But enough people do stay by choice that anyone who wants to understand our country needs to ask why. That is, if you’re not from here, it’s worth seriously taking time to consider the reasons why people stay.
“I would never leave,” Bob, a semi-retired 62-year-old electrician, told me at Smitty’s. Uniontown is an hour or more south of Pittsburgh. When his job used to drag him every day up to Pittsburgh, or even north of Pittsburgh, his boss suggested Bob move closer to the city. “I said, ‘F— you. I ain’t leaving.’”
Why not, I asked?
This question irritated Bob, but he humored me with some reasons.
He pointed around to the scene inside Smitty’s, the venerable, dimly lit establishment nearby. Its ceiling tiles are painted in a checkered pattern of Steelers’ colors. The Tiffany-style pendant lamps hanging over the bar are antiques, Bob would explain later. The walls are covered in decorations sports-related, beer-related, and Pittsburgh-related. It really is a beautiful scene inside.
And there’s tons of room here, especially at lunch on Wednesday. All five customers can sit at the bar, which has three sides, and easily (even accidentally) comply with social distancing rules.