You guys, I am so stupid in love with Pittsburgh sometimes. We have so many people doing so many cool things and all this ground-floor energy and enthusiasm. Everything is possible in this place at this moment.
This says everything I love about Pittsburgh.
(This started as a tremendously long text message to my dad, but here you go.)
At this time of year (read: October-April), I’m not Pittsburgh’s biggest fan. Mostly, the weather’s just gross and that makes me cranky about everything. Also, year-round I have other hangups that mostly have to do with projecting my own general feelings of inadequacy onto a city that deals heavily in feelings of inadequacy.
But this is what I really like about Pittsburgh: you can do stuff here. You can make stuff happen.
I am reporting for a story about a local company. Two of the founders are my sister’s age (a year younger than I am) and the third is three years behind that. Just talking, hanging around the city, their story isn’t unusual. The whole city is rebuilding itself, and, in that rebuilding, my generation is able to make these gigantic leaps of both faith and station.
When I was in Grad School Round One, I was on the hiring committee for a new librarian. Part of the sales pitch for the school was that, because it was small and less prestigious than some of the state’s other institutions, faculty/staff/students got a lot more wiggle room. Because we didn’t have to answer to some kind of historic perfectionism, we got to try a whole lot of really cool stuff because it didn’t matter as much if it failed. They stakes weren’t as high.
Coming from the DC suburbs, I always think of the stakes as mind-blowingly high. But they’re not. Not when you leave the Beltway. Or Manhattan. Or LA.
As a result, I like to think I got a lot of really cool stuff out of my time at Longwood. I also like to think that I’m getting and will continue to get really cool stuff out of my time in Pittsburgh. I already know that the chances I’m taking, the choices I’m making, while available in the grand bastions of Manhattan and DC, are made so much better by being in an affordable city where my competition isn’t the entire planet, thus allowing for greater risk-taking that, in the end, is actually less risky. And, yes, it means taking shit from other people (the same as the shit I had to take for going to a school like Longwood), but, man, there are so many days where it’s so just worth it.