Wednesday, January 11, 2006

City of Brotherly Love

by SonDog

Since mid-day Saturday, I have had the pleasure of attending a conference in downtown Philadelphia. As I type this, late-night Tuesday, I cannot wait until I have the pleasure of leaving downtown Philadelphia.

My day-to-day Bruce Wayne persona is that of a senior sales and marketing executive for a four-diamond hotel in Vail. Since entering this profession in 2001, I have had the good-fortune of visiting many cities in the United States that I more than likely would not otherwise dream of touring. Among others, I have conducted business and toured Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Newport, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Omaha, Des Moines, and Saginaw (Which, believe it or not, is #1 on my list of "If I never have to visit that shit-hole again, I would be very, very pleased" cities). Without question, Chicago is the best of the bunch. (Which reminds me, If you ever go to Chicago and go home saying, "Eh, kinda boring," then there's a good chance that you are "Eh, kinda boring" as a person. Seriously, just go away, because you're boring. I'm not even close to kidding.)

At any rate, I'm not going to piss and moan about the physical product of Philly. Everything I have seen so far (from the Liberty Bell to the Constitution Center to the Fine Art Museum) has been pretty impressive. What I have not been impressed with, on the other hand, is the "I'm an inherently angry individual from living in this city so why don't you go screw yourself before I throw my fist at your head " attitude of the city's inhabitants.

Let me preface this story by saying that my trip got off to somewhat of a bad start on the flight from Denver to Philly last Saturday morning. I booked my flight relatively late, so I was relegated to a middle seat near the back of the plane. If you have ever been on an airplane, you know the rear of the plane is where they stick the people who have never heard of the words "personal" and/or "hygiene." Naturally, I was placed between Eddie Idontthinkiveeverheardofthisthingcalleddeoderant (on my left) and Amanda Ithinkiateanentireemufordinnerlastnight (on my right).

Normally I have no problem sleeping on flights, so I wasn't immediately concerned with this particular predicament. As force of habit at this point, I pop in my iPod and I'm off to fantasy land, dreaming about Jessica Alba, Vanessa Marcil, myself, massage oils and a deserted island (in no particular order). Then, the plane lands, I wake up in a different city from the one in which I fell asleep, and we all eat and drink and everything is good.

However, on this particular flight, someone (and I won't give away who this was, only to say the resemblance to an angus heifer was uncanny, and she was sitting to my right) decided that it would be a good idea to crop-dust rows 15-22... continually... for, like, three hours. It took every ounce of resistance in my body to not A) slap this woman across the face, or B) take that 2.7 ounce bottle of Pepsi she was holding and use it on her as a modified plug.

By the time the flight landed, I was pretty sure my entire collection of carry-on goodies smelled like an inner-city port-a-potty that hadn't been cleaned since the Carter administration. As for my nausea, it was doing just fine, thanks. My last words to the woman next to me as I departed the plane were, "May you enjoy your time burning in hell, you sadistic cow."

With that, I was in the perfect mood to begin my stay in Philadelphia. So, after collecting my checked luggage, I jumped in a cab and had the following discussion with my first Philly cabbie:

Cabbie: "Where you goin', man?"

Me: "Um, the Marriott Downtown. I can get the address out of my bag if you need it."

(Silence and an uncomfortable blank stare from the cab driver.)

Me: "Um, looks like 12th and Market."


Ladies and Gentlemen, we invite you to sit back, relax and buckle your safety belt. Welcome to Philadelphia.

The city of Brotherly Love? What kind of sick family came up with that moniker?

Over the course of the next three plus days, there were several highlights:

---- Before touring the Liberty Bell, I learned from a Philadelphia native that "it's kind of a waste of time because it's just a replica anyways. The original one broke a few years back after they moved it so this one is just kind of a joke." No, this wasn't the director of Philadelphia tourism talking. What's interesting is that I was very excited to see the monument before this conversation. In fact, I truly believe that this Philly native intentionally tried to bring me down a bit by informing me that I should temper my excitement. My parting words to this individual were something along the lines of, "I would have been perfectly content for the rest of my life not knowing that information. Seriously, thanks for ruining my evening, you smug bastard."

