I'm of the belief that one can only get a sense for where one has decided to live by checking it out at night. If you'd done that with my two previous homes, in Cheswick and Meadville, the results were pretty similar. Most people are asleep. In Meadville, there was some activity at the 24-hour Super Walmart*, but not much anywhere else and the activity that was at the Walmart was mostly cleaning crews and the greeter guy. Russelton had roads that led to diners, which were open and serving people that had just jaunted over from the Blue Haven Lounge. Both places I've spent many a 3 am in, and it was kind of subdued. Which is fine. It flowed with the particular makeup of those settings, and I wouldn't have traded it for anything. In Edgewater, even, mostly things are shut down. The 24 hour Dominicks had some activity (mostly a woman named winifred who also worked at another 24 hour Dominicks at Howard), and then not much. Some crowd from Sizzle, but it was rather small, as I believe Sizzle closed at 2. Now, I'm living in Lincoln Park. Most people I've said that to immediately jump to the "Oh, yuppietown" end, though that didn't play into my decision to jump on this place. What played into that decision was the fact that it's midway between UIC and NOrthwestern, had affordable rent, and I really just wanted to be done with the damn Apartment People. So there's that. Tonight, I decided to take a quick half-hour walk (from which I've just returned) to get a feel for what Lincoln Park is like after 3, specifically on Clark between Diversey and Fullerton.
It's like drama incarnate, which is to say "very much like college." I passed one breakup, a few "playfully throwing water bottles at you" scenes, TWO couples having the "defining our relationship" talk, both of which seemed headed for "breakup 2 and 3" status and one of which was being conducted tearfully over a mailbox, lines out the door and around the corner at the few eateries that were still open (most concentrated: Angela's Burrito Style, which sounds and looks like it would be kind of good if not for the throng of drunken 25-year-olds in Polo shirts and if the guy making the food would put on a damn hairnet or something. Bathe or something.) There was a thick group huddled around the entrance to Frank's, which appeared to be the only after-hours bar on my short little trip, bouncers at Frank's trying to convince the would-be customer-at-the-front-of-the-throng that he's probably had enough for the night and that people are actually starting to merge physically with the wall due to overcrowding, some annoying people in a Stretch Hummer (imagine that! and one dude who yelled "do you want me to drive over and pick you up" into a cell phone immediately before walking dead into a wall. I've also become convinced that the phrase most often drunkenly screamed into a cell phone is "don't leave," followed closely by "We're coming over, stay there." One gentleman said "howyreadoin" at me with a nice smile, and at least seven people just walked the hell into oncoming traffic-entirely-composed-of-taxis, two of which were trying to hail an already occupied taxi on a cross street, ignoring the endless line of taxis that had almost hit them. I imagine the taxi drivers are pretty used to that though, and are probably artists with a brake pedal. I walked by the Blockbuster, and mournfully thought of the card I'll never use again, and then came home to talk to the security woman in the lobby about how damn busy the building had been tonight, apparently.
I look forward to taking this 3am walk thing up as my most recent sport.
On a completely unrelated note, I'd like to say "Rest in Peace" to Mayor Bob O'Connor, who assumed the office in January of this year, was diagnosed with a rare lymphoma in July and passed away Friday evening. I wasn't in Pittsburgh for his tenure, so I don't know how he had started to affect the city (or how much he could have affected the city in the 6 months before he was diagnosed and entered treatment), but he seemed, from all accounts, to be a good man. I'd also like to say "good luck" to Luke Ravenstahl, the new 26-year-old Mayor of Pittsburgh, who has the most awesome name in the history of Mayoring, in addition to being the youngest mayor in Pittsburgh history. Hopefully, he can live up to what many think Mr. O'Connor would have been able to accomplish if not for the tragedy of his illness.
*It's entirely possible that "24-hour Super Walmart" is redundant.