A Damn Small Town

On my return from Tucson tonight, I walked, as usual, straight from the gate to the taxi stand, because while the 28X (see all previous grumbling about the Port Authority) is perfectly serviceable for a ride from my office (which it stops right in front of) to the airport (which it stops right in front of), it’s certainly not worth waiting for at midnight for the privilege of spending an hour on the bus and forty minutes walking home.

(I shall do my best to ensure this doesn't become an "I Hate The Port Authority" blog, because that sounds way more boring even than "An American in Switzerland." Maybe once my bike's out of the shop.)

Now, I've had some interesting taxi rides before. I once caught a ride from the airport to my old apartment in the Northside from the taxi driver who lived on my street. This time, I rode in with a former geek from one of Pittsburgh's myriad boom-era-gone-bust IT startups. He'd run in exactly the same circles I had; I'd been vaguely aware of his company, he'd been aware of one or two of mine. He looked a little familiar, and said I did too. He even claimed to have heard of Leapfrog Research and Development, though given how tiny we were and our absolutely nonexistent marketing budget, I do suspect a bit that he was angling for a tip. On second thought, given how tiny Pittsburgh's geek-entrepreneurs-who-didn't-move-to-Boston-or-the-Valley community is, maybe not.

Near as I could figure out, the bust led to a divorce that went nasty (a number was mentioned with respect to his ex-wife's lawyer's bill that I would take in a minute as an offer on my house) led for unclear but probably easily guessed reasons to midnight runs to the airport in a Yellow Cab. Given "the two guns [he's] had pulled on [him] and the one junkie who nearly plunged a heroin needle into [his] neck," though, he's about done with the cabbie's life, and is hard at work in his copious free time on the next big thing for the next big mobile platform.

So that's one thing I'll both miss and not miss about Pittsburgh: how unbelievably small it is.
Brian Trammell
Brian Trammell
Scientist, Synthesist, Cyclist, SRE