City of Baltimore Car Wash Facility on Fallsway & Gay

Today’s ride took me down the hill–surprise, surprise–for a quick turn at the gym and some groceries before heading back up the hill to home. The whole ride is only 6 miles and only takes about 40 minutes. Driving might be marginally faster, but so, so much less pleasant! Anyway, I stopped to take this picture of the City of Baltimore Car Wash Facility on Fallsway near Gay Street, practically in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express or Sleep Inn or whatever hotel is there, surely regularly disappointing visitors that it’s sharing the block with Healthcare for the Homeless. The same stretch also hosts the city’s gas pumps. Both of these services are easily commercially available, but it appears it is cheaper or more convenient for the city to have its own capacities and use them in place of private ones. The attendant at this place is, I assume, a city employee. The lettering on the building, which you can’t really see here behind the bars and police cars (I was afraid I’d get in trouble if I got closer–that’s what a police state will do to you), looks old, and I wonder if it would even be possible to build such a thing nowadays, when we seem to have decided the state is always bad and corporations are always good. Well, maybe we haven’t decided it, but the folks making decisions sure have. We’ve outsourced things that used to be seen as the vital responsibilities of the state, things like criminal justice, parks, schools–really, really important stuff that used to be collective responsibilities, privatized for private profit. And that’s what I thought about as I scooted past Baltimore’s own prison industrial complex and on until riding through the school administration building’s parking lot–officially part of the bike path–and past the other school building where truants and disciplinary cases are brought, I think, and then on to home, again thankful that the bike lets me see things I would just never see from my car, even if I don’t always like what I see.

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