I keep a list in my wallet. It’s basically a running list of errands, reminders and stuff I need from the grocery store.
~ oil change
~ Mom’s birthday
~ aluminum foil
Not exactly a new concept, this constantly evolving list, but perhaps a bit quaint in that I generally scrawl the information on an old ATM receipt, as opposed to availing myself of more contemporary personal-organization technology, such as an iPhone app, or a Post-it note.
Occasionally, perhaps after reading a newspaper story or eavesdropping on a conversation while in line for coffee, I’ll even scratch down an activity I want to try, the name of a band I’d like to check out or a destination that sounds interesting.
~ North Shore trail
~ The Stepkids
~ Warhol’s grave
I think this might be similar to the idea behind Pinterest?
Anyway, I wouldn’t necessarily characterize these sorts of items as comprising a “bucket list” — although I probably should, lest I squander an opportunity to cleverly point out the irony of including a visit to a famous person’s grave on my bucket list.
At least that was the case until the other evening, when I did, in fact, avail myself of technology to navigate a winding route from the East End, where I was enjoying a late Sunday-afternoon beer in Lawrenceville, to Bethel Park, home to St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery.
Google maps are still considered contemporary technology, right? At least insomuch as you can’t fit a regular map in your wallet?
Despite being a lifelong resident of the Pittsburgh area, I’ve rarely had occasion to travel to the South Hills. So Bethel Park is just one of those mysterious far-off lands on the other side of a river, across a bridge and beyond a dark and foreboding tunnel that you hear about on the news when there’s a water-main break or a spaghetti dinner or an exciting high school football game. But when I read — in the The Wall Street Journal, of all places — that Andy Warhol’s grave regularly attracts visitors to a hillside cemetery along Route 88, it struck me that neglecting to do so myself would be something approaching civic negligence.
Not that I’d dare claim anything more than a passing interest in Warhol’s art, which I find appealing primarily for its colorful intersection with popular culture. My curiosity was piqued by the juxtaposition of his life and death: a gay, eccentric American icon buried in tidy a Catholic cemetery situated in plain view of a busy suburban intersection.
A single lane of pavement cuts across the cemetery, more of a golf cart path than a road, with a hairpin turn at cemetery’s edge delivering you back down the hill toward the exit. Some residents apparently walk the loop for exercise, such as the older gentleman who matter-of-factly pointed me to Warhol’s grave. With olive skin, combed-back silver hair, a white tank top and crucifix hanging from his neck, he shared an unmistakable, and perhaps fitting, disposition with another certified pop-culture figure: Paulie Walnuts from “The Sopranos.”
“He’s still there,” Paulie deadpanned with a nod toward Andy’s headstone. “His mother’s right behind him.
“Doesn’t matter how famous you are,” he continued. “We all end up in the dirt.” (Or the bottom of a lake — am I right, Paulie?)
Once you know where to look, Andy’s gravesite isn’t hard to find. It’s the only one adorned with soup cans, along with flowers, candles and a plastic binder labeled “LEAVE ANDY A MESSAGE.”
So I suppose that means I should connect my printer now.