We people of this age are inundated with spectacle—from Congressional meltdowns to that 40-foot rubber duck that recently arked around the globe like the stoic bath toy of some absurd god. In Pittsburgh many of us shook off our autumn chills and set forth to see the giant pondling make dock in the Allegheny River. Our pilgrimages were no small feat, for even modest journeys in the Paris of Appalachia inevitably become a topographical game of chutes and ladders: our streets and paths are a veritable slalom of stairs, bridges and road rage.
Inured to the thrills, though, we tend to take our surroundings for granted. It’s gray. It’s cold. Someone just tried to run us over. We’re in a hurry. There’s a giant rubber duck or some gladiatorial sporting event that will lift us out of our doldrums in an ecstasy of collective blood lust or geek gawking...(continue)