Last night I arrived in Pittsburgh for a long-overdue visit with Mr. TR, and today I had the disconcerting experience of being treated like a tourist.
First, Mr. TR and I went by the insurance office to finalize our homeowners’ policy for the house we’ll be closing on next month. I had commented myself when we got dressed this morning – he in his Fleury jersey and I in my Clemente t-shirt – that anywhere else we’d look like we were trying too hard, but in the ‘Burgh we just look normal, so I was taken aback when the receptionist (who didn’t seem to have great people skills anyway, for a receptionist) remarked, “You’re really getting into the relocation thing, aren’t you?” Not entirely sure how to respond to that, I opted for the direct route. “We’re moving back,” was my only explanation, which satisfied her.
Stranger still was lunch at Primanti, which went fine until I ordered my I.C. Light (yeah, go ahead, laugh) and the waitress asked for my ID. I handed over my Texas driver’s license, which was met with suspicion. After a long minute of looking back and forth between me and the license (which admittedly resembles more a frequent shoe-shopper card from DSW than a form of legal identification), she finally said she’d have to show it to her manager.
I guess my out-of-state identification was satisfactory to the manager, because the server did return with beer, along with a slight sense of mistrust. Had we been there before?, she wanted to know. Did we need our sandwiches explained to us? We’re okay, we reassured her – Mr. TR even ordered his sandwich with egg, which did seem to break the ice a bit. By the end of the meal, it seems the Texas ID debacle was forgotten, and we were treated with the same benign neglect one expects from any normal visit to Primanti’s.
Perhaps we seemed too normal to really be from Texas.
I was struck, however, by the strength of my reaction to being viewed as an outsider. I almost desperately wanted to explain myself, why I belong here, why you’d be wrong to make judgments about me based on my driver’s license. But I didn’t. It’s easier to show people than tell them – I’m no Primanti virgin.