Oakland Fireworks : 3

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Duck crosses street, Riverfront Park, South Side.

After growing up in a wood-heated house in the forest, Pittsburgh felt like a mad metropolis of possibility. Goth-punks cavorted at the Beehive, the local coffeehouse, and panhandlers called to me from the sidewalks. My neighbors were frat-boys living out the Flannel Heyday, playing Wiffle Ball in their yard and lighting firecrackers throughout the sultry afternoons. When I had a little extra money, I’d visit the independent cinema and watch obscure foreign films. When I was stuck at home, I’d view all the movies I’d been too squeamish to watch as a teenager – Trainspotting and The Godfather, Natural Born Killers and Falling Down. Now that I was 19, and I had some college under my belt, I could look past these films’ exploitative veneer and sense richer themes. I read books and plays long into the night. I had no one to answer to, no schedule to keep – only to go to work and come home.

I’d spent my entire life waiting for adulthood, and even the most grudging rituals inspired me: I loved slipping my rent check through my landlord’s mail-slot. I relished every haphazard meal, cooked at first in Erica’s noisy microwave. The grungy carpets rendered the vacuum useless, but I ran it anyway, because the fantasy of cleanliness was satisfying. I had never used a gas stove before, much less a pilot light, and although the fear of explosion wracked my nerves, I finally lit the range with a quivering match and started cooking like an actual adult. My concoctions were primitive – mountain climbers ate better at 10,000 feet than I did – but since I had avoided cooking my whole life, dinners now tasted of triumph.


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