It almost seems like it was all a dream. Like I just woke up from a 3 year dream in which I lived in Texas to find myself driving through the Fort Pitt Tunnel in a thunderstorm. So much more is the same than is different, most of all how I feel. It’s as if the last 3 years just fell away and left the same simple girl who walked to her neighborhood bar for wings and beer and the Stanley Cup playoffs, and all was right with the world.
Yesterday evening I manufactured a reason to drive around town, listening to the music I listened to the last time I lived here, and it truly felt as if no time had passed at all. When you leave a place, it is frozen in that moment for you – how painful it must be to return to a beloved place and find that it has left behind that home of memory and is all but unrecognizable. I don’t think that can ever happen to Pittsburgh. Even when it’s different, it’s the same.
And I realize something else. I’m not sure who I am now, in the context of this blog. I had this whole identity centered on being far away, and being back sort of takes the wind out of those sails. Sure, I can probably get some more mileage out of the whole, “Wow, everything looks the same except that new Qdoba near my house!” thing, but the fact is that I never really wanted to say too much about me and my actual life experiences. I planned to talk more about what it means to be part of the diaspora, how to remember and honor the place where you come from. I don’t want to become a metaphor – the enthusiastic, outward-focused, cheerleading, all-too-brief O’Connor era gives way to the selfish, childish, mind-numbingly unhelpful Ravenstahl era. No one wants to read an index of all the banal stuff I do now that I’m back in Pittsburgh, any more than they want to read someone’s name on garbage cans.
But I don’t know yet how I’m going to keep this blog from becoming a garbage can. I don’t know where I fit. Who am I, now that I’m no longer Out of the ‘Burgh?