Not One Of Yinz Yet

After four years, I still feel like a visitor in Pittsburgh. The people here are great, it’s just a city with a very strong identity. Added to this, I’m from Portland, Oregon which is also a city with a strong identity, albeit a very different one.

Here’s why I don’t quite fit in yet: 

  1. If I want a good parking spot, I arrive early and wait. I don’t reserve one with a broken patio chair.  

  2. I specifically order my fries near my food, not on or in it. 

  3. I can go a whole meal without dipping something in something. 
  4. I’m not a fan of fish no matter which church basement it was fried in. 
  5. Instead of saying “watch you don’t fall” if the kids are climbing on stuff, I yell, “Get the f*ck down!” like a normal person. 
  6. Tom Brady seems lovely. There, I said it. 

  7. The grocery store cashiers are stumped over the exotic produce I hand them. It’s rhubarb, and it’s native to Pennsylvania.
  8. No one in Portland has ever asked me, “Why are you dressed up?” Out here, I’m overdressed wherever I go. Formalwear means “a clean Steelers shirt”. 
  9. Then when someone compliments something I’m wearing, I brag about how cheap it was. 
  10. When I order cultural foods, I try to pronounce them in their native language and sound like an ass. Out here, they butcher them in American phonetics. 
  11. My freshly fracked Pennsylvanian water tastes like gasoline, yeah yeah. I’m more concerned about the fluoride for absolutely zero reason. We Portlanders know it’s illogical and don’t care. 
  12. I don’t walk on streets without sidewalks at night wearing a Penguins, Steelers, or Pirates hoodie. Do you know why? Because they’re all black. Do you know who does this? The entire Pittsburgh population between 20 and 50 years old.
  13. Anthropomorphic pierogis racing each other is fodder for nightmares. I hear in Chicago, it’s sausages. That’s a dream designed for Dr. Freud himself. 

  14. If I beep my car horn, it’s to say “hello!”, not an aggressive show of highway dominance. 
  15. If someone cuts me off in traffic, I don’t follow them home and burn their house down. 
  16. If I want to ask what several of you want, I say, “What do all of you want?” Out here, the plural of “you” is “yinz”. And, I wouldn’t bother asking because I know what yinz all want: fries stuffed inside your mispronounced gyros.
  17. It’s more common back home to call us “full-time parents” instead of “stay-at-home moms”. Reason being, we’re necessary for doing the things other parents can’t leave the office for. Bake sales, cutting orange slices, and organizing raffles are our jam.
  18. Please, no more ranch dressing.. For the love of all that is good, no more ranch dressing.
  19. No bet I have ever made on sports has involved the loser being publicly humiliated or their spouse being pimped out. 
  20. There are many reasons why I don’t like Chick-Fil-A. The primary one is that it sucks. Burgerville, food carts, and gourmet happy hour menus have made Northwesterners into cheap eats snobs. We love paradoxes like that.
  21. Each time I see an abandoned, rundown, rat-infested house that’s clearly haunted by hobos from the 1800s, I sigh and say, “It has beautiful bones.” and wish I could fix it up.
  22. I don’t know how to dress for days that are 80 degrees at noon and -4 by 9pm. I look senile. 
  23. Do I go to higher ground to avoid the flash floods? Or do I chance the water to avoid falling trees landing on my car?  I usually choose option 3, which is waiting in a gas station parking lot with only sour rhubarb to snack on.
  24. When I introduce myself, I follow the Portland formula: lob wry comments back and forth, state our names, where we live, share darkly personal information, then agree we hope to see each other again. Out here, they say “hi” back, then shuffle uncomfortably like I ripped a silent fart, and they know it.
  25. There were only two plates of cookies served after my wedding, not a full table. However, this is a Pittsburgh tradition that I’m warming up to fast.