Lima has over my previous places of residence.
Getting a pizza in Chicago
Youíd think in Chicago, a city known for amazing deep-dish pizza, getting a tasty slice would be a snap.
But last weekend, when the posse celebrating my birthday realized the next morning they had celebrated a little too much, I volunteered to pickup a hangover-curing pie.
By the time Iíd walked two blocks to my truck (a real challenge to park even in less-popular neighborhoods), Iíd gobbled up 10 minutes. Then came the drive. The round-trip ó including parking and one-way streets ó was 40 minutes. I was frustrated by traffic, tortured by the smell of mushroom stuffed deliciousness and worried about what my friends would say when I returned.
Could you imagine that sort of an ordeal in Lima?
When I want a pizza, I place a quick call to Beer Barrel on Market Street, hop in my garaged truck, zip down the road and swoop through the drive-through. And while Iím there, I can pick up beer and groceries. The pizza is always hot, delicious and served with a smile.
Top that, Windy City.
Drinks in New York City
A whiskey and Coke on the Lower East Side costs $8. I probably could stop there, but Iíll go on.
Iíve had to talk my way through velvet ropes, only to find myself in a near-empty bar with terrible service.
Iíve tried to party at nightclubs that played what seemed to be one endless, droning song for hours.
And Iíve been told by my New York friends (hip kids, rest assured) the cool thing to do is find a little neighborhood bar thatís not too crowded and have the bartender know your name. A few friends show up, you put some tunes on the jukebox, and itís a nice night out.
And Iíve told them that can happen on any night in almost any bar in Lima.
I live within walking distance from The Chateau and have spent many a Buckeyes game at Mulligans.
Drink up, Big Apple.
Weather in Phoenix
Itís simple math: Lima has four seasons. Phoenix has two, if youíre being generous.
Sure, we get a little snow and freeze for months. And sure, Arizona is the place people go for sunny skies and dry air.
But I lived in Arizona 18 years and never saw the hysteria that grips the Midwest on the first warm day of spring: Old men in Bermuda shorts the day we crack 50 degrees and women wearing next to nothing because they spent one too many days in a parka and boots.
There are other reasons Lima is my new home: the low cost of living, the proximity to many great American cities, a terrific festival season and intensely friendly people.
Not to mention the best newspaper you ever have read.