Recently I was participating in a personal fitness class next to a young woman who was expressing great anxiety about the upcoming G20 Summit here in Pittsburgh. Granted, there have not been many advance details. The Downtown Partnership is doing a great job with their website, but let’s face it, the climate of the event is largely unpredictable. Who can know what will happen? Hence the lack of details. However, you should not miss this exciting multi-layered interactive security map, since your tax dollars most likely funded it.
There is a lot of fear in the air. Fitness Class Lady was talking about her fear of going to work, being at work, and getting home from work. My assumption that she was employed Downtown turned out to be false – she works about 4 miles from the Hard Perimeter (I learned this phrase from Jack Bauer.) I then assumed that she must live downtown to warrant her paranoia, but no, she lives 17 miles outside of the city. Seventeen! And her path to work doesn’t take her anywhere near Downtown, or through any of Pittsburgh’s famous tunnels.
Meanwhile, the entire staff here at Franktuary is wondering if we will be allowed to cross over the bridges into Downtown to get to work. We will be carrying IRS proof of employment and photo IDs. We’re waiting to hear if our bicycles are considered “vehicles” and therefore required be inspected at security checkpoints. We have heard, though it could be rumor, that we can’t wear scarves, hoodies, or certain colors. Costume animal heads are definitely out, so probably the hot dog suit won’t be kosher either.
It all makes me wonder why Fitness Class Lady is so afraid. Why are Americans so afraid? We’re the most comfortable people on earth. The G20 Summit is certainly causing the city some inconvenience, but I just can’t manage to be afraid of it. Of anxiety-producing situations, my husband and I ask ourselves, “What’s the absolute worst case scenario?”
Worst case scenario? Call me uncreative, but I can’t get much past Downtown being blown to bits. Which is certainly tragic and frightening to consider, but if you will think back to September of 2001, can happen to unsuspecting people anywhere, G20 Summit or not. I read a few autobiographies recently about lives in wartime: Germany in the 1940s, Iran in the 1970s, the Sudan today. There are truly unsafe places to live in the world, but we are not anywhere close to experiencing similar threats in Pittsburgh.
Which leads me to this simple conclusion: do not be afraid, people. Do not choose fear.
In fact, you don’t even have to be afraid of not finding a good meal on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th of September. We’ll be open extra late, just because we can, 10 am to 5 pm.
Franktuary is not afraid.