Who the heck waits 45 minutes on a Wednesday night to eat at Olive Garden? in Pittsburgh!
Needing a meal while doing errands on McNightmare Road last Weds night, we grudgingly decided that cookie-cutter Italian food was the best option among the chain restaurants. I should have known something was amiss when I encountered a crowd of mighty whites milling about the front of the restaurant.
I hate McKnight Road and all that it represents. Having lived in the Mon Valley for many a year, it was jolting to me to go into the McIntyre Square Giant Eagle and not see a single person of color. And over the past 6 months, I can probably count on one hand the times I've seen anyone who was NOT a white middle class person in any of the stores up there. Not counting the guy who stands in front of K-Mart holding the sale sign.
People get uncomfortable when I bring this up. They aren't sure whether to laugh or not. Is she being satirical? Are we laughing at racism? Do I see people of color at my grocery store?
I'm not supposed to talk about these uncomfortable topics for fear of violating the “don't ask, don't tell” policy of the region's middle class liberal elites. The ones who drive SUV's, join Curves and live in Cranberry, but rail against Bush and other Republican nonsense.
(Disclaimer: I drive a Honda CRV so I fully acknowledge that I'm part of the problem.)
I don't like going to the North Hills because it feels artificial and stultifying and that's not just because of the yellow ribbon car magnet crowd. Is there a causal relationship between the proclivity to abandon the city/inner suburbs and the erosion of liberal values?
My current great fear is that I am succumbing to the temptations of a more prosperous middle class white lifestyle at the cost of my personal identity and beliefs. I look around at my life and realize how insular its become, espcially the more active I've become in the LGBT community. Most of my friends right now are other white middle class people and we tend to do white middle class things. The fact that some of those couples are gay and some straight does not comfort me.