There is so much to love about Oklahoma City. Though we can't control where we're born, for the most part we get to make a decision on where to live as adults. Personally, I'm a lifelong Oklahoman and a satisfied Oklahoma City resident. As with most people I suppose, I enjoy many aspects of Oklahoma City but dislike plenty of others.
Let's start with the things to love...
It all starts with the people. There's a reason some in city government wanted to coin the slogan "The Big Friendly" for Oklahoma City. Like anywhere, the metro certainly has its share of jerks, but by and large, we are a kind, considerate and personable bunch, always willing to strike up a conversation and treat with respect. We rally to support those in hardship and, despite not exactly being wealthy in comparison to many areas of the country, we are among the leaders in charity. I absolutely love that Oklahoma spirit.
Its Dynamic Nature
It has been quite a ride in Oklahoma City since the original MAPS, and I would guess that few metropolitan areas can boast the incredible changes we've seen. What was once an average, if not declining, city is now major league. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. Each day seems to bring more changes, and I love it. New developments, new businesses, new city improvements... There's always something new. It truly is a renaissance time for Oklahoma City, and I only hope the momentum continues.
Everyone always gives me an odd look when I say it. Someone who studied English Literature and Theatre Arts in college is a sports fan? Absolutely, and I'm not ashamed. Best of all, Oklahoma City has plenty to offer in the sports department, an impressive array for a mid-size city. The Sooners are just down the road, the Dodgers play at one of the best minor-league venues in the country and, of course, we are home to the Oklahoma City Thunder. That's not even to mention the Softball Hall of Fame and exciting high school sports. Obviously, I have plenty to keep me busy.
Now don't take this to mean that I love everything about Oklahoma City's weather. No, no. Cold winter wind and roasting summer heat (See page 2) are not among the things I cherish in life, nor do I perk up with pleasure when Oklahoma tornadoes make their rounds. I do, however, enjoy the fact that we get all four distinct seasons here. While many areas have one dominant climate, we get to experience the turn of the seasons, from the spring rains to the colors of fall.
The Physical Geography
I often hear people complaining about how spread out everything is. Cars are a necessity in Oklahoma City, and it can definitely take a long time to get from one end of the metro to the other. But frankly, I love that about OKC. I love the variety in the unique communities and the fact that there's plenty of room to breathe. I love to visit New York City, Chicago and other large cities, but I don't think I'd enjoy living amongst the congestion of buildings, cars and people.
Of course, Oklahoma City is far from perfect. Though I'm very happy with the metro overall, there are plenty of things to dislike and wish were different. See page two for five things I hate about Oklahoma City.
Now that I've covered the five things to love about Oklahoma City, it's time to look at some of the things that aren't so great. Obviously the good outweighs the bad for me, or I probably wouldn't remain, but here are five things that I hate about living in Oklahoma City.
I've noticed that I tend to block out how much I truly hate the summer heat in Oklahoma City, like a traumatic life event that my conscious mind prefers not to address. But each June, those familiar feelings of misery come flooding back. I simply and absolutely hate the heat in Oklahoma City. Though I understand that other areas of the country might be hotter or more humid, that is no consolation to me as I struggle to keep my house cool each year. Perhaps it's just in my genetic makeup, but my desire to go out amongst the world is sucked immediately away when the July sun gets high in Oklahoma City.
Each time I travel, meet first-time visitors to the metro or even watch Oklahoma-centered movies and television shows, I'm struck by many of the misconceptions about our city and our state. Oh, I'm sure you've heard them. We apparently have little culture, are behind in all the world's technological advances and are undereducated. As our profile grows and outsiders get a chance to see what we have to offer, this is indeed getting better. But I hate the feeling of often having to defend Oklahoma City against these incorrect perceptions.
Perhaps the above is partially caused by some of our archaic laws, and one of the worst in my humble opinion is the regulation of alcohol sales in the state of Oklahoma. With some of the strictest laws in the nation, Oklahoma stipulates that grocery and convenience stores can only sell low-point beer. Thirty-five states allow wine to be sold in grocery stores, but movements to change the law in Oklahoma are frequently shot down by the state legislature. When this list was first written, I had the restaurant scene as one of the things I hate about OKC, but wonderful strides have been made there in recent years. I hope we can do likewise in an area such as this, not a partisan issue but to me, a common sense one.
While I recognize the number of lakes the metro possesses as well as the great beauty and scenery of spots such as Lake Hefner, it's difficult to ignore the fact that, for the most part, Oklahoma City is flat and wide, with plenty of red dirt to go around. Developments with city parks and the Oklahoma River help the overall landscape, but without the hills and greenery of eastern Oklahoma or the majestic rocked regions of the southwestern part of the state, central Oklahoma just isn't as picturesque as many places.
The Better City Debate
Oh, I'm definitely a competitive guy (See page 1 under "Sports"), and I have absolutely nothing against the friendly back and forth between residents of Tulsa and Oklahoma City, a drive to outdo the other that frequently results in great improvement. With a rivalry that stretches back many, many years, Tulsa and Oklahoma City inspire a distinct passion in their residents. But it's amazing to me how much actual vitriol exists in this better city debate. As a person who has lived in both, I see the two as teammates rather than combatants. Unfortunately, based on some of the e-mails I see, forum messages I read and people I speak with, not everyone agrees with me, and I find it, frankly, a bit silly. Do other states possess such situations with their largest cities? I honestly don't know, but I hate to see us degrade one another when we should feel nothing but pride for a couple of wonderful cities.
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