The city skyline sparkles below the top deck at the Mount Adams Pavilion, where the Milford High School class of 1999 is having its 10-year reunion. The lovely sight causes a sudden wave of emotion to wash over me. (Maybe the $2 Miller Lites had something to do with it, too.)
I turn to my old classmate Janet, who moved away for college and never came back. "You know - it's exciting living here."
"Yeah?" she says. Janet lives in New Jersey, probably no more than a half-hour train ride from one of the most incredible cities in the world. I'm not sure I can really convey to her the type of excitement Cincinnati offers. Especially not with those Miller Lites stunting my vocabulary. But I try.
"It's like ... it's like we're constantly on the verge of something really great. It's amazing seeing it happen." Janet smiles, and I decide that's enough boosterism for one night.
But seriously, guys. Think of how much this city has grown and changed in the past five or six years. When I started working downtown on an evening shift in 2003, the streets and Fountain Square were empty. I often got dinner from the vending machine just to avoid the ghost-town feel outside. The Main Street bar district was still the primary reason to visit Over-the-Rhine.
(And the other interns and I met every Tuesday at Inn The Wood for 50-cent draft night. And then Inn The Wood was razed. So there is that.)
And I know that a certain local issue is leading to a lot of talk right now (and not just in Cincinnati) about how resistant to change we still are - and those people have a point. But from my (admittedly very limited) perspective, we've come a long way in a shockingly short time.
What will this city look like when MHS '99 has its 20th reunion? I don't know, but finding out is going to be really exciting.