I’ve only been on my bicycle a few times since my big trip through the Adirondacks. That’s partly because I was exhausted and my non-biking sister was in town, and then because I was out of town at a family wedding, getting chauffeured around like the girlfriend of the sister of the bride. And now I’m back in Baltimore, settling in for a long late summer and fall of no travel, and that means I’m back on my bike, because that’s how I get around this place. Today’s ride was a quick one over to Hampden to meet M. to talk about a conference presentation we’re planning together. It took about two pedal strokes for me to start smiling–oh, it’s good to be home. I made a pit stop in Charles Village for lunch and then was back on the same old route, shifting up and down as I rode down and up and over to the coffee shop. It was a good meeting, full of the healthy pessimism that accompanies academics talking about institutions and capitalism and the like, and then I was back on the bike for a zippy ride home.
I snapped this picture at the corner of Old York and 35th, a police car parked (illegally) as an officer talked to the folks sitting on the porch under that awning. I’m pretty sure she was asking about last night, around 9:30, when the ladyfriend and I heard the pop-pop-pop, too loud to be mistaken for firecrackers, so loud I instinctively flattened out on the couch, patted myself for holes. Another shooting, third in the previous three hours, all over town, according to The Twitter, though this one thankfully wasn’t fatal. It’s no secret that Baltimore’s a shooting gallery these days, already surpassing last year’s homicide total, and it’s only August. I have nothing deep to say about this. All I’ve got is that it’s scary and it’s sad, so many lives upended every day. Lots of folks have ideas about how to fix this, short and long term, but nobody really knows what to do, probably because there isn’t just one thing to do, no single solution to a multifaceted problem of racism, inequality, entrenched poverty, lack of opportunity, drug laws, capitalism, and all the rest of it. I felt the same way as I turned that corner as I felt last night: I wish there weren’t any guns at all, ever. And then I was home, a quick rest, and now I’m off to get back on the bike for a ride down to Camden Yards to take in a baseball game–it’s free t-shirt night, and we’re playing the Mets. Living here’s a complicated business, as it is everywhere, I’m guessing.