Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pittsburgh and the voice from the steel.

I drove through Cleveland, but I didn’t stay too long. The downtown was nice, but Google kept saying that it was an insecure city, and nowadays we pay attention to Al, the computer. That’s why I was surprised to find such a beautiful arrangement of parks and sculptures around Public Square. There is nothing more effective for a good first impression than lower expectations.

So, after a wonderful dinner nearby Terminal Tower I keep driving to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Any downtown will look beautiful after been in Chicago. Pittsburgh is a paradise for a civil engineer with all those bridges crossing the river from one side to another. You make a wrong turn and end up on an island.

But that is my tactic: getting lost and see what happens. In a moment I was heading towards a hill and I knew that a good view must be ahead. I got into a prehistoric rail that was used to transport people to the top one hundred years ago. They call it Duquesne Incline, and it’s nothing but a wood cabin that goes up and down, and they have it working out of nostalgia since it’s not practical anymore. No far away there was another view from a Catholic church that lies at the highest point of the city. 

When I have these panoramic views of cities, it always strikes me the idea of how many hours of work and lives are in those bricks. For some reason, I try to imagine the exhausted worker that came back from the construction place and lay downs beside an indifferent and equally exhausted wife. I imagine the life of the prostitute that was with him an hour ago and the desk of the city clerk that was her customer before him. I fantasize about the arguments about money in the municipality, the deals under the table that never got caught and those more lucrative that were completely legal. Then I imagine all the words, the steps, the yelling, the hammering, the laughter… and I browse the landscape one again. Man, we make marvelous things while going nowhere. What would we do with a single direction?

Going West, I found a church at the top of a hill surrounded by crypts. Then I remembered: oh, yes, we do have a single direction.

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