1. You will be solicited for money wherever you go.
You slowly start to feel like you’re living in that South Park episode with all the homeless people.
Every day Not-So-Bad Situation: You are walking down Market Street and you see the character with the collection of stuffed animals and cheery music politely asks you for some change. (He’s a wheelchair ridden veteran and he is surrounded by stuffed bears, he doesn’t seem that bad).
How This Goes Horribly, Horribly Wrong: You are walking down 12th street around Market and are approached by a woman who rudely asks you for $5 (a little demanding if you ask me) and you clearly are not going to give it to them. Instead of taking your polite “I’m sorry, I don’t have cash on me” (which I didn’t) and looking for their next mark, they proceed to follow you down the street. Not only are they following you down the street but they happen to be yelling at you calling you a whole assortment of R-rated words. Now you’re at 12th and Chestnut and you run into a police officer and the situation quickly resolves itself. Needless to say, that was terrifying.
2. Moving out and relying on yourself for everything really is not as fun as you thought it would be.
Every day Not-So Bad Situation: You get a place and have to walk a few blocks to a Laundromat to wash your clothing instead of just taking a stroll down to the basement of your parents’ house to accomplish the same task for free.
Real Life Situation: You take a job you start to hate after you decide that “I can get a job in no time after I move”. After sending applications to countless (yes countless) potential employers you realize that the credits you have towards a degree in criminology actually don’t mean anything. You also realize that the brief stint you had doing graphic design work actually doesn’t mean anything in a city where tons of people who actually went to school for it cannot attain employment. After living here a few weeks I found a job as a “produce expert”. Yes, that’s one of those terms that is coined to make you feel better about working at a popular “urban produce market”.(yes another one of those terms) You then get a better job that you actually don’t hate so much in the Gayborhood and don’t have any real complaints about it. The people you work with are nice and you get to sit around and drink coffee all day and do your job while listening to internet radio. You also move into a house in a nicer area and your visits to the ever so pleasant laundromat end. You continue to support yourself and go to school at the same time. You kind of did things out of order but you somehow make it work.
3. Tony Lukes is the superior cheesesteak destination. Nothing more needs to be said.
You also find your intake of peanut chews, pretzels, and cheesesteaks in general jumps a little bit compared to living in Berks County. You hear people refer to themselves as “foodies” all the time and don’t understand the term at all. You guys like tasty food? So you’re human right?
4. Dangerous Sidewalk Bikers and Taxi Drivers are Guaranteed Their Own Special Circle in Hell.
You are walking from work for your daily coffee/energy drink fix. You hear something behind you and turn around quickly. Luckily you did because if not you may have been mowed down by one of Philadelphia’s sidewalk bikers. I read that these people can be fined $50 for biking on sidewalks; I have yet to see someone actually get apprehended for this. Bikers in Philadelphia, I have no problem with you guys, you’re green and you just keep biking, just not on the sidewalk. I saw an inexperienced biker run into a woman once on the sidewalk and it looked pretty terrible. I get nervous now whenever I see it and let them pass. Taxi drivers in Philadelphia have no regards for human life or traffic laws. From running red lights to parking places where NO ONE should be parking, they are dangerous, dangerous creatures.
5. News Reports about Crime in Philadelphia Scare Your Family A Lot More Than They Scare You.
You learn that for the most part staying away from certain areas during certain times will more than likely decrease your chance of getting mugged and or stabbed. For instance: you would never venture into Point Breeze at 2 am, ever. You know that the nicer areas of the city have more police patrolling and that they are safer spots to go out with friends. You also learn that gentrification leads to tons of families losing their homes so luxury apartments can be built in the middle of somewhere that none of the potential renters would ever live in the first place. You are as street smart as a Berks Countian can be you suppose and carry your red and blue pepper spray with you wherever you go.