5 Pope Visit Silver Linings for Philadelphians

The city might be a mess, but snow-day rules apply and Ikea will be a ghost town.

By now, you’ve probably already decided how you feel about the upcoming Pope drop-in.

Maybe you’re delighted to host Francis and his faithful flock in our fair city. But more likely — far, far more likely — you’re cursing this needy old man, his annoying groupies and our incompetent town.

I get it, and I’m not here to change your mind. Plain and simple, this place is going to suck for a couple days (although yes, emphasis on the couple days). I live blocks outside the dreaded security perimeter, and when I wake up on September 25th to go to work, I dare some city official to look me in the eye and call it the “Francis Festival Zone.”

If it doesn’t have funnel cake, it’s not a festival zone. Never has been and never will be. No amount of creative branding or desperate press releases or choirs of angels can change that, for this is the word of the Lord.

That said, I’m sticking to my time-tested theory about shitty weekends in Philadelphia: They’re never quite as shitty as they could be, and they’re frequently more fun than they should be.

The pope visit will bring plenty of prestige and tourist dollars to the city, yes, sure, whatever. But it will also bring its share of petty perks and small victories to we the little people. Here’s what we have to look forward to, Philadelphia.

Snow-day rules at work

If you work within a 30-mile radius of Philadelphia, you can probably get away with being at least 20 minutes late to work throughout the duration of Francis’ stay. Maybe 45 if you play your cards right and name-drop the Blue Route. Work from home? Three Sundays worth of prayer candles says it could happen.

Snow-day rules at the bar

As far as Philadelphia states-of-emergency go, Popemegaddon is shaping up to be on-par with the year’s worst blizzard. Meaning no, it’s not too early to order a drink. It’s miserable out there, and Jesus wants you to be happy.

Snow-day rules all around

I want to go to my niece’s birthday party. I do. She’s turning 2, so she’ll definitely remember the three-dozen Minnie Mouse cupcakes I’m supposed to bake for her and all of her sticky little friends. You probably want to hit up that house-warming party in Manayunk, because Manayunk is more than a far-flung pseudo-burb where friendships go to die. Problem is, roads will be closed. Our hands are tied, friends.

Easy errands

Very few people are going to risk losing a parking spot to run errands, and no tourist traveled to Philadelphia to see our big box stores. Which is why I’m going to walk over to Ikea, get myself a frozen yogurt and roll around in the ball pit. Next stop is Target, where I’ll enjoy the sweet, sweet sounds of silence as I build my paper towel fort. I’m not sure what Whole Foods’ policy is on cartwheeling through the produce section, but I’m about to find out.

Easier money

It’s getting late in the game to rent your place on Airbnb. But there’s still plenty of time to hawk your free Pope tickets on eBay for hundreds of dollars (or Eagles tickets). Is it classy? Maybe not. But then again, the Catholic Church used to sell get-out-of-jail-free tickets to heaven. In the grand scheme of holy hustles, this one will probably only set you back three Hail Marys and an Our Father. Go with God on this one, Philadelphia.

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For complete coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia, bookmark Philadelphia magazine’s Pope in Philly page.