This afternoon I was scheduled to meet up with friends at a coffee shop in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. I don’t go to Shadyside often, so I printed out some directions, hopped in the car, and headed south.
About halfway there I realized that I’d taken the wrong route: I was on Route 8 rather than my planned Route 28. But I didn’t fret; the two hook up around the Highland Park Bridge, and the travel distance was just about the same.
So I got to the bridge, crossed, and stayed on Route 8 South. I checked my directions and saw that Google Maps had suggested I take some back roads, so once again I was off track. But again I didn’t worry, because I knew once I reached the intersection with Penn Avenue there would be signs to Shadyside, and I could figure it out from there.
It wasn’t until I parked and was walking to the meetup that I realized that I hadn’t needed the directions at all. I knew my way around yet another area of Pittsburgh.
In my past whenever I’ve realized I know how to get from here to there in an area, I’ve almost immediately moved away. It wasn’t that I wanted to be always lost; rather, it takes me a couple of years to get to know the back roads and alternate routes and connecting avenues anywhere, and it also happens to take me a couple of years to grow bored with a job and want to move on.
But past performance may not be indicative of future results.
I moved back to my hometown of Butler, PA in 1999, thinking I’d spend a few years here regrouping and figuring out what to do next in life. Nearly nine years later, I’ve discovered something that I want to do, and doing it means staying right here, creating great things with people throughout this area.
Western Pennsylvania is lovely. I like the pace of life; I love the rolling hills and green countryside; I dig the arts scene; I appreciate the cost of living; I curse the PLCB; and I wish I could convince more of my faraway friends to come visit, so I could take them on drives through the area and show off how cool this region is.
And I especially want to take everyone on drives now that I’m confident I know where I’m going.
(Check out other stories of Pittsburgh and this region at the Primary Pittsburgh Project.)