There\’s a really cute little article on Pittsburgh\’s rock bands in the Washington Post today. Damn, so nostalgic.
P came to the party last weekend, and as usual we spent a great deal of the night discussing Pittsburgh and porn. Same old story about how happy he is to be out of da burgh, how it\’s such a stifling city, how everyone there is an amateur, how the art scenes are nothing but drunk Pitt drop outs with no talent, how the clubs and music all suck and nothing interesting ever happens.
\”Dude, did we even live in the same city?\”
\”Nah, I don\’t think so — you seemed to have hung in a totally different scene than I did.\”
But the thing is, I really didn\’t. We went to all the same places, moved in more or less the same crowds, went to the same sort of parties and shows, but we both took something very different from it. Whereas he saw small town, no talent, small minded, old and boring sprawl, I saw growth, opportunity, new voices, cheaper living, an easier economy, energy, and people inspired by their limited opportunities that came from growing up in a non-big city environment.
(Side note: Once when I was in the town market/post office/bus station in Cresson, PA, a little town off the Appalachian Trail with a population of 1,500 people, a woman asked me where I was from and where I was going. I said I was coming from Pittsburgh and that I was headed to DC. She replied, and I quote, \”Pittsburgh! I\’ve only been to Pittsburgh once. Now that was a really big city. But DC, I\’ve never been to DC. Do you live near the Capitol?\” It is worth noting that the nearest \”big\” city to Cresson is Pittsburgh, which is 100 miles away, and Pittsburgh\’s population is only 350,000. DC, which is 200 miles away, has a population of 550,000 [2000 Census].)
[It is potentially my mission in life to get people to realize that you cannot see the Capitol from most of DC and that this city is more than just high fallutin\’ gov\’t, but now that I live within sight of the Capitol from my bedroom window and the government has given me more than $200 in parking tickets in the last week, I\’m not sure that I care anymore.]
P likes DC much better. In his mind there are far better option in restaurants, shopping, clubs, music, and art — you know, the \”important\” things in life. Of course, he\’d much rather move to New York, which he plans to do eventually. Don\’t we all? Yeah, there is a part of me that would like to move to New York; I started fetishizing the city at the age of 12 when I started fetishizing sex, drugs, and rock\’n\’roll. While none of it is a fetish any longer, I have now fallen into the trap of \”oooh, I want to move to New York so I can delve into the history, the beautiful surroundings, lose myself among the millions of people, and write.\” Anonymity here in DC, like in Pittsburgh, is impossible unless you plan on never leaving your apartment (as I\’ve taken to doing). I\’ve moved from being the teenage clichÃ© to the 20-something stereotype: I still want to move to New York and be an \”artist.\” Ha. Ha. Ha. (Actually, I think what is more appealing is the thought of being able to completely disappear inside of a city, never to be heard from again, like my cousin who disappeared into the Lower East Side in the \’80s, and has not willingly made contact with the family since. Very, very appealing.)
But like the old adage says about New York, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. I already know I wouldn\’t \”make it\” in New York. Far too stressful and frightfully expensive. I need space, to live among trees and not hear traffic in my home, and an abundance of natural sunlight. Not to mention a low cost of living. So I ain\’t moving to New York, no matter how much I want to drown myself in Bowery girl history. Damn Eastern for getting me hooked on a fix I can never satiate. The drugs don\’t work for this particular problem.
But yeah, the DC thing… I adore getting into my car for work and exploring new places I haven\’t seen before. Getting lost among all the old houses and quaint old ads. Seeing all the people at the bus stop. (\”Big city\” residents are supposed to be beautiful, but lordy, the people in DC — real Washingtonians — have character. Fuck beauty. That\’s some personality.) All the greenery, everywhere — absolutely everywhere there are trees. The gravel pits and train yards of Northeast. Gravel pits, dump trucks, fried chicken stands. South of the Mason Dixon line glory with much less of the racism. But all the poverty… I\’ve seen poor people from Seattle to Chicago to DC, but there\’s something so striking about poverty in a high income area. It\’s so much more scarring of the psyche. More creative in it\’s destruction.