Unless you live under a rock – or, say, not in Pittsburgh, which might as well be the same thing – then you know the G-20 will be held here this week. I just stepped outside to collect the papers and I can happily report my own particular neighborhood is still standing and is, in fact, even peaceful. This may not be the situation come Friday when the dignitaries, rioters and journalists all depart, taking with them their thoughts on the economy, their protestations against capitalism and their articles, many of which will undoubtedly feature stories that describe Pittsburgh as the steel town that went bust and then boom again. If my sources are to be believed, and by sources I mean people whose conversations I overheard at the grocery store yesterday, then it is highly possible we will be living in ruins by Friday, what with all of these out of towners arriving. In other cities an event of this magnitude would probably warrant more celebration and less angst but here everyone is very grim-faced and steely-knuckled, prepared for the worst, not even bothering to hope for the best.
Some of the things I’ve heard recently in regards to the G-20 Summit:
the protesters will throw feces and urine on you so make sure your hepatitis shots are up to date
the police will let loose with the tear gas for any reason whatsoever so just be prepared – and see if you can get your hands on a gas mask
Riots greater than those in Seattle are being threatened – if you can get out of town, do so
All of the roads are going to be shut down – no one is going to be able to get into or out of town
I really don’t know what to expect from the summit. Mostly I am excited to see the city expand to accomodate so many more people than it usually holds – when I lived in Detroit and the Super Bowl came to town the city took on a sort of holiday air and it feels like that here in Pittsburgh right now – the thrill of being chosen by President Obama co-mingling with the apprehension of G-20s past. The only thing that I find truly concerning is how concerned and disdainful everyone seems to be of those coming to town to protest – there already is a lot of animosity toward them, as though their right to free speech should be revoked, or at least very critically examined.
Anyway. It’s all sorts of exciting, actually. I may update here with pictures and thoughts as the week progresses but if everything is boring and status quo I won’t, so stay tuned – who knows!