It doesn’t feel like summer in Pittsburgh until the annual Three Rivers Arts Festival commences and we find ourselves in the middle of a herd of sweaty, directionless Yinzers, half-assedly looking at art and thinking about buying pierogies to eat.
We made Janna meet us at South Hills Village, which is the first trolley stop, and the first trolley stop equals EMPTY TROLLEY. We used to make the mistake of just walking to the trolley stop near our house, but by the time it arrives, it is jam-packed with undulating, rowdy Yinzers, biting at the chomp to get dahntahn and buy up some paintings of their fucking skyline n’at, and then I scream, “I CANNOT RIDE A TROLLEY WITH ALL THOSE PEOPLE!” and then Henry calls me a fucking princess-bitch and we end up either driving down or not going at all because NOW MY DAY IS RUINED.
So, the last couple of years, we have managed to avoid this brouhaha altogether by just getting on the trolley at a crowd-controlled location.
It was all fun and games on the way down to the Arts Festival. Henry was still being super-affectionate to me because I had just given him his Father’s Day gift a week early (more on that later, and no — it wasn’t porn) and Janna and Chooch were playing a rousing game of I Spy:
“I spy something black,” Janna mused.
“Oh, Daddy’s dingaling!” Chooch exclaimed.
I don’t know where he learned that word. In my house, we call it “weener.”
The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, although I was pretty fixated with hating the young, cuddling, eyelash-plucking couple in front of me. Got, get over yourselves.
Meanwhile, Henry kept trying to hold my hand and I was all but tasering him with my eyes. This was approximately 8 minutes after I was whining about how he’s not affectionate enough. It’s a lonely tapdance down Hypocrisy Highway at times.
Maybe I just don’t know what affection is.
The first order of business, after making sure we didn’t lose Chooch when we got off the trolley, was to go see the fountain at the Point. Sitting by the fountain is REALLY FUN because it is loud and mimics the loud crash of the OCEAN, sort of. But then it was taken away from us for the last, I can’t remember, three years maybe? 25? Did it ever even really exist before now?
Henry told me a billion times what the city was doing to it and the park but as you might know, I don’t listen to Henry when he’s attempting to expand my mind. All I know is that it was there and then it wasn’t and now it is.
And judging by all of my Pittsburgh friends on Instagram, EVERYONE IS OMG SO HAPPY THAT THE FUCKING FOUNTAIN IS BACK THANK THE LORD! Seriously, I’m excited too. The fountain reminds me of hanging out downtown when I was in high school and selling pot.
Wait, that’s a different fountain.
We probably could have sat there for hours because we were flanked by gaggles of girls, which just happens to be Chooch’s favorite things to look at this side of Minecraft. But I can only ooh and aah over something non-Jonny Craig for so long before it’s time to get up and start roaming around aimlessly once more.
Henry: a fan not of art, nor fountains.
I kept hounding Chooch to care about the children’s area and to find some stupid craft that he was interested in making. Finally, he acquiesced with a disgusted sigh and set about making a sculpture out of junk, which reminded me of my FAVORITE living artist, Robert Villamagna, who used to be the only reason I ever even bothered going to the Arts Festival. Sadly, he hasn’t been there the last 3 or 4 years, much to Henry’s delight, because otherwise we would have had the “BUT WE NEED NEW TIRES FOR THE CAR, NOT A COFFEE TIN WITH DOLL PARTS GLUED TO IT!” argument in front of thousands of people.
Even sadlier, Chooch’s junk sculpture was decidely unVillagmagna-esque, as were the sculptures of every other child inside that tent, even the bastard whose tattooed rockabilly parents were doing all the heavy lifting for him.
Chooch’s was basically an old CD on a metal rod with a piece of styrofoam at the top. It was so stupid. (What?! He agrees!)
There was some older girl at the same table as Chooch, struggling to turn two large pieces of trophies into some kind of assemblage tour de force, like motherfucking David constructed of hipster refuse, when she dropped the top part of a trophy that she was retardedly trying to balance on a much smaller trophy, because she’s a fucking moron, and faux-marble shattered all over the ground. I fucking laughed so hard.
That was our queue to leave, and thank god, because I was HUNGRY and on the verge of resurrecting Hitler with my stomach growls.
Naturally, we all wanted different food-stuffs, and even more naturally, food-fetching is one of Henry’s jobs, so Chooch and I sat down by the stage and pretended to be fans of bluegrass while Henry scurried all over the park, trying to procure everyone’s lunch without fucking up because you KNOW we’d verbally emasculate his dick right on down between his legs like the tail that it is.
“Why are we still here? This band sucks.”
Henry came back with my falafel sandwich and then set off again to get Chooch’s pizza, which caused Chooch to pitch a fit because “OMG WHY DOES MOMMY GET HER FOOD FIRST!?” so I had to share my stupid food with him, how fucking inconvenient. Meanwhile, Janna was next to us, eating pizza and telling us things like, “It is supposedly really hard to play the banjo” and I was just like, “OK, Mumford.”
Then Henry came back with Chooch’s pizza and set off for what he naively thought was the last time to get his own food.
While he was gone, Chooch and I decided that we wanted the Grecian delight known to all as Greek Honey Dough Balls or Balls of Dough In Greek Honey, I don’t know, something about balls and it sounded good. We let Henry eat his pretzel and calzone (jokes! we ate most of his pretzel) and then told him to go and get us some balls dunked in honey. He bristled his moustache a few times and grumbled, but then he eventually groaned as he forced his tired Old Man joints into a standing position and lumbered off to purchase a batch of sticky ball-gags.
“I don’t really want those,” Chooch admitted after Henry had firmly planted himself in line. “I’d actually rather have ice cream,” Chooch mused.
“Oh shit, daddy’s going to kill you!” I laughed.
And when Henry came back with a paper dish of honeyed Greek dough testicals, Chooch casually gave him the next food order and I literally thought Henry was going to combust into a mushroom cloud of moustache bristles, hemorrhoids and 12 years of murder fantasies.
But that motherfucker went and got Chooch an ice cream, still!
(Dude, we had just given him the ultimate Father’s Day gift, so he knew better than to say no to us, his masters.)
Some kind of vehicular art installation. I don’t know.
And then we watched some strange breakdancing show, of which Chooch was pulled out of the crowd to assist in one of their stunts. I have it on video, but it’s like 8 minutes of the breakdancers collecting money from all the white people and approximately 7 seconds of actual stunting, so that bitch needs the fuck edited out of it.
They gave Chooch a dollar for his efforts, at least.
Before leaving, we decided to walk a couple of streets over to check out the Jazz festival that was also going on. Approximately 2 minutes after I was bragging about being a professional pedestrian now that I work downtown and take the trolley and can practically cross streets blindfolded, we were standing on the sidewalk, waiting to cross the street, when the people next to us began to walk. I mindlessly followed them, and Janna and Chooch followed suit, but then, halfway into the street, I realized that the Do Not Cross signal was still lit and a car was coming. Granted, this car was still a block away, but my inner Manic Mom engaged and I grabbed Chooch’s hand and gave him a little yank so that he would hurry up and finish crossing.
And then I heard the unmistakable splat of flesh meeting pavement.
I turned around and saw him sprawled out across the road, crying. I KNOW that I didn’t tug Chooch with the aggressive force of an abusive mom, but the way he was carrying on (and I’m sure the way it looked to all of the by-standers), you would have thought I was in the habit of dislocating children’s arms for sport.
I helped him up and quickly ushered him onto the sidewalk. I made eye contact with Henry, who was still across the street waiting for the proper moment to cross. He just shook his head at me.
“WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT!?” Chooch cried. “YOU’RE THE WORST!”
At first I felt really bad, and tried to assuage him by hugging him and apologizing, but he just kept mouthing off and carrying on like a basic drama queen, totally milking the situation.
I promise that I didn’t use that much force and that I was only trying to be a Mom by making sure that my young child didn’t get creamed by a goddamn car. The horrible, judging sensation I felt was similar to the time we had to take Chooch to the emergency room after he face-planted on the hardwood floor at home and busted his nose up and everyone else in the waiting room glared at us, silently accusing us of being Monster Parents not worthy of having custody over a sea monkey let alone a human being.
After the electronic sign alerted Mr. Boy Scout that it was the proper, legal moment to cross the street, he joined us on the other side of the sidewalk and promptly exacerbated the situation by telling us we were both being idiots, at which point I declared, “THEN LET’S JUST FUCKING GO HOME” and then marched off quickly without them, which I can do now that I kind of know my way around downtown. (This was mostly because we were close to The Law Firm, so I sort of knew where I was.)
They caught up to me at one point, and Chooch was still trying to make me feel like an asshole so I shouted, “FINE! NEXT TIME I’LL JUST LET YOU GET HIT BY A CAR!” to which he cried, “OH MY GOD WHY WOULD YOU SAAAAAAYYYYY THAAAAAT!?” at which point Pazuza crawled up through my throat and bellowed, “YOU CAN ALL GO AND GET FUCKED BY SATAN’S TRIDENT” and then commanded my legs to power-walk back to the trolley station without them.
When I was walking down the steps to the trolley platform, I heard the distinct pitter-patter of Chooch’s size 1’s clamoring down the steps behind me. When he caught up with me, we made eye contact and then busted out in laughter. We psychically agreed to be on the same side and hate Henry and Janna instead of each other. This was an easy task to undertake because apparently Janna had pissed off Chooch by telling him to “just drop it” and I don’t ever need a reason to hate Henry. So by the time they caught up with us, we ass-fucked them with our sinister glares of ire.
“You two are the same. Exactly the same. I can’t stand it,” Henry muttered, and then we almost got on the wrong trolley.
Everyone had made up by the time we boarded the correct trolley, until Henry mentioned that he took off the WRONG WEEK for our upcoming road trip and then we started fighting all over again.
(Don’t worry, conflict resolved.)