Pittsburgh Shitsburg? Part I
“There’s a reason they call it Shits-burgh…I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you.”
As I hung up the phone with my friend who asked me if I wanted to go to Pittsburgh, I started to get annoyed that she hadn’t given her observations of the city PRIOR to my acceptance of the invitation. I mean, I love my Tar Heels and would travel almost anywhere to go see them play. I am quite sure that if the location of the game had been in Hades, I would have accepted the invitation with the promise of a free ticket. But I’m the kinda girl that likes to know what I’m getting into before getting into it. Hotels were booked and free tickets obtained…so at this point, looks like I was headed for Shits-burgh.
After this dubious introduction to Pittsburgh, I decided that every place has SOME redeeming quality. I can even give you a few positives about Los Angeles–which is the city I hate most in this world. (Yes, at one point I had planned to move out there. Yes, I was blinded by love. No, I don’t hate the city because my miserable asshole ex lives there–I hated LA long before that–since November 2003 to be precise. But the ex factor doesn’t help…Luckily my senses are back to normal and I can continue to hate LA out loud as I had been before that relationship…but I digress…)
So yes, Pittsburgh. I mean, how bad could it really be? My Tar Heels on Saturday and a home Steelers game on Sunday mean that there are only a few hours for a city to make a bad impression. So with that–I decided that I would indeed have a good time in Pittsburgh, and that was that.
As we drove into western Pennsylvania, I immediately became worried that the description of the weekend would live up to Pittsburgh’s nickname. The skies were overcast and something about the houses in the hills reminded me of the uneasy feeling I have everytime I watch The Deliverance. (Immediate flashbacks of the “squeal like a pig” scene make me want to get out of the car while it is still moving…but again, I digress…)
We seemed to enter Pittsburgh quite suddenly…one moment we are winding our way up the highway–the next we are greeted by industrial yellow bridges and signs for Heinz Stadium.
I mistakenly thought that the Steelers were THE most prominent part of Pittsburgh. But upon arrival, I soon realized the gravity of my mistake. No one can get around town withougt seeing a reference to Heinz. As in the ketschup–and the family that created it. University of Pittsburgh and the Steelers play at Heinz Stadium. There are ketshup bottles on the jumbotron at the stadium. And of course, there are nothing but Heinz condiments in the facilities. We were STARVING and my first order of business was to use some of that ever present Heinz on a ball park hot dog. Bad. Move. That hot dog was the WORST ball park hot dog I’ve EVER had in my life. It was terrible. It was huge–with exactly zero flavor. It tasted like it had been boiled then microwaved then placed on a George Forman grill. That’s how flavor-less that hot dog was. There wasn’t enough Heinz in Pittsburgh to save it…
So far, me and Pittsburgh are off to a bumpy start.