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New City

OK, landed in Pittsburgh, a city I was never in before. Nice hotel room, looking right across a fine steel bridge to Pirates Stadium. The next bridge down I learned (by walking across it) is Andy Warhol Bridge. (Oh, I see the great freak man was born in Pittsburgh. Thanks, Wiki. You learn something new every day.)

I tremble to think what the sweating, raw-boned steelmakers of yore would have to say at learning that their splendid bridges were being named after po-mo poseurs. But heck, we're all symbol manipulators now. Nobody makes anything any more. Who makes steel nowadays? Someone in China, I suppose.

Pleasant, agreeably smallish city under a clear spring sky... but I'd better not record any fleeting impressions of the place, having got myself banned for life from New Orleans back in January by remarking on what a seedy, dilapidated, crime-addled sinkhole it is.

Am I the last person in the world not to own a cell phone? I noticed at the airports, on the plane, in the streets, two people out of three are talking into cell phones, or fiddling with those little things with minuscule writing on teeny screens with teeny-tiny keys that go about three to the average adult fingertip. How d'you use those things?

And what do people say into their cell phones? They tell each other where they are and what they're doing, that's what. I rode in a shuttle from La Guardia parking lot to the terminal next to a middle-aged woman with a cell phone. She dialed up. "Hey! Just thought I'd give you a call. ... I'm in the shuttle, going to the terminal. ... Right. ... OK, see you in a few days. Bye!" Then she dialed someone else and told her the same thing. I've been having visions of the rest of this woman's day. "Hi! I'm in the departure lounge..." "Hey! How's it going? I just got on the plane..." "Whassup? I got caught short—I'm in the bathroom voiding my bowels..." Is this what the human race has come to?

All right, I'm cranky. Not a good traveler, especially on my Jack Jones. Miss the family, miss my study. Need a drink.