A healthy relationship requires regular dates to keep the romance going. And a healthy relationship with your city requires the same thing.

The other day, I had some errands to run in Midwest City and decided that instead of taking the interstate from our OKC apartment, I’d take the back roads. I didn’t intend to make a date of it, but that’s what happened. I wasn’t looking to fall in love with Oklahoma City, but that’s what happened.

First I made my way over to some boutique shops that I’d seen the week before near our wedding site on Western, somewhere between 63rd Street and 39th Street. I needed some bridesmaids gifts and hoped to find some uniquely Oklahoman things there. I peeked into an antique store that oozed character, then an “urban western” store that sold cute dresses and rustic home décor, then a beads store that let you make any jewelry you desired. The most interesting however was an international goods store that sold a large amount of Cinco de Mayo-looking pottery, Native American jewelry, and Indian Christmas tree ornaments. I walked into the store and the shop owner’s 4-year old daughter immediately offered me a free pair of incense sticks; I left with a jade ring and a smile. Who knew you could find hippy children and colorful skull pottery in OKC?

Next I drove down 36th Street and saw military camo helicopters propped up on steel poles. Turned out, it was a museum I’d not yet heard of. And there were two other museums right next to it that I also hadn’t heard of. Without knowing what happened to me, I started imagining what fun it would be to take our future children here. I was already planning field trips ten years down the road from now.

I rolled the windows down, took in the sunlight and air, and eagerly watched both sides of the roads for the next surprise. It was mostly green grass and old buildings from there on out, but I loved it anyway.

I ended at my destination of a greenhouse in someone’s back yard that sold me succulents. The owner surpassed my expectations. I had ordered 100 baby succulents to give as party favors at my upcoming wedding. I expected small things that barely grew a leaf, but instead they were a full array of blooming rosettes, puffy sprouts, and pretty pale greens. And she even threw in a few extras at a negotiated lower price. (She didn’t even try to rob me when I mentioned they were for a wedding.) Who doesn’t love that kind of feel-at-home customer service?

 

I could have gone driving for more adventures. In the end however, I had a fiancé who was waiting for me at home. I missed him and couldn’t wait to tell him about my exploration, and so I finally went home via the interstate.

It was funny, though, that day. I never expected that a little alone time in my car driving around could make me love OKC so much more. I encourage you to do the same in your city. Take a car alone, drive around, and see if it makes you happier about your present life and where you live.

Also, especially if you live in OKC, let me know what you find.

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