After a long day at work, I drove home, choked down a snack, and then hopped on the bike to head down to McKeldin Square to meet up with folks at Occupy Baltimore. Man, there was a lot going on there tonight, and it was complicated, and after a couple of hours it was time to head home and do some thinking. A police helicopter flew overhead as I left, and an unmarked cop car flew up Calvert. Continue reading
My oldest friend L. has been in town this weekend, and it was so, so good to see her. She’s the kind of friend who is totally happy to just sit and watch a zillion episodes of some crappy television show she’s already seen, eat at the same restaurant two nights in a row because it was just so good the first time, and watch me clean and lube and shine my bicycle for the ride I was going to take after she was gone, and that’s what I did after dropping her at the train station. Continue reading
I didn’t ride my bike today, but I walked all over the neighborhood with my oldest friend, L., who came to visit, and this is the view of the Jones Falls, and you’ll miss it if you stay in your car, or even on the bike. Such a lovely day for a slow walk and a long look over the side of the bridge–fall just might be here.
I finally had some time to take the bike out for a ride after a long and lovely weekend with friends and colleagues and ideas and some folks who I think just might be my people at the American Studies Association conference. My good friend S. was with me, so I was en voiture, reminding myself again why I travel by bike. Parking a car? As D. said, it’s like lugging a giant purse around with you all day. Continue reading
It’s time for the American Studies Association annual conference, and this year, it’s in Baltimore. That means I get to loll around my house and then just hop on the bike and roll down the hill to the Hilton instead of paying a zillion bucks a night to sleep there. That’s what I did this afternoon, and I hung out in those boring rooms with their uncomfortable chairs and their air walls that seem to transfer sound rather than actually make another room. Those rooms have hosted so many different conferences and meetings and endless chatter, and today’s was about the many layers of racial difference and ethnicity, nation states and colonialism, hybridity and difference. It was good, there was listening, and I saw familiar faces that reminded me that I am known. It was nice. Then I rode back up the hill to home, picked up S. from the train station, fed us some dinner, and walked to the old churchat 2640 St. Paul for a panel of really, really smart people who talked in this old church about racism in the 21st century. It was so good, and Andy Smith said something I really needed to hear: there’s a difference between a politics of recognition and a politics of self-determination. I snapped this picture and thought about how many different ways the same spaces can be used. So many means, so many ends.
Today’s bike ride took me down to Fells Point to meet V. for coffee and work–she wrote about women’s human rights, I graded papers about gender and social construction–before heading up to the library for a talk. I haven’t figured out a good way to get from Fells Point and points east to the west side without getting trapped between cars on Charles Avenue, so I took the long way around via the friendly bike route via Fallsway. Continue reading
It was another beautiful sunny fall day in Baltimore, and it felt so, so good to head out on the bike to enjoy the weather and brunch and then a ride with no destination. I decided to check out the Edgar Allan Poe house, because word on the street is it may not be around long. Some historical sites don’t seem to be affected at all by pesky details like the economic crash. I mean, check out the majesty of Fort McHenry–that place is ridonkulous. I know, I know, maybe it has more national meaning than Poe’s house, but if we had any sense of equity, the Poe House would be open more than a few days a week from 12:00-3:00. Continue reading
I spent my lazy Saturday at home, reading a little of this and a little of that and then watching a documentary about the life and times of Bayard Rustin as I ate my lunch. What a remarkable man, and he said, “We are all one. And if we don’t know it, we will learn it the hard way.” Think about that. Seriously, seriously deep, and not in some facile way where we should all just get along, or we don’t have differences because we’re all just human, but that we are in this thing together, and if we don’t figure that out, and if we just abandon huge swathes of ourselves, we are in serious trouble; we’ve got plenty of evidence that Rustin’s right, all over the place. Continue reading
I have had an incredibly long and busy week that has left me exhausted, so all I could muster on my Friday was a ride down to the library to picke up a couple of movies and a book before settling in at the coffee shoppe for some browsing and reading. I rode home up Calvert Street and stopped at Preston to snap a picture of the street signs for a friend whose brother’s name is Preston Calvert–awesome. I took this photo of the street there, because it reminded me of home, those New Orleans streets that are pocked up and showing their brick undergarments, loose gravel everywhere, this time from repaving. I can’t wait for this street to be all shiny new asphalt, like Guilford. I have been here for two months, and I’m already thinking a lot about street surfaces. Oh, and keep your eyes open for that surprisingly deep sinkhole on Maryland just, across North Avenue. Get to know your street surfaces! I pedaled slowly home, hoping to get some rest for an actual ride tomorrow.
Today’s ride took me up to campus in the afternoon for another faculty senate meeting, and I could feel the difference regular riding is making in my stamina, and it is really exciting. I’m not scared by hills anymore, even that one that gets you up to Haverhill Road. The ride makes sense in its chunks–down the hill to Mt. Vernon and up through Bolton Hill, Lafayette through West Baltimore, South on Monroe–serious traffic today–Frederick and up the hill to Caton Avenue, Caton and Wilkens, and then finally the weird cul-de-sacs of Arbutus–et voila! I only took one wrong turn and knocked 3 minutes off my time, but what really surprised me was that I wasn’t exhausted when I got to campus, and that felt amazing. Continue reading