c. David Grim (taken 12/31/08)
It's not often that I dream about being somewhere other than Pittsburgh. Despite what you might hear about this city, it's got a lot in its favor. It's cleaner than anyone who's never visited could possibly expect. It's cheap to live here. You can buy decent property on a middle-class income. And its cultural offerings are more abundant than any comparable urban center.
Still, on a Friday night shortly before midnight, it's easy to wish there was a vibrant cafe scene. Despite its many assets, it remains a hard-drinking town. Ask a friend to join you at a coffee shop instead of a bar, and you're likely to get a perplexed look in return.
I've heard that there are more liquor licenses here per city block than anywhere else in the nation. That's probably apocryphal, but I can understand why others perpetuate the idea. Something in the blood of a population of a post-industrial rust belt town screams out for the obliteration of alcohol. So the typical choice is hitting the saloon or staying on the couch for another marathon of bad television. Maybe my circle of friends is too wild. Anybody know anyone who isn't in AA that feels the same way?