Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Pittsburgher once more

13 years ago,  I 'fled' the city upon the advice of my then-spouse. We'd been living outside the city proper since then, commuting by car or trolley in order to save money on taxes.
In that time, I'd grown bored with the commute and my inability to walk or bike anywhere safely out in these mall-cluttered suburbs. Sidewalks do not exist out here, nor does the corner store. I missed the city. I'd also seen the city erupt with a sudden concern for installing bike trails, bike lanes and linking neighborhoods. I too had changed: I was no longer morbidly obese... I was restless in spirit and body, I needed to move and to move on.
I made a bold and tough decision to leave the suburbs and return to the city alone.

It took a few years of being healthier and wanting to be free of the ball and chain that was suburban life before I became empowered to step away.
The crime out in the suburbs is no less than the city: in my 13 years out here, there was a violent murder of an elderly woman and manslaughter of an 8 year old child within a block and a home invasion 2 doors down. Not a very settling feeling. Don't forget the constant vandalism of our mailbox by our neighbors kids.
The suburbs are no better than the city in my opinion.
Big houses, big useless lawns and big commutes. I was done with it all. Today was a new chapter, I call it "Chapter Four: On My Own"

I now live in a section of the city called Polish Hill in a first floor apartment at the top of this neighborhood's tallest hill. I can keep my bike in my living room and commute the 4 miles downhill to work. The uphill is reserved for the evening, which is good because I don't want to arrive sweaty to work even though I have shower access at work. It's as ideal as one could get for a bike commuter. The Strip District lies between home and work, so I can shop for produce on my way to or after work.
This apartment was much smaller than I was accustomed to: 477 square feet. I'd needed some simplification in my life and discarding and donating all the extra, unnecessary things I'd collected over the years was refreshing and freeing. I only need a roof, clothes, food, bike and a bed. A few extras like a smartphone, TV and a laptop are nice too.

While I'd been preparing for my move, I'd become fascinated with the adventures of a Pittsburgh cyclist/blogger who'd been traveling alone by bike in Canada. She'd dropped everything, left her life/partner and just.... traveled. The partner she'd left behind didn't seem to have a single worry about her solo adventure, and I thought she must be a very strong person.
Then.. on a similar note, I'd watched a movie called Wild, a memoir by Cheryl Strayed. These women spoke to me, they left entire lives behind and started anew.
I think I'm prepared for my new life.
If not, I hope I can cope with whatever's thrown at me.

I've got a closet where I can keep my bike stuff...

Fizz lives in my living room now!
This rug ties the whole room together.

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