Garbage in the Water Next to the Pendry Hotel on Thames Street

20180607_093733 This week was one of regular bike rides, to and from work, just like the pre-cancer days–down the hill, take a right, lock up, and reverse it at the end of the day. It’s a good kind of weird to just act normal, and it’s also exhausting; I ended every day with a bone-crushing fatigue that frankly I’ll take over cancer treatment any day. I’m better, but I’m not just fine, and that’s ok.

Thursday’s ride took me down the hill and over to the hospital again, though, this time for a pelvic ultrasound. I’m on a drug for the next ten years that slightly increases my risk of uterine cancer, so my doc suggested I get a baseline ultrasound so we can track it. Because I am the most compliant patient in the history of time, I did this two weeks after he asked me to do it. Anyway. The ride was quick and easy, mostly in bike lanes with rush hour traffic slowed by itself. I locked up, went in for my appointment (not pleasurable, by any means, but not that bad), and then had the next few hours to myself with my bicycle. I headed down Broadway, past the new cancer center, the restaurants just starting to open up, the people hanging out on stoops, gathering at the convenience stores, or meeting outside social service facilities, and down to Fells Point. I said my how-you-doins and good-mornings, and then I crossed Aliceanna Street and was in a totally different part of Baltimore.

This neighborhood has some cash. You can tell by the plaza that has been remodeled in the last few years (with little imagination, if you ask me, but I’m porting over frustration at the sad remodel of McKeldin Square), the historic buildings, the waterfront with its clean pier, and the fancy new Pendry Hotel. It’s in the old building that used to be marked by a plaque recounting its storied history as a set for the television show Homicide, but now it’s got burnished bronze plaques announcing it as a Sagamore Hotel. There are doormen outside, seating areas, and every room has a balcony. And yet there’s trash in the water washing up next to it. All the money in the world won’t keep trash from traveling downstream.

I locked up my bike and headed to the fancy bakery/coffee shop just across the inlet of water from the hotel. I ordered a blueberry muffin and a coffee after watching the guy in front of my stock up on drinks, pay with one of those credit cards that’s too fancy to have your name or number on the front, and then hit the “No Tip” button on the screen. My god