Unique Streets: 1
Miles Walked: 1.74
Street Names (italicized have been walked on another day): Liberty Avenue, Panama Way, Orwell Way, Idaline Street, Ella Street, Lorigan Street, Pearl Street, Cedarville Way, Juniper Street, Edmond Street, Aloe Street, Yew Street, Gross Street, Cypress Street, Asia Way, S. Millvale Avenue, Parsley Way, S. Mathilda Street, Sciota Street.
On a Sunday in early December, Johnny and I had the opportunity to take a trip, sans-George, to Bloomfield. We were both starving so our first stop was Caliente Pizza and Drafthouse on Liberty Avenue. We walked into the dark bar behind a large group of people. They walked slowly towards the back with us on their heels. After some consideration, we decided to sit at one of the tall tables in the front. I’ve always been, by nature impatient, and sitting near the front where the bartender could easily see us, seemed like a less-stressful dining option.
It took a beat too long for the bartender to come over to us but eventually, we ordered our drinks and pizza. We chatted whilst hunting Snubbels and Chickoritas on Pokemon Go.
I noticed that couples and singles walked in at a steady clip and the bartender was nowhere to be seen. The anxiety I honed while waitressing in my early twenties started to escalate. Johnny was oblivious to the group of several people standing at the front waiting to be seated. I tried not to think about it and enjoy my Pizza Boy session IPA.
The bartender reemerged! She turned the corner from the kitchen, our pizza in hand, and sees the congregation of soon-to-be patrons (minus the 3 who’d left when it appeared the restaurant was staff-less.) I could feel the panic vicariously and tried not to let it affect my hunger. She sat the groups, served the new singles at the bar, and got names from people who’d placed togo orders. She disappeared again. For what seemed like 15 minutes. Johnny was none the wiser. The pizza was delicious as always.
By this time, we were done eating and needed to begin our walk through Bloomfield. Bartender wanted. Check please! Anyone? Bueller? More people were walking in, door held open by those leaving from lack of service. I grabbed a menu from a nearby table and calculated our tab. Added the tax. Added on 5 bucks more in case I missed something. Added the Onorato tax for the beer. $48 is the total. I grabbed $70 from my wallet and scan the restaurant again for the mythical bartender. Finally! She’s there with more panic behind her eyes. I raced over to her and hand her the stack of bills. “I calculated how much we owe. The rest is for you. Thank you!” We fled the stress cave and even on this overcast Sunday, the brightness of the outside was blinding. Everybody eats but not everybody serves.
We beelined our way to one of my favorite landmarks in Bloomfield: the Ella Street/Try Try Try Stairs. I told Johnny that they were special but I wouldn’t say why. We approached them and I could tell Johnny had no idea they were even there. The rusty ochre railings blended in perfectly with the brown and decaying Japanese Knotweed stalks. Finally, he saw them and we descended. Half a transformer perched in the weeds beside the steps.
Halfway down the stairs I made him stop for a picture. He still hadn’t seen it.
When he came down to where I was standing he finally saw and thought it was pretty neat. I told him that the message was intended as motivation for those ascending the stairs. There is probably another meaning I’m not aware of. On the last landing, I was pleased to see that the metal toy truck was still attached.
On Lorigan Street, we saw another Pittsburgh Protractor!
We paused near the woods and watched birds flit between branches. It was completely silent. I told Johnny that even though we weren’t religious and don’t go to church, this, to me, is the closest we can get to a spiritual experience.
Even though it was December, some houses still had Halloween decorations out. I have a feeling this house keeps these up all year round.
As we walked towards our only unique street of the day (Asia Way) I noticed all sorts of strange signs that we were in Bloomfield.
Even though it was colder than Olaf’s bum, Johnny wanted ice cream. He got two scoops of Strawberry from Alex’s Corner Pizza Shop and enjoyed it on the way back to the car.