Now I've got to worry about dealing with 50,000 protesters and all those G-20 big wigs playing havoc with my commute.
Have you heard? Our dear President chose Pittsburgh to hold the G-20 Summit. This is pretty exciting--finally someone recognized what us Pittsburghers have known all along--Pittsburgh is a great place filled with smart people. It's a tremendous nod to a city that has long struggled against the "smokey city" rap that was left over from the days when this place was a steel (no, no, not The Steelers) powerhouse with mills lining our rivers and black smoke filling our skies. So, yeah it's all good.....until you listen to all the reports about the road closures, the expected traffic snarls, the large number of protesters expected, the detours, the safety issues, the big fence they are putting around the downtown area, the security needed, the schools and businesses that are closing down, the parking concerns, the tent cities that will be erected, the jammed streets.....oh I could go on and on. And...not to mention the stories you hear from just about everyone. Just yesterday--my sister--who works for a large financial institution in the downtown area (where they are closing Wednesday through Friday and deploying their workforce elsewhere--she's headed to Cleveland)--was telling me that they have been advised to wear jeans and tennis shoes the days they are open next week--Monday and Tuesday. And, they are not to have any reference to their employer on their person while out in public--as in shirts or bags with her employer's name on it. The issue being what? That she may have to run for her life (thus the tennis shoes) or that she should look like she fits in with the protesters (thus the jeans) or that anyone who works for a large financial institution is a target for some kind of violence (thus not wearing her company's logo)? Gee, I'm not sure which one of those scenarios feels more comforting.
In every nook and cranny of our city--there's G-20 talk. From what will Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Sarkozy wear to where are all these protesters going to go to the bathroom? Sure, I'm concerned about those things too and of course I do care about radically reforming the International Monetary Fund (which is what they are going to talk about in between lunches and dinners and making nice). And, I'm proud as a peacock that I live in the place that will be the center of the world for at least a few days. And, I'm exceptionally thrilled that I am part of a university community that will be welcoming many dignitaries, hosting tons of pretty intellectually stimulating talks and allowing a forum for everyone to share and voice their opinions. But, geez....does all this have to cause such stress and anxiety? Because...that's exactly what I have--G-20 stress and anxiety. It's not bad enough that rain can lengthen my commute by at least 20 minutes or that a car broke down in the tunnel can wreak havoc on me making a 9:30 meeting or that I sit on West Liberty Avenue staring at the same driver in front of me and the same driver behind me for close to 45 minutes each day. Now I have to worry about protesters running through the tunnels to call attention to their causes and all of the major roads between my house and my office being shut down at a moment's notice! Should I pack a day's worth of food in my car before I leave each morning? Should I carry an extra set of clothes? Will I need mace? And, what if I have to go to the bathroom? I mean--I do drink quite a bit of liquids. And, what if it's really true that the protesters are going to target Starbuck's? Will they close down? Isn't it bad enough they are getting rid of their energy shots--now this??? No Starbucks for me during the G-20?
Mr. Obama--I love ya buddy..... but really....I'd much prefer you hold this fun event near your house. Now that I'm not able to be a stress eater and there's a threat of not having Chai Latte....my hospitality quotient is going way down.
Oh well...if I can't beat 'em, I might as well join them......