Pittsburgh has always been one of my favorite places. I went to Art School there and had a great time. I have only visited a couple times since and was looking forward to seeing it again. It was also nice not to overwhelm myself with driving on the first day, since I will be driving the entire way to California. Pierce can’t drive stick and his stepfather doesn’t want him to drive the car anyway. David is very generous to let me take his car on this trip. It gets 44 miles/gallon and will save me a lot of money, not to mention that my convertible is currently broken down. Right after my father said, “I am confident this car could make the trip to CA”, it broke down again. The only problem that I have had with David’s car was yesterday when I couldn’t find it in the parking garage because I parked on the wrong level the night before. I hadn’t even been drinking, so I don’t know how it happened. Let me tell you the panic when I didn’t see his car in the right spot.
When we got to an exit for Oakland or Shadyside, I got off planning to give Pierce a tour. He got a tour alright, but not the tour that I had planned. I should not have been surprised by how much the area has changed in almost 30 years. It was nicer than I remember. Areas that were places to avoid, previously, were now cleaned up and nice places to shop and live.
I was able to meet an old friend from Art School and we had dinner in the lot of a gas station. Well, that was actually the design of the restaurant. Instead of totally converting the old gas station into a restaurant, they kept the feel of the original business and added tables and chairs and a bar and dining room inside. This was just one of the many, many restaurants on the Southside. When I lived in Pittsburgh, the Southside was a place to avoid. I am looking forward to going again.
I didn’t have enough time to really check out the art scene. I was told that while they have some great galleries and great artists, many aren’t making their livings as artists. And I saw online that Pittsburgh’s general attitude towards art is not extremely positive. I want to do more first-hand research to see what is really true. And what is true may turn out to be in the eye of the beholder.