Tenacity, and a request

by dixie

I made it about halfway through last April’s chronicles before things caught up with me, then my life sort of got turned upside down for a while. Now that I’m more accustomed to the new shape of things, I’m back to my piles of notes.

While in Pittsburgh I stayed at Not Another Hostel, Pittsburgh’s only hostel and so far the only place I’ve ever stayed that had no fees and worked only for donations. It was lovely, and the guy who runs it is crowdfunding a similarly themed homeless shelter. I’m donating because he’s a great guy and, quite honestly, Pittsburgh needs the love. If you’ve enjoyed reading my trip blogs, please consider sending a little cash his way, as he played a part in making my own adventure possible.

This ends the commercial interlude.

I enjoy cities, in general. I explore them with reckless abandon, they tend to accept me willingly enough. Sometimes it’s a brief flirtation, sometimes it goes a little farther, and sometimes the fizzy energy of a new relationship deepens into a longer term love affair. But just like with meeting people, sometimes things just don’t work.

I cling to things; it’s both a flaw and a virtue. I hold tightly to friends, and I get sentimental about objects. I cherish moments of beauty and peace. I also, unfortunately, hold grudges like a dwarf.

Pittsburgh and I squared off against each other as soon as we were reunited during my mad month of plane travel. It went badly for me. One does not argue with a city when one is a small, squishy standby passenger clinging to her last threads of sanity after a concentrated dose of family. It would be a better use of energy to argue with the weather.

I’d like to say I learned how to let go of things as part of the learning process of a month in flight, but the truth is more nuanced than that. There’s a balance between holding too tightly and not holding tightly enough. Between trying to beat the stuffing out of a problem and stepping back to let it sort itself out. Between refusing to forgive a past slight and ignoring the damage that was done. All the yoga seeping into my head over the course of the month had me thinking about balance, whether it’s moving softly between two things or pulled taut by motion in two directions. They feel different, but both are stable and both are balanced.

Pittsburgh and I did not come to a happy reconciliation, but I did learn how far I needed to push to solve the torrent of problems the city hurled my way. As with my trip to Canada, it required more faith and trust in “Sure it’ll be grand” than I’m usually comfortable with, but unlike Canada this time it took no finesse. Just tenacity. It was finding the balance between not trying hard enough and chasing lost causes that I learned a lot about on this adventure, and Pittsburgh was a picture perfect example of it.

Details to come on Thursday.