The Problems with Living in Pittsburgh

Here’s the short version: the roads, the weather, and the blue-collar mentality. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Everywhere’s got at least three problems…

Long version:

As ever, I know that once I move, I’m going to eventually start thinking about how much easier life would be if I were only back in Pittsburgh. Preemptively countering that inevitability, I present this list of reality-checking realities.

  • Winter, in particular: snow-melt-freeze, snow-melt-freeze.
  • Perpetual gloom.
  • The mail system, in particular:
    • My neighborhood mail carriers who:
      • Kept trying to deliver mail to me that was intended for people living on McIlhenny (a block away) because they, I don’t know, can’t read good.
      • Mangled my mailbox and pulled it halfway off the house by trying to jam an Amazon box that didn’t fit into it into it.
      • Would not, under (apparently) any circumstances, take outgoing mail that I left in my box.
    • The Oakland Post Office that on multiple occasions found (unstated) reasons not to deliver rent checks I cut for ward members.
  • Service sector employees.
    • The Shop and Save cashier who scolded me for not telling her I was going to ask for change back before she went and emptied her till at the front desk.
    • The Andy Warhol Museum employees staring daggers when we had the audacity to still be there two minutes after closing.
  • Neighborhood dogs.
  • The neighbors diagonal from my house that couldn’t not be loud.
    • The after-market made-to-sound-broken muffler on the kid’s ’97 Accord.
    • The vulgar shouting matches.
    • And, well, their dogs in particular.
    • I’m sure they’re nice people on their day.
  • Casual racism.
    • “We couldn’t send our kids to the public schools because of the blacks.”
    • In post office line moving slowly, with a Chinese couple taking a long time completing their transaction: “They shouldn’t even be in this country.”
  • Pot holes everywhere.
  • Walking from the church parking lot to the business school building in the rain/sleet/snow/wind/oppressive heat/oppressive humidity.
    • Motor vehicle denialism is alive and well at Pitt.
  • City buses running red lights and traveling the wrong direction on Fifth Avenue.
  • Driving from my house to anywhere, really. Especially:
    • Squirrel Hill
    • South Hills
    • The 376.
  • Inexplicable traffic:
    • On the 376 going through Robinson.
    • Trying to get to the 376 from campus (Bates Street backed up for 45 minutes).
    • Going through any tunnel.
  • The inability of the cashier at the Duquesne Incline to give change. Especially when the price went to $2.15 and the change machine only gave out quarters.
  • Difficulty in finding non-oily construction contractors.
  • Second Ward.
    • No laughter during Elders Quorum.
    • The tsunami in Japan was God’s punishment for their sins.
  • Everything rusts.
  • The sidewalk from the down-in-the-hole parking lots from which Pitt cleared the snow and ice from only a part.
  • Pot holes!
  • Regressive property taxes. Actually regressive.

It’s been a few years. I can publish this now.