Sunday, February 24, 2008
I miss Philly. And the Cheesboiger commercials from Hardees don't cut it.
When I was 15 years old I went to modeling school (do NOT laugh) and I took the Speedline into Philly each day of class by myself. Can you imagine in this day and age being allowed to go into a city that huge all by yourself at 15? I can't. Anyway, I wore my sneakers with my dresses and carried my heels in a bag the way all of the career women did, and I read the paper on the train. When I got into the city I would hit one of the street carts for a pretzel or maybe even an egg roll, and I would eat it on the way to class. On my way home I would sit on the train and feel very smug that I could handle the city so well.
When I was 18 years old I discovered South Street. Oh man. South Street. Clubs, restaurants, funky shops, everything you could want was on South Street. There was a place called Tuly's, which was a Mediterranean restaurant, and that's where I tried my first falafel and hummus. It's also where I tried my first stuffed grape leaves, on a dare from my then boyfriend, Mike. Actually it wasn't even a dare. I had expressed disinterest, and he called me pedestrian, and I sucked it up and ate one. I've been eating them ever since.
When I was 21 I used to hit an Italian restaurant over there, forgive me but I can't remember its name. I would order too much food and on the way home swing past this certain homeless guy and offer him my leftovers. He always took them. I went to see Neil Young twice when I was 21, and k.d. Lang once. I saw Tracy Chapman. I saw the Stray Cats. And I saw lots and lots of smaller bands, where I would get hammered and dance with the crowd. I always smelled of cigarettes and sweat when I left those bars, but it's a smell that I sometimes miss.
Philly smells like old shoes and cheese steaks and onions. It smells like carbon monoxide and dirty snow and pigeon shit. The people are actually nice, which I'm sure would surprise people who believe city dwellers are completely rude. Everyone was helpful to anyone who looked lost. And then of course there's the Phillies. The crack of the bat. The smell of the dirt. And the roar of the crowd. I have to mention that Philadelphia sports fans ARE the rudest on the planet, and the most hateful if their teams aren't doing well, but they do maintain a deep love just the same.
I miss Philly. And maybe when Livvie gets older I can go back.