If patience truly is a virtue, Northeastern Pennsylvania residents must be on track to receive halos and wings. They wait and wait, ever hopeful for progressive changes, but rarely expectant.
Answer these few timely questions, then decide where you rate on the scale: “realistic,” “gee, do you ever remove those rose-colored glasses” or “really jaded.”
1. Which of these will be the first to rise over Wilkes-Barre’s skyline?
a. A new and visually appealing building on the vacant, and legally contested, lot where the Hotel Sterling once stood.
b. The man Christians call “the Messiah.”
2. Which of these will move more swiftly in 2014 to redo its battered image?
a. The owners of Sherman Hills, an apartment complex in Wilkes-Barre widely considered a contributor to the area’s crime troubles and unlikely to win any good neighbor awards.
b. Pop star turned bad boy Justin Bieber.
3. Which of these things will be the first to tumble?
a. The Wilkes-Barre Area School Board’s propensity to hire only white teachers instead of, say, black, Asian or Latino ones.
b. The ring of prehistoric stone monuments delighting tourists at Stonehenge, in England.
4. Which of these mysteries will be the first to be adequately resolved?
a. What happened to the unaccounted for gasoline removed from storage tanks at Wilkes-Barre’s Department of Public Works yard, a case which the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office has been investigating since July 2012?
b. Was it the chicken that came first, or the egg?
5. Which will be first to be unsealed?
a. Records — presumably public but currently locked away in the county courthouse — pertaining to the tax money paid to attorney Shelley Centini while serving in defense of homicide suspect Hugo Selenski? Centini has been dismissed from the still-untried case and faces charges including witness intimidation and theft.
b. The Osterhout Free Library’s time capsule, slated to be opened for the Wilkes-Barre public library’s 225th anniversary in 2114.
6. Which of these will be the first to “give up the ghost”?
a. All those people insisting “things will never change” in local politics.
b. The Luzerne County Transportation Authority, the financial future of which appears jeopardized because drivers with the area’s public bus service allegedly inflated its passenger counts with so-called “ghost riders.”
7. Which will be first to be reported this year on WBRE-TV’s newscast?
a. A snow-free weather forecast that includes a predicted daytime high temperature above 50 degrees.
b. The winner of the NCAA’s “March Madness” men’s basketball tournament, to be concluded on April 7.
If you answered “a” to every question, your optimism transcends “inspirational” and flirts with “delusional.” No matter, this community needs more people like you.
If you answered “a” to one or more questions, but less than seven, congratulations. And keep the faith.
If you consistently answered “b,” we highly recommend a change of scenery. Please proceed to the nearest airport and purchase a ticket to someplace warm, preferably tropical. If possible while in flight, listen several times to The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” Return home when you’re able to repeat — and truly believe — this mantra: “Things aren’t so bleak, things aren’t so bleak …”