Sunday was another shockingly beautiful day in Baltimore, and we had an outdoor wedding to attend down in Fells Point, on Ravens game day. This is just the sort of thing that would throw my parking-averse self into a frenzy days in advance, worrying where we were going to put the car, how much parking would cost, when we’d have to leave to find a spot–not to brag, but I can really worry about this sort of thing. But the ladyfriend and I both have bikes, so we put on our formal wear–me, a dress and heels, her slacks and a vest and a tie and some snazzy wingtips–and jammed some lights and a safety vest in a bag for the ride home, and headed down the hill to watch L. and T. tie the knot. Actually, they did so awhile ago in Australia, but they wanted to throw a show for the rest of us, and they couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day to do so. The ceremony was short and sweet, the Patapsco in the background, and then we had an hour to enjoy cocktails before the toasts and kisses and dinner began. We did a little record shopping, stopped at the 7-11 for a celebratory slurpee, and then headed into the Admiral Fell Inn for the rest of the festivities. This place used to be the Anchorage Hotel, where mariners at the turn of the century could stay for a reasonable price rather than finding themselves being price-gouged for temporary housing by the very people who hired them at low wages for work at sea. Rather than finding themselves caught in a debt cycle with shipowners–they’d get paid, go ashore, and find they’d spent all their money and more just for food, a place to stay, cheap alcohol, and sex, left with no other choice than to head back out on another mission for whatever low wage the ship owner was paying. They’d get you, coming or going, but the Anchorage combined reasonable prices with a side of missionary zeal to interrupt that cycle. Now it’s a hotel I assume I couldn’t afford, and the debt cycles that trap folks in this part of Baltimore look different, even if they feel the same. I never thought I’d be up on the top floor on their balcony, but there you go, and there we were, looking out at the swirled sky, sipping champagne, eating the tiniest crab cakes in the world. What a view, what a view, and so were L. and T. And then we danced our one dance before it was time to head home–I’ve got an early bedtime these days–and it was simply a perfect night for a bike ride. Unless you were wearing lined wool pants, according to N. It’s still too hot out for that business, apparently.
What a day! There’s an old Dylan song – name escapes my aged mind – that fully captures the mariners’ cycle you describe. I hope you don’t have to go back to sea again.