And sometimes you take three days off of bicycling because your dear sister is in town, and she’s a runner, so you happily walk and take the bus and hope N. will pick you both up and drive you around town. Today, though, what I really needed was to get back on the bike. I didn’t get a chance to ride around until the evening, when I hopped on the bike and headed down to Mount Vernon for a meeting. In a shocking turn of events, especially for a Monday, the meeting ran short, so I had plenty of time to ride around town. I headed down to the main post office because I’ve never been inside that behemoth of Brutalist architecture, plus also I wanted to put a letter in the mail. Folks were lined up with their packages in what was honestly just another post office counter, but they had some excellent displays of retail products, and I bought some stamps from a machine, so I left happy. I walked my bike across the street, lifting it over the awkwardly high divider on Lafayette, wondered what they’re trying to control with that thing, and then made my way over to Patterson Park. I took note of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City’s stamp of approval on both Perkins Homes and the luxury condos going up a couple blocks east of there in Fells Point, wondered why some public housing is “good” and some is “bad,” shifted into an easier gear, and climbed my way into the park for a loop around. I lamented the broken water fountain by the pagoda, noted the racial segregation on the fields (softball and soccer, different crowds), watched other people feed ducks, snapped this picture of a hazy late afternoon August sun, wondered why some neighborhoods get such fancy dog parks, and then headed back toward home, up the hill. As always, I passed the variety of service centers for people living in poverty–a health clinic for homeless people, a job center, a shelter–that abut Baltimore’s impressive array of jails and prisons, no better spatial representation of the part where what the crime really is, it’s being poor. Pedal, pedal, all the way home, a ride just what I needed. I need the input of city streets, and I’m glad I got that today.
I hope some people got work at the job center today — maybe even to repair the fountain — so they can get some money and buy a… BIKE, the point at which life quality instantly improves, at least a little.