Roughly three months ago, I traveled approximately 2,500 miles from Columbus, Ohio to Portland, Oregon in a permanent move, accumulating five gigabytes to commemorate my old life and my three-day, butt-paralyzing trip across the United States. I waited to peel back the cellophane on my jpgs and videos until I missed the hell out of my former home, which happened surprisingly sooner than I thought it would. I left Columbus with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. The midwest capital felt homogenized and unambitious—a lowest common denominator of Americana whose flag should be a Crock-Pot backlit by a flatscreen TV running an endless football feed. (As an OSU alum, occasional Buckeye games are exempt). It can be a dumbly comfortable culture, erected around cookie cutter housing developments and cheap beer. But it also has some of the best human beings on the face of this planet who dissolve every syllable of the last three sentences with their collective presence.

It’s not enough to say that these people constitute the best parts of a city, but they also catalyze them. They sculpt its most memorable rooms with their personalities, and the only reason to be in those rooms when they’re not there is because those places still make you think of them.

I decided to carry my camera around for the past two weeks of my stay in the Columbus, taking pictures between drinks and banter. Those pictures can be found below. Caveat: there are folks I wish were below who didn’t make it in, either because I took meh pictures or timing didn’t work out. I also left family and old-school friends out, though a majority of them left the city at the same time I did.


Jenn
Legacy: A smile that could light the Mariana Trench, crafting a cocktail with dairy and Fruit Loops that’s deceptively delicious, managing the best bar/movie theater in Columbus


Zac
Legacy: Ingraining deeply-wrought melody and metal into the city, inspired facial hair, a one-man runway of Post-Victorian chic


Emmy & Eric
Legacy: Best married couple ever, co-hosting multiple five-star podcasts that I may or may not be a part of (Eric), a laugh that walks up the G-major scale (Emmy)


Scott
Legacy: Back-alley culture librarian/curator/evolver, video-editing comedian, damn fine photographer, DJ who will get you drunk off his sick beats


Rafael
Legacy: Channeling dreams into two dimensions, bound to make his kids jealous for his immaculate taste in live music, inspired studio figurine selection


Rachel
Legacy: Devoting her life to rescuing four-legged family members waiting to happen, hilarious baby voice used with puppies/kitties/dumb photographers, perfect 90% eye roll when acknowledged as the top CEO in Columbus/existence 


Lauren
Legacy: Creating one of the most vulnerable, hilarious comics of our generation, sarcasm that could perforate kevlar, THIS, which obviously needs no exclamation or praise beyond its existence


Jodi
Legacy: Ukulele goddess, transporting your pysche back to childhood ice cream trucks via meticulous watercolor paintings, magical tours into the recesses of haunted movie theaters

 
Gib
Legacy: Runs the finest comic store in the United States, a voice that will probably announce your entry into heaven, majestic hugs, Hunter-Thompson-level life anecdotes


Jacob
Legacy: A human therapy dog for deflated-ego creatives, royal coffee sommelier, turn-of-the-century post-punk romanticist, flannel ambassador