Pittsburgh, Airplanes, and Gloom

I awoke today with a strong sense that the world didn't have the right feel to it. I, by no means, am trying to state that I am some sort of psychic, and there is little chance that I will take out a second mortgage to pay for a tool-free number so people could call me for $2 a minute readings. I just had that peculiar feeling that today would be bizarre. It intensified as I peeked out of the bedroom window, to be greeted by a gray haze that seemed to blanket the land, creeping into every nook and dell, and sitting like an unmovable dinge within the trees. The skies themselves looked bleak, yet the air was warm and dry. Ah, yes, the classic tale-tell signs of a Blah Summer Day.

Jeff and I dressed, and headed out for his VA appointment in Pittsburgh, PA. As we approached Lover's Lane, our eyes widened at the sight of bumper to bumper traffic. How strange for this little town! On any given day, there might be ten vehicles at the intersection of Lover's Lane and Sunset Blvd - woe! cry the natives of Steubenville, cursing the congestion! - so I am almost certain today's sudden onslaught of heavy traffic would have melted the brains of some of our less-worldly denizens. What on earth was happening? Had we been plucked from our beds in the middle of the night by Rod Sterling himself?

The cause of the traffic (which sprawled down Sunset, nearly past the turnoff for University Drive) was a Piper PA-18 Super Cub (airplane) that crashed on US Route 22. The single-engine airplane came to a stop on the on-ramp to this commonly used highway early this afternoon. (They are now saying that it struck the power lines that cross the bluffs above the highway. Also, I am saddened to say, the 22 year-old man who piloted the craft was pronounced dead at the scene by our coroner, Dr. Metcalf. No one else was injured. What a sad loss of life, and this young man's family is in our prayers.)

Jeff and I were able to loop around, although we were now 30 minutes behind schedule, and I made good time on the highway by applying a lead foot to the gas pedal. We arrived at the VA only 20 minutes late, and Jeff had his appointment with Physical Therapy. We thought that, at last, the day was returning to a normal state, despite the gray haze that was heavy even in Pittsburgh. I sat in my favorite garden spot, while Jeff took care of his travel voucher and such, and the scent of the newly bloomed flowers seemed to chase away the strange gloom in the air. My rock is nearly covered in ivy now, and I could almost daydream of Fae folk dancing upon it in the moonlight. It really is a bit of an enchanted garden in the middle of technology.

We headed back, taking Penn Avenue - big mistake. The All-Star games are being played, and Penn Avenue was a madhouse (for a second, I wondered if the slow traffic flow was caused by another airplane accident!) The congestion did allow us to slow down our drive and take in some of the Pittsburgh sights. Jeff tried to capture a few snapshots of the Goodyear Blimp with my camera (as I was driving), and we took a few more of the people along the street.

I adore Penn Avenue. It passes The Strip, as well as the heart of the Theatre District. There is so much culture packed along this road, and the sights and smells take you all over the US... Harlem, New York, Chicago, San Francisco! We saw three handsome black boys, with their baggy pants and long tee-shirts, walking down the street laughing and joking with each other. We saw the Orthodox Jewish men, dressed in black with the wide brim hats, ducking into the their delis and bakeries. Italians, Greeks, and Polish folk chatted along the Avenue, trying to make the best out of a cloudy day. As we neared the arena, throngs of people strolled about, and traffic police with white gloves and whistles directed both pedestrians and vehicles along their way. This is humanity at its best! Carefree, friendly, and packed together to celebrate a common cause (even if it is a "Sports" cause, which I usually don't care to participate in.)

Finally, we arrived home (passing the downed plane on 22 - traffic was flowing by then, and not too much rubber necking was going on.) Jeff put chicken on for a boil, and I made sweet potatoes. He was too hot and tired to eat anything tonight, as is now napping. The gloom is still in the air, and I can honestly say I have never seen so many rescue vehicles as I did today... plus, we are under a flood watch!

One more thing - has anyone else had trouble loading pictures onto their blogger account? I had to use a friend's photo hosting site just to get pictures loaded here today.

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AnnieElf said...

Loading pictures with difficulty is something I encounter with great regularity. Annoying as heck but time seems to solve the problem.

Gloom - We are covered in gloom here as well. Nothing as dramatic as a downed plane but severely destructive nonetheless. We are plagued with huge grass fires in the hills west of us. They have been going on now for two weeks. No sooner is one under control that another crops up. Miserable.