Friday, June 22, 2007

The Prodigal Returns

Sorry for not providing an update yesterday, buy by the end of the day, I had walked about...five miles, and I could barely move. I still feel like I was rode hard and put away wet.

And before I go any further, props to my company for offering domestic partner benefits.

Now, then, my trip.

My day started at 9:30 Wednesday morning. That was the last time before 11 last night that I slept. I left Baton Rouge around 4:30, which was about a half hour later than I wanted to. It was no big deal, though, because there was no traffic. I parked in a lot and waited by my car for the shuttle to pick me up. The plane was a little late in leaving, but nobody was sitting next to me - bonus. Sitting behind me however was a family on their way to Pittsburgh for vacation. They were having the most ridiculous coversation about nothing that I have ever heard.

The plane was few minutes late getting into Philadelphia, and I was in the back of the plane. I had less than 50 minutes to make my connection, and I had never been in the Philly airport before (it is a pit, by the way). So I sped through the airport, covering about a mile in 15 minutes, including two moving sidewalks (still hate those things).

On the way to Pittsburgh, who should I be sitting by but the inane conversation family. Conversation was still inane, but this time it was about airplane manufacturers. For an hour straight.

We got into Pittsburgh, and I went to baggage claim. It was taking a long time to get there, so I went to the rental car company. Who should be there by inane family. I got my keys, then got my bag, then went to the car. It is a yellow Chevy Cobalt. Strike that one from the list of cars I might buy when I buy a new one. It is really cramped, and the seat is too high and puts my foot in an awkward position when I have to step on the pedals. Plus, I don't know how to work all the bells and whistles. Do they even make cars any more that don't have power anything?

Anyway, by this time I was ravenous (I hadn't eaten all day) so I went to Panera and had chicken salad sandwich. I used to think they made the best chicken salad sandwhiches, and had romanticized it a bit. Now, though, they are down to number three in my mind behind La Madeleine and Bistro Byronz (Byronz would be first if they didn't put cranberries in it).

I had some time to kill before my hotel room was ready, so I drove around my old neighborhood. It was weird. Aside from being more run down, it is pretty much exactly the same. Even the potholes haven't changed. But it felt...small somehow. It never did when I was a kid. And I don't know if I mean that it felt physically small. In fact, I'm pretty sure I don't. I think I mean felt like it represented a part of me that isn't so much there now. Let me see if I can explain.

I was the only one in my neighborhood to go away to college. Everybody else who went stayed local. The other people in my high school to go away mostly went to IUP, which might have been called "Langley East" (of the 50% of my class to go onto higher education (about 100), about 20 people went to IUP.). I went away, and it was good. Every time I came home, it seemed like I had changed and no one else did. It was unsettling.

Now that I have moved beyond the western corner of Pittsburgh on a permanent basis, it feels like that on a city-wide basis. Not that Baton Rouge is some cosmopolitan Mecca, but I've been exposed to a whole lot of other things down there, and I have fundamentally changed. I guess that is reflected in my perception of the city.

I have more thoughts on this, but I need time to formulate them.

Last night, I went to the exhibit at Phipps Conservatory. It was awesome. I took about 140 pictures. I would have taken more, but my batteries started to run out, and I had to wait about 2 minutes between pictures for the batteries to charge.

Today, I hurt, but I'm going sightseeing a little bit this afternoon. I leave you with one of the pictures I took last night. I'm planning to put up a Flickr slide show when I get home, so stay tuned.

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