To stave off the inevitable existential collapse that typically accompanies unemployment, not to mention looming middle age, I’ve begun taking my mom’s dog for walks.

It’s sort of Zen like, in that the sole purpose of said walks are finding my dog a nice place to shit. That’s all that matters, finding Lucky a velvet lined tree stump to shit behind. Because he refuses to shit just anywhere, and that’s fine, that’s his prerogative. But after blocks of prime real estate he still refuses. He looks me in the eye and lifts his leg, and I swear he’s fucking smirking, as if to say, ‘not this time, bitch.’

But I’ve become reacquainted with the town I live in on our very long walks, and I’ve made a few observations:

Pittsburgh is the filthiest city on the planet. At my local park there is a varied assortment of litter. This includes paper plates, a curious number of empty mini muffin packages, syringes, empty beer cans (usually Iron City, in keeping with tradition), children’s shoes, fast food bags, make up, used diapers, and so on. The litter makes its way into every patch of grass and wooded area in the city. It’s thrown from car windows and tossed into the street from front doors. There is no need for garbage cans in Pittsburgh, just patches of grass, where every degenerate mother fucker will happily dispose of their trash.

Another way of getting rid of trash here, and we’re talking the larger items, couches set ablaze because a beloved sports team either won or lost an important match, towers of tires reaching skyward, existing to only entice the alarming amount of fire bugs and amateur arsonists in the city, is to just dump said trash down the slope of hill or at the culmination of a dead end street. Almost every dead end street has a collection of trash, sometimes neatly stacked and arranged, and usually said collection is older than me by a few years.

Everyone in Pittsburgh is a hoarder. They don’t hoard cool things, like guitars or books. They hoard things like carpet remnants and bricks and other useless junk that only an idiot could look at as a good investment. Everyone who isn’t a hoarder (or a writer or a musician) is a roofer. Despite this, every single roof in Pittsburgh is on the verge of collapse.

No one here can speak English. That’s not some xenophobic slight. I’m talking about the native English speakers. Pittsburgh has an accent all its own, it incorporates the gruffness of Jersey and New York, with the apparent upbeat naiveté of the Midwest. It’s literally one of the most ridiculous accents in the United States. If you don’t believe me, please see this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEyJjAAPy38

For the record, I don’t sound like that. However, my voice sometimes twangs peculiarly on my Os, which I’ve been trying to combat for years and will probably never undo.

Pittsburgh is teeming with lovable psychos. We recently lost the crown prince of functional insanity, a guy by the name of Steve, who was famous for standing in the same spot on the avenue all summer and hosting his own private dance party. Upon Steve’s untimely death, it was found he put a lot of time into making collages, which I believe is probably a good indicator that said person has a crawl space and isn’t afraid to use it. Another guy rides around Pittsburgh on a bike exclusively. Well, that’s not very weird, is it? No, what’s weird is that this fellow decided to strap a car bumper to the front of the thing. He even took the time to loosely affix blank CDs to either side, in a nod to headlights. Why does he do this? Fuck if I know, I’m not getting within ten feet of that crazy fucker.

In the last ten years the city has been overrun by hipsters. I could go into a prolonged self righteous speech about gentrification and how they’re ruining everything, but they’re really not. These people all have jobs, they put money into the city, they’ve stemmed the hemorrhage of young people that steadily increased year to year in the past. If they want to walk around dressed like assholes and play pan flutes, well I say have at it.

What I can’t tolerate is the recent influx of crust punks, or squatters, or crusties, or whatever you call them in your locality. Think hobos with a better sense of the aesthetic. They sit on street corners with their mangy dogs (because the first thing I would do if homeless is acquire a pet) holding crudely made signs asking for money.  Most of the time these people are from well off families looking for a little adventure in the form of lax hyigene and casual drug use, which is all fine and good. Unfortunately I have hard enough time financing these pursuits for myself, so there is no way I’ve giving Caleb a fiver just so he can purchase yet another six pack of Pabst.

Do I like the place I live in? I don’t know. I regard Pittsburgh as I would an embarrassing friend or loved one. I feel loyal to some degree, but I also can’t spend a lot of time and energy defending it. I think the best thing for us would be a trial separation. Maybe Pittsburgh would look more appealing with a bit of distance between us.

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STACIE ADAMS is a drinker with a writing problem. She's currently working on a novel and hopes to complete it before the world ends in 2012. When she's not reading or writing she's at the bar telling people about the time she saw Queens of the Stone Age in a fortress in Germany. Her alter ego can be found at The First Church of mutterhals

12 responses to “Hell With The Lid Off”

  1. Gloria says:

    Well fuck. Fuckers and their pants’n at. (hilarious)

    I’ve become oddly endeared toward New Mexico in the 12 years I’ve been gone. I miss it terribly at times. Not the rednecks or the low wages or the insufferable 110 degree weeks. But, you know, the overall place.

    Good luck walking the dog!

  2. Art Edwards says:

    Thanks for the peek.

    Are you sure you’re not in Portland? This place sounds like Portland. Especially the guy with the car-bumper bike.

    • SAA says:

      Ha! It’s probably frighteningly similar, it rains like 8,000 days out of the year here as well. When the sun comes out people start sacrificing their children in disbelief.

  3. Sign of the times: I read “Everyone who isn’t a hoarder (or a writer or a musician) is a roofer.” and immediately thought Oh, date rapists!

  4. Tawni Freeland says:

    The curious number of empty mini muffin packages made my crazy brain start coming up with potential reasons. The top potential reason on the list is that maybe they don’t sell well, so they end up stale and tossed out by stores, and then the homeless pull them out of the dumpsters to eat in the park. Because, really… who buys mini-muffins? The Keebler elves? They’re like a bite each. What a stupid invention. What a waste of baking time, energy and packaging, the mini muffin. Here’s my slogan for the mini muffin industry: “Mini muffins: for when you feel like clawing open an annoying plastic clam shell container to unwrap one completely unsatisfying bite of oddly moist, sticky, over-sweetened bread.” (It’s kind of long. I’ll workshop it.)

    The crusty punks were plentiful in Lawrence, Kansas when I lived there. Kids wearing $300 leather jackets and $100 shoes, with $1000 in tats and perfectly Manic Panic-ed hair asking the girl making $8 an hour working in a convenience store all day for money. Yeah, right. Don’t hold your breath, fuckers. I watched many of them getting into their nicer-than-mine cars to drive back to the rich people area of Kansas City (according to their car license plate county stickers). It was like a cheap thrill for them, slumming it. So insulting to people who are actually poor. Pretend Punks are beyond lame and pathetic.

    It sounds like it is definitely time for some distance between you and your hometown, Stacie. Where are you thinking about having your next adventure?

    • SAA says:

      That was my thought process on the mini muffins as well, like who the hell still eats those? Why are they everywhere? It’s like those rap chips, I see the discarded bags everywhere but I’ve never actually seen them sold or purchased by anyone.

      As far as where I would move to, it’s a total pipe dream but I’d really like to live in San Diego. I had friend in college who moved there and when she came back she raved about it, she said it was like a dream.

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  8. Wino in Paradise says:

    Every thing you said about Pittsburgh is true, but a bit understated, I lived there 20 years, 20 cruel, long years. We finally decided to move as far away as possible when we were snowed in (the Great Storm of 2010), without electricity for 7 days, stayed warm burning all our books by Ayn Rand. Sold everything to some dude who wanted our acreage for a horse meat factory. As we drove away, we didn’t look back for fear we would be turned into pillars of salt.

    If you stay in Pittsburgh, you will become a hoarder, too.