I returned from Pittsburgh about a week ago, and am pleased to report that not only is it still there, but it is a better place to find parking than most of Seattle. In addition, the Steel city also has an increasing number of really good places to eat. But, alas, I must also report that I have done too much of the latter in recent months, such that I really need to shed a few pounds.
I must admit I am overweight, and have been for the past two decades (at least). The stylish photo to the right of this text shows me in my natural garb, but conceals an increasingly large waistline. I rarely button my overshirts, and get pants with elastic waistbands from Big Ed’s Hulking and Huge store. Still, I have not until this trip realized how far down the road I have gotten.
The first warning came from Rex Stout, through his creation Nero Wolfe. I’ve been reading the Wolfe detective novels in the Bantam series of the books, and the early one placed the corpulent hero at a seventh of a ton, or 285 pounds. Which was my fighting weight about 15 pounds ago. Yes, later (post-depression) books boosted the weight to tipping the scales at nearly 400, but still, when you state that this detective sat around the office, he sat around the office, you must give pause to realize he was lighter than I currently am.
Then the airline industry got into the act. Two of my four flights this trip required a seat belt extender, and for one I had to move my seat from the emergency row (because one cannot wear a seat belt extender in the emergency row - of course I checked later) and so I was packed off the back of the airplane, where a smaller seat with less leg-room was provided, but at least I could wear the extra four inches of fabric to keep me from leaving my seat during an emergency. (and mind you, two the four flights had sufficiently long belts, and they were on older planes, which can lead one to conclude the it was the belts that got shorter as opposed to my waistband longer, but still, I am apparently eating my way out of particular seat class).
And then there was the car rental. I have a long torso, so the Nissan line of mid-sized was out due the fact I would have to crouch to see through the windscreen. But to discover I could no longer slip behind the wheel of a Chevy Cruz was maddening. I pulled the seat all the way back and pushed the steering column up and still found I could not enter the car without using the Ryker Maneuver over the steering wheel. So that is another warning, and I fear I am going back to watching what I eat, and eating less of it.
Which is easier now than earlier, because Pittsburgh has a growing number of excellent places to eat. To wit – Andora on Mt Nebo Road is particularly nice, with a variety in house specials and, most important to the Lovely Bride, an excellent patio garden. Their shrimp bisque is very good. Mallorca on the East Carson Street, right at the end of the Birmingham Bridge, was a true delight and discovery, specializing in Spanish Cuisine (which is not Mexican, but really SPANISH). The prosciutto filled squid was excellent and the veal was tender enough to cut with the side of one’s fork (this is preferred, according to my sister-in-law in the restaurant business). And more on the workaday end, the Paradise Island Bowl on Neville island makes a darn good cheesesteak panini, and has a summertime patio from which you can enjoy the river.
But alas, all those pleasures must be put aside for a while, since I am now verging on the level that I will not be marketed to, and instead suffer a bit of economic fat-shaming. I should be grumpier about it, and will likely be so after a week on water and flerkorn from IKEA.