Sunday, February 7, 2010


If I still lived in my twelve-foot wide rowhouse on Wyman Park Drive in glorious Baltimore, Maryland, I would be buried in two feet of snow!  I would have hurried to the Superfresh on Thursday, where I would have stocked up on toilet paper, bread, and milk, along with everyone else in Hampden.  I might have seen John Waters there, and he would have nodded when I waved.  How cool was it that our neighborhood shared a grocery store and post office with John Waters' (much nicer) neighborhood?  The BriteWash Laundry where Pecker's girlfriend Shelly worked was 2 blocks from my house.

What?  You've never seen the movie, Pecker?  Put it at the front of your queue immediately!  You will not be sorry.  I lived RIGHT THERE! That movie is a DOCUMENTARY! Hampden in particular and Baltimore in general is truly that weird.  There is nowhere else like it.

Next you must watch The Wire. Which is the best show ever to have been on television.  I taught in the neighborhood where they filmed the first season.  It was very very urban, in the most crime-ridden, depressing sense.  The elementary school was on the corner, and the hookers were on the sidewalk on the corner right there in front of the school.  They used my car windshield as a mirror to do their hair while waiting for customers! I would wait until they were done before driving away, which they seemed to appreciate.  We would wave at each other, and then I'd see them waving down their clientele.  At least the playground (which consisted of some asphalt, a dead tree and a broken backstop) was on the other side of the school.   That's BALTIMORE: the ultimate blend of friendly, bizarre, and dangerous. I miss it.  Because it's always interesting and unpredictable.

Right now all the neighbors in the rows are making big pots of whatever is in their kitchens and they're having potluck dinners.  The ones with four wheel drive are making supply runs to bring everyone else diapers and more milk.  School will be out for days and everyone will help each other dig out the cars.  Do not park in someone else's dug out spot, because they might shoot you and I am not kidding.

Here in Eugene we had to drive nearly two hours to achieve the blissful state  they call snow.  It was beautiful.  I did my yearly snowboarding day, just to make sure I still can, (Mostly I ski, just to be contrary.  My family has gone over to the dark side.)  I think the Hooligans were somewhat impressed.  I'm pretty good.   Except now my right ankle hurts like a mother F which is what you get for showing off.


  1. I love this! We lived in a 12-foot-wide row house in South Philly for several years, and I miss the weirdness. My current neighbors just don't show the same abiding interest in the very private details of my life ("How much weight you gaining? I smoked through my two pregnancies and never even had to buy new pants!"), and are generally lacking in drama.