So, if I defaced this, would I technically be defacing a National Monument? Or was the Philly native even telling me the truth? This and more on "America's Worst Destinations."

---- On Monday evening, I took a bit of personal time to scamper over to the Wachovia Center to check out the Philadelphia 76ers play the Seattle SuperSonics. I was really, really looking forward to watching former Sacramento King, Chris Webber, play before his new homecrowd. Truly, I thought it would brighten my evening to see him play in front of fans who probably appreciated his play. What the hell was I thinking.

Upon my arrival to the arena (which, by the way, is located, along with Citizen's Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field, somewhere out in Bum-F*** Egypt) I began to think of the many times that Allen Iverson had been booed. I remember all the death threats Mitch Williams received after the World Series. I remember the time when fans sarcastically cheered the fact that Cowboy Michael Irvin was being taken off the field on a stretcher from a serious neck injury (which ultimitely led to his retirement). I even remember the time when Philly fans booed Santa Clause. And I can't even make something like that up.

After the first three minutes of the game, as fans realized that Webber was going to sit the game out with back spasms, the small crowd grew incredibly impatient with their team. With each Sixer miss, the boo's grew louder. Cries of, "Webber, you suck!" and "Dalembert, get some hands!" echoed through the half-full arena. Had Jesus been playing shooting guard, there's a strong chance he would have been booed during the first quarter.

The Sixers ended up KILLING Seattle, sufficiently shutting their own fans up for an evening. Iverson had a huge night and had me on my feet in applause on more than a few occasions. I do find it odd, however, that very few Philly fans were ever on their feet for anything other than a cheese steak. (That being said, the one heavenly aspect of Philadelphia has to be the original cheese steak. I have had one each day. I'm serious. In fact, my email this morning included a message from the Surgeon General, warning me to stop before I suffer a tragic case of cardiac arrest.)

After the game, which, needless to say, did not brighten my perception on one of the oldest cities in the States, I jumped in a cab to head back to the city. I then had the following conversation:

Cabbie: Where you headed, man.

Me: Marriott Downtown. (I now knew that there was no need to tell the driver the address.)

(The cabbie follows with some unintelligible mumbling.)

Me: "I'm sorry, what?"


(Right then I notice the cabbie is wearing a cell-phone earpiece. At this point, I am absolutely speechless.)

Side Note: Funny thing here is that the cabbie's cell-phone conversation was about how Bengal QB Carson Palmer had "blown out everything in his ankle" during the Steeler victory on Sunday. I so badly wanted to say, "Hey, shit-for-brains!? His ankle? Why don't you try his knee, jack-ass? Do you even watch the highlights, or do you just make them up?" However, there is a strong chance that I would right now be dead. I like my life and I'm glad I didn't say anything.

---- Finally, I participated in a 5k race Tuesday morning. The event started at 6:30 AM. My thought on this when my alarm went off at 5:30 Eastern Standard Time? Well, isn't that just true Philly fashion. I mean, who else on God's green earth would schedule such an event at such an assinine time? Anyways, while running through downtown, I think I heard the following on at least three occasions, "Hey, hope you're having fun running, dick! Thanks for making sure they stop traffic, A-Hole!" Okay, so I totally made that last part up, but I was seriously waiting to hear that during the race.

Sometime tomorrow I will jump on a flight and head back to Vail. During my flights home, I usually wonder when I will return to the city I'm departing. I sincerely doubt this will cross my mind after this jaunt.

(Editor's Note: For the unedited, director's cut alternate ending paragraph to this story, shoot me an email.)


phil said...

that dude did not know what the hell he was talking about. That bell is about as "real" as anything.

sondog said...

Well then, just chalk that up to one more reason I can't stand the people of Philadelphia. Thanks for letting me know that I did in fact see the actual bell.