I just came back from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (the public library). The main branch is about a 15-minute walk from my apartment building and the library is surrounded by the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. I had my reading glasses in a soft case in my pocket because I lost the screw on the right side. My eye doctor has his office in Oakland near the university and I can always depend on his assistant, a young woman wearing glasses herself, to fix me up for free. But first I walked to the library.
Any time I walk through the campus of the university, the memories come flooding back. There are all those hours I spent in college bars first as a non-student and then as an undergrad and grad student at Pitt. I was a student at Pitt from around 1999 to 2006 when I finally got my MFA. During this period all of my stories were based on my life as a college student–a middle-age college student–with Vietnam thrown in for good measure.
It’s a partly sunny day around 80 in Pittsburgh today, a good day for walking and reflecting on my days as a student: the drinking, the parties, the night life, the bands, the women, my days as an underground filmmaker and yes my classes and classmates, too.
It’s all there in Compressionism: The Pittsburgh Stories which I wrote based on that period of my life.
I returned one book to the library and re-checked out the other one. Then I walked deeper into Oakland to find my eye doctor’s office.
He was no longer in business. His office is now a bookstore.