I've been there!

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Have you ever watched a movie and been able to say "I've been there!"?  It's exciting, right?  Well, have you ever been able to say that about a book?

I have, and let me tell you, it's pretty exciting too.

My grandparents and extended family live across Pittsburgh, so on holidays or family gatherings, my family has a way to drive back home to a small town which is 30 minutes outside of Pittsburgh.  As long as I could remember, I would anticipate the drive back home at night.  The best part is driving through the first tunnel towards home and coming out onto one of the many bridges of Pittsburgh (if you're familiar with the city, it's the Fort Pitt tunnel and the Fort Pitt Bridge).  Everything is dark before entering the tunnel.  Coming out at the other end, Pittsburgh's city lights are the first thing to greet you.  The river is below, reflecting even more of the city lights. This experience has always been something I loved to see. 

Returning to my initial question, my beloved experience was put into words and, even better, into a story.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the book that has done this.  Stephen Chbosky, the author, a Pittsburgh native.  The following passage describes every bit of the experience to a tee:

"As you enter the tunnel, the wind gets sucked away, and you squint from the lights overhead. When you adjust to the lights, you can see the other side in the distance just as the sound of the radio fades to nothing because the waves just can't reach. Then, you're in the middle of the tunnel, and everything becomes a calm dream. As you see the opening get closer, you just can't get there fast enough. And finally, just when you think you'll never get there, you see the opening right in front of you. And the radio comes back even louder than you remember it. And the wind is waiting. And you fly out of the tunnel onto the bridge. And there it is. The city. A million lights and buildings and everything seems as exciting as the first time you saw it."

-Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower



There is just something awesome about your favorite specific experiences becoming part of a story.

Am I making sense, or am I totally crazy?  Comment if you've been through Fort Pitt tunnel at night to experience this!
And have you ever had a favorite setting become part of a story or poem or even a movie?

4 Comments

Beth Anne Swartzwelder said:

This is so cool! I have definitely experienced this view and I've always thought it was one of the coolest parts of Pittsburgh. The whole city opens up in front of you.
And I went to see the movie Love and Other Drugs this weekend, and as Jake Gyllenhaal is driving down the road, he passes a sign for the Charleroi/Donegal exit on 43 that I pass every time I make the trip to Seton Hill. It was one short moment, but I felt famous! haha...

Does being at Seton Hill count as visiting Hogwarts?

Kaitlin Monier said:

Haha Beth Anne, that's awesome! It's so cool to see part of your daily life appear in a story that everyone is watching or reading. I want to see that movie for the one reason that it's filmed in Pittsburgh!

Dr. Jerz, of course being at Seton Hill counts as visiting Hogwarts! Haha.

Erin said:

This is so cool! Yes, I agree with this statement. When something written captures a real life experience in such a way that takes you right back there, it is an experience like no other.

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    Erin on I've been there!: This is so cool! Yes, I agree
    Kaitlin Monier on I've been there!: Haha Beth Anne, that's awesome
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