Monday, May 21, 2012

Manic Monday/Hoorah for Cleveland!

I officially have a new appreciation for that song after seeing how today went. I woke up feeling like I got no sleep at all, probably because it was about 85 degrees in the bedroom (which was a good reminder to call my uncle about this air conditioner he's going to give me). I poured myself a nice big cup of coffee (read: 8 ounces. Pretty much all I can digest without flying off the walls, even when I'm half-asleep, half-dead). Usually I can drink work coffee black because Chris C buys it from Caribou, but I think this stuff was far past its prime. It tasted, I kid you not, a little bit like pickles. A ton of creamer later, it wasn't so bad.

As I finished one of my assignments and e-mailed it to my supervisor, I went to the kitchen to rinse out my coffee cup. I came back to find this on my screen:

("System error, hard disk failure detected") (plus 20 other error balloons)

Huh?! I closed out of about 19 of those error balloons and hit "scan and repair." This is what the scan came back with:

A toasted hard drive. Then I saw the little "repair 7 items" button at the bottom of the window. After I clicked it, the screen said "You must buy full version of this software in order to proceed." Uh, no thanks. So I talked to our CFO (and resident computer-whisperer), who e-mailed our off-site IT repair guy, who said he would work on it remotely. Suddenly, my computer shut down on its own and restarted. Thinking our IT guy was working on it, my hopes perked up. Nope, just the Windows login screen asking for my username and password. I entered it, and within seconds this appeared:

Wah, wah, wah, wah.

Then I got a call from the front desk. It was our other intern, Shauntina, asking if I was going to this luncheon the company was sponsoring. When I told her I wasn't invited, she told me that our CEO, Rob, hinted to her that we should probably (definitely) go. Awesome! I can get away from my brick of a computer and talk to Clevelanders about our company (although what on earth would I say?). As Shauntina and I walked through the Renaissance Hotel, we stopped along the mirrored hallways to brush our hair, check our teeth, and wish helplessly that we were wearing nicer clothes. As we walked up the carpeted stairs, I realized this was no charity luncheon with about 20 or 30 guests like I thought it was. No, this was the "Greater Cleveland Business Leader's Conference" with about 200 of the biggest names in the Cleveland business scene, taking place in the vaulted ballroom of the Renaissance Cleveland.

Am I even supposed to be here?

There was little time to ponder that as Rob whisked us into the ballroom and pointed out our tables. We were the third row from the stage, about 20 feet away, and my seat was literally right in front of a live news camera. I was glad I stopped to brush  my hair.

The food was spectacular. Veal dappled with an herb that I sadly could not place (but looked a lot like wild clover?), rice, and cooked carrots and yellow pepper. Dessert was a vanilla-bean cheesecake with a caramel icing and white chocolate chips sprinkled on top. I only stopped eating because I thought I would get overstuffed (and who wants to get sick in front of a live news camera?). If the cameras, big-time Cleveland business leaders, location, and food weren't enough, our discussion moderator took the stage:

David Gregory from Meet the Press. And he was 20 feet away from me. I don't know if star-struck was the right word; more like just "struck." This was definitely no simple charity luncheon like I thought. This was a full-scale, live-broadcast discussion with a panel of Cleveland's most influential leaders on how Ohio, a crucial swing state, will play into the upcoming election, and how we can keep the forward momentum of Cleveland going.

The discussion was incredibly fascinating and, surprisingly, very uplifting. Clevelanders have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and have an unquenchable passion for our city that will keep bringing an ongoing chain of construction, business, revenue, revival, and residents to Downtown. We're moving forward as a city and as a people- sure, there are a good number of recent college graduates like myself that are fleeing the state for greener pastures (like where? New York City? Good luck losing yourself in a sea of 8 million people) and warmer weather (don't call us crying when a [fill in natural disaster here] comes). But like it or not, for us and them, this is home. And I've stubbornly decided to stay here. So have a lot of people. This Rust Belt Renaissance is real, and Cleveland will rise again. And as David Gregory himself said, "I know you've all known this for a while, but Cleveland rocks."

Amen. And wow. I left feeling like I had just left a pep rally (minus the annoying forced cheers and football team parade and...basically everything about a high school pep rally). Shauntina and I talked the entire way back about how true it all was, how excited we are to be working in Cleveland, and how Downtown is changing so fast, and that we're really lucky to be here when it happens.

As we set our stuff down on our desks, I remembered I had forgotten all about this:

Oh, well. It is Monday, after all.

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