Popeadelphia

I’ve been living in Philadelphia for 8 years now, and I’ve seen my fair share of events that have closed down the city. Sure, they all happened to be natural disasters (Irene, Snowmageddon, the Polar Vortex), but they’ve all followed some broad, general patterns. If you’ve been trying to drive a car, use public transportation, go to work, or in any way follow your general routine, you’re usually out of luck.

Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia this Saturday, in tandem with the World Meeting of Families, and Philly is officially Pope-ified and in full-on Pope-mania. I’m going to try to use as many Pope-puns as possible in this Pope-post, so I ask for your forgiveness in advance. Back during the summer when we first became aware this was happening, my friends and I tried to scheme to get out of town (take a Pope-cation), and charge an exorbitant Pope-price for people to stay in our homes. Some of those friends succeeded in getting out of town, some of them did in fact find people to stay in their homes and pay them a handsome sum of cash, and others (like me) didn’t get their acts together and find themselves staying in Philly for the entirety of the Pope-party.

These cardboard cut-outs are popping up everywhere! Things are getting weird in Philly.

These cardboard cut-outs are popping up everywhere! Things are getting weird in Philly.

I have to admit I had some Pope-panic at first. Philly has been in full-on Pope-patrol. Every day a new map comes out, telling us where we can and can’t go. There are porta-potties literally everywhere (sorry, Pope-a-potties). Cars started getting towed yesterday. People are selling Pope t-shirts and miscellaneous items en mass. Schools are closed for four days. Restaurants and coffee shops that will be open throughout the Pope-mageddon are frantically advertising, using the hashtag, #openinPHL. People are going to the grocery store to stock up like it’s the snowstorm of the century.

Of course I’m not currently living in DC or NYC, but it doesn’t seem like those cities are at the same level of Pope-hysteria. Sure, some roads may be closed off, but it doesn’t seem like it’s quite at this level of Pope-nado. Some people have said that the Philly Pope buzz has created quite a bit of anxiety. With all of the Pope-fear, will all the tourists that Philly wants still come to visit? And where will the money go that Philly makes this weekend? Interesting stuff.

After getting over a bit of Pope-rage (yes, that’s officially a thing) for disrupting my weekend, I’m cautiously looking forward to it, although people have warned me that living in the center of the city is the absolute worst place to be. I’ll walk and bike, I’ll catch up with the few friends who are staying in town, I’ll cook a bit more than I have been, and I’m sure that I’ll come across some amazing stories. My friends who actually want to see the Pope are coming into town, and I may tag along to the huge public mass on the Parkway. Because, why the Pope not?

If you're in Philly, DC, or NYC, are you trying to see the Pope? Getting out of dodge? Ambivalent? Do you have any cool Pope words to contribute? I want to hear your stories in the comments below!