Friday, September 09, 2005

one whole day in Pittsburgh, and still no sign of Jordan Catalano

i'm so tired right now, i don't even know where to start. i've also about written myself out, having hand-written almost 10 pages in my journal since yesterday afternoon. but i'll fill in the big stuff.

trouble started in dallas. my 5:35 flight out didn't end up taking off until almost 8:00, b/c some part had to replaced in the cockpit. this is the second time i've flown with American Airlines and my flight has been messed up. V, can you do anything about this? so i get into Pittsburgh around midnight, and after a 25 minute, and $40 cab ride later, arrive at my hotel, not in the nicest part of town. it's not bad, but a block away are a bunch of empty, broken-windowed, Brownstone-type buildings that loom pretty large and black and sketchy at night. but it's fine. the hotel itself is beautiful. and creepy as hell. but beautiful. it's a huge, old, Victorian mansion, 3 floors, with mile-long hallways straight out of The Shining. it also appears to be totally empty except for me. and i'm on the 3rd floor, right in the middle of one of the gushing-blood, ghost-twin-infested hallways. if i see any little toddlers with bad bowl-cuts riding a tricycle down the hall, i'm so outta here. or if i see Jack Nicholson. that's just scary, regardless. the only sign i've seen so far of any other occupants was one woman in the dining room at breakfast this morning. i also noticed tonight when i was walking home that my hotel is right off of Lacock Street. i actually laughed out loud to myself in the dark, abandoned underpass i was walking through. and i tried to take a picture, but it was too dark. then i scurried away so i wouldn't get mugged and shot for the $20 in my wallet. perhaps tomorrow i'll get a picture.

i can't sleep to save my life, so i don't end up passing out until almost 4, and i have an 8:00 wake-up call, b/c they stop serving free breakfast at 9. and even the 4 hours i have are fitful, and fraught with disturbing dreams about the hotel itself. weird men in loincloths in the fetal position are scattered everywhere, and i'm stepping over them, and i vaguely understand it's some weird sexual thing, but i have no idea what, and i'm totally creeped out, then one of them grabs my ankle and laughs and i wake up, my heart racing. i also read Kafka on the entire plane ride up here, and found it totally engrossing, but appalling. i think that's what inspired the dream. so i have a hearty, complimentary breakfast, and set out to see Pittsburgh. i walk across the 9th street bridge into downtown and immediately get totally lost. well, not lost, exactly, but displaced. and my heart is sinking. the downtown of this city is totally dead. it's worse than Dallas, I think. so after about 3 hours of wandering around, i finally end up in Oakland, on the East Side, where UP and Carnegie Mellon are.

after this, not much happens. i visit the Carnegie Museum, which is lovely, poop in the UP library, have lunch at a really greasy diner, rated #1 in the city, called Pamela's Restaurant, where i'm waited on by a charming young woman who reminds me strongly of a black version of Collier. i walk all over Squirrel Hill, which is the main residential neighborhood of Oakland (think Hyde Park with lots more hills and shops), where i pass a lovely bookstore's windows and get really excited, b/c i've been trying to find "Brokeback Mountain" by Annie Proulx and can't anywhere, then get supremely pissed off when i realize I'm drooling over a Barnes & Noble. i was so irrationally angry about it, you have no idea. but luckily, a block away, there's a new, modern library with totally glass front walls looking out onto the street. i decide to kill some time in the library, find the book "Brokeback Mountain" is in, read it, then want to die. how can a 40-page short story encompass 2 men's entire lives and be so fucking devastating?!? i'm now VERY excited to see the movie.

anyway, there's still lots i didn't get to today. but i did actually navigate the bus system and land myself back downtown, so i didn't have to walk the 87 miles back, about which i was very proud of myself. i went to the Andy Warhol museum, which i liked a lot. i've never been a big fan of his before, but i think i have a new appreciation for him now. i bought a magnet with a picture of a very yound and striking Dennis Hopper wearing a cowboy hat on it. it's from a painting Warhol did of him. i was back at my hotel by 8:30, where i could barely even stand up in the shower, my legs hurt so bad from walking, so i didn't. i showered sitting down.

tomorrow there are 2 more neigborhoods i want to explore, and i want to do the Incline. then i think i'll be done, and ready to go. which is good, b/c i have to leave the day after that.

Pittsburgh is lovely, but honestly, i'm not charmed by it like i thought i would be. it doesn't seem to have a whole lot of character; it just seems sort of plopped down amid these majestic, beautiful hills, and that's the only reason anyone pays any attention to it. Austin is much more charming, though the people here have been extraordinarily friendly and kind. i was even smiled at on the street 3 separate times today by total strangers. and all 3 of them were cute girls. it's really too bad i'm not straight sometimes.


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Mandy said...

Oooh! You got your first spammy comment!!!

Sorry Pittsburgh isn't as charming as you would like, but at least you're out experiencing stuff. Please take a bunch of pictures of your creepy hotel - I'm intrigued!

Common Smartweed said...

Hey, what about the cute boys? Have you seen any?

ryan said...

i was actually just lamenting today about the lack of cute boys in this city, but i saw a whole bunch all in one place tonight, at the Mattress Factory. they were having some "event" involving some dude in political asylum from china reading poems in chinese while some other dude played a saxaphone over it. i stayed for awhile b/c i had nothing else to do, but it was really boring. also, there were like, 6 really cute boys there.