i attended a grantwriting seminar or class or whatever you call it in pittsburgh this week. driving anywhere in pittsburgh is a nightmare and it basically has solidified my growing conviction that i'm just not a "big city" kind of guy.
driving in any big city [and i consider places the size of madison or greater as big cities] can always be troublesome but, in pittsburgh's case, this congestion is magnified by the fact that all the ways into or out of the city involve crossing a couple of bridges that, frankly, are simply not up to the task of serving the sheer numbers of people involved. the only day of the week that didn't take me an hour or more to leave the city was friday, when we were finished by 1 p.m. - and it took me 15 minutes to go from downtown to the airport Half-Price Books, a journey approximately four times the length of my previous end-of-day commute to my crappy, crappy hotel [which was paid for by my employer, so i don't know why i'm complaining...] which means that i accomplished the same task in something like, what, a sixteenth of the time? [four times the distance in one fourth the amount of time?]
i'm not a mathematician, but a tiny fraction of the time, at any rate.
anyhow, hear are some of the things that the 16 other strangers [two of my classmates knew each other previously] said to me at one point or another during the week:
"Do you mind if I ask how old you are?" [i actually got that one twice.]
"It didn't occur to me until right now but... you wear your hair in a mohawk when you're not in the office, don't you?"
and, "I really like your outfits - they're so snazzy!" [i wore a suit once and a tie every day except the last, when i did wear a sport coat. the only other guy to show up in a tie stopped wearing one after lunch of the first day.]
the other thing that bugged me about pittsburgh, besides the traffic congestion and the high cost-of-living and the frankly preposterous amount by which they tax beer and alcohol [a twelve pack of Red Strip -on sale!- was, no shit, 20 bucks... a six-pack at the grocery store was not quite seven bucks last night here in WV - and this 20 bucks in pitt was the SALE PRICE, remember! and that was a bargain compared to what they wanted for shit like Coors [$23 for 12] or some exotic microbrews [one 12 pack was, seriously, $119. yeah - roughly ten bucks A BOTTLE, for a beer. i didn't run from the store gibbering in fear but it was close...] - no, my biggest complaint is that the brewers were playing the pirates for a three-night stretch in pittsburgh... and i couldn't find the game on television or even the fuckin' radio. what the hell?! yeah, i know the team's record sucks [although they somehow managed to sweep the damn brewers...] and everyone in town is still busy swaggering around about their latest super bowl win but to not even broadcast the games on local tv?
this is why no one cares about baseball anymore, bud selig!
and, yeah, with traffic and parking the hassles they were, i didn't even bother considering actually attending a game after about twenty minutes of my first night's ride to the hotel - by the time i checked in, i just wanted to lay on the bed and grit my teeth for a while. and then i found a dumb movie on cable when i couldn't find the game, so i watched that. no, i don't remember what the movie was - it was dumb.