I have a tendency to brag on Oklahoma City like a first-time grandmother, but ya’ll, it is well deserved. Here’s the thing: Imagine what it would be like to live in a great city while it was still becoming. In a documentary I watched recently, one of the commentators told a story about an old woman who was interviewed on the occasion of the moon landing. “This is great,” she said, “but it is nothing compared to the excitement of the day they opened the Brooklyn Bridge.”
I’m not saying that Oklahoma City will soon rival New York, but the act of transformation itself is thrilling. And it is fast. I was only gone eight months, but nearly half of the things I did on my visit didn’t exist before I moved.
My favorite aspect of this transformation is the community it creates. Like a crowd at a fireworks show, you can hear the audible “Oooohs” and “Ahhhhs” everywhere you go. People are talking about Oklahoma City.
Because we were once lost together in a sea of KFC and Walmart, we herald the opening of every trendy taco place and vintage shop with collective enthusiasm. This isn’t San Francisco or Brooklyn or even Austin; we are still grateful.
The weekend I was there, so much was going on: Festival of the Arts, Normal Music Festival, the Memorial Marathon and the first playoff game between the Thunder and the Mavericks. On Sunday I went to a quiet, garden brunch with local foodies, then a second brunch where drag queens sang gospel.
Then I welcomed spring with my favorite pagans (no Maypole due to rain.) I sat on porches while storms rolled through, cheered the Thunder with thunder in my ears, kissed babies, ate an Indian taco and watched a t-ball game. I had a beer and answered emails on the patio at S&Bs and took a conference call over gelato at The Wedge. And while it is unfortunate we had to drive to the new pedestrian bridge over I-40, I did walk across it, and it was beautiful.