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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo returned safe and sound to Port Swiller Manor late last evening from his latest travels, this time consisting of a three-day jaunt to Pittsburgh.  A few thoughts:

♦ Even though Pittsburgh is within a four hour drive from here, Ol’ Robbo actually elected to fly this time despite his intense dislike of being strapped helpless in a metal tube held up by mysterious, not to say capricious, forces at vast heights.  What say you to that, long time friends of the decanter who have read post after post about Robbo’s fear of flying?

♦ For the future, I think I’m finally going to end my slothful practice of waiting until the morning of departure to pack.  Scrambling to find pairs of matching socks at 5 ack emma has become quite tarsome.

♦ There are times when I think Ol’ Robbo ought not to be let out of the house unsupervised.  First, I managed to lose my work credentials in the cab to the airport.  Then I managed to lose my driver’s license at the ticket counter.  They paged me to come back to collect the latter just before I went through security.  I thought the former was gone for good, but the cabbie, bless his heart, actually found it and returned it to Port Swiller Manor.  (He left his contact information, by the bye.  What would be an appropriate thank you?)

♦ I’ve only been to Pittsburgh once before, on a day-trip during which I really saw nothing at all.  (I drove that time, by the bye, a big mistake, especially as it was snowing.)  A few quick thoughts:  It’s really a Midwestern city in that people are surprisingly friendly there.  That’s always a bit disconcerting to us nasty, suspicious, East Coast types.  It’s also a lot smaller than I had realized – I was easily able to walk everywhere I needed to get to.   For all that, however, there are way more cars than the traffic grid can reasonably handle.  Ol’ Robbo was in a fine panic yesterday evening to fight his way out of North Shore and get to the airport in good time.

♦ Ol’ Robbo usually resorts to room service when out on the road, because I generally hate eating in public by myself.  However, the food where I was staying was barely adequate and I really needed a meal the other night.  Also, my thoughts went out to Groovy Vic, dear Vic, friend of the decanter from the beginning (and, indeed, one of the first friends of the Llamas back in the day), so I behooved (HA!) myself to go on over to Jerome Bettis’s Grille for dinner.  I sat at the bar and chomped on a burger while idly watching a ball game in which I had absolutely no interest.  After a while, I looked about me: Groups of guys having beers and roaring with laughter; couples taking selfies; and one other singleton middle-aged dweeb also sitting at the bar, chomping on a burger and staring idly at the game.  I felt pretty pathetic.

Oh, and I stayed right across from PNC Park and walked past it (and over the Roberto Clementi Bridge) several times.  What a beautiful park – I’d really like to catch a game there some time.

♦ On the short hop home last evening, the stewardesses tried to come round with the beverage cart.  I’m not sure why they even bothered, as they didn’t make it all the way down the aisle before they had to start cleaning up for landing.  On the other hand, I managed to get a free glass of wine, as the one who said she’d come back to take my credit card never did, so I’m not really complaining.

♦  When we landed last night, there was some kerfluffle about a gate not being available, so the plane sat on a corner of the tarmac for about twenty minutes or so.  I didn’t really mind because I was watching a thunderstorm way off on the eastern horizon.  Stars overhead and lightning far away – that’s always been one of my very favorite views.

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