Philadelphia, Quit Your Pope Whining Now!
By now, you’ve probably seen the maps.
Depending on which one you look at, it appears that somewhere between a large chunk and an extremely large chunk of Philadelphia will be swallowed up by the so-called “security perimeter” for Pope Francis’ September visit.
Mayor Michael Nutter attempted to smooth things over yesterday, but by then the damage was already done. After weeks of reports that SEPTA service would be suspended, bridges could close and I-95 might even shut down, the city seemed to have had enough — it was time to throw a full-on tantrum and give in to the Pope panic.
Philadelphia, this is a bad look for us.
We might not be the most attractive city, or the most affluent, or the healthiest. But we are easily the toughest, the scrappiest, the most likely to turn life’s lemons into lemon bongs and sell them for $15 a pop in the Citizen’s Bank parking lot. Almost 240 years after tossing out the Brits in the name of liberty and fireworks, our motto may as well be,” C’Mon, Get The Fuck Outta Here With That Shit.” (Call me, GPTMC!)
Granted, there are some Popes that warrant a little wariness. John XII had a nasty habit of mutilating his enemies, Urban VI was a bit of a warmonger and Benedict IX was always dodging rumors of murder, pillaging and rape. But Francis? Francis is basically your least racist great uncle, just a nice old man dropping through town for a little last supper.
We can handle a two-day visit from this guy and his Midwest groupies. We can and we must. We’re too fat to move to LA and too poor for New York — this is our bootstrapping blue-collar birthright, and the world is watching.
At some point, the city and the World Meeting of Families will probably put together a soothing, tourist-friendly logistics guide. In the meantime, below are answers to Frequent Whinings that should satisfy most natives.
“Center City is going to be insane.”
As opposed to when? Last weekend when the Doomsday preacher and his boa constrictor tried to sell me an iPhone? Right.
“They can’t close down the Ben Franklin Bridge!”
There is nothing you need in Cherry Hill. Not now, not ever. The power of Christ compels you to renounce Red Lobster and The Container Store for all eternity — let us rejoice and be glad.
“Where will everyone stay? What about first aid? How will they get to the Parkway?”
I’ve lived among you people for three decades, and you simply do not care about your fellow man this much. Drop the act.
“How will I get to the Parkway?”
Since when do you go to Sunday Mass? Jesus doesn’t read PhillyMag.com — this is a safe space.
“Where will everyone go to the bathroom?!?”
Should the porta-potties run dry, my guess is that tourists will simply take a cue from Ms. Broad Street Line 2008. In case you weren’t at the World Series parade, this is how it works: Make peace with your God, sit on a bucket, close your eyes. You invented this, Philadelphia — act like you know.
“But what about the –?”
Shh. It’s one weekend.
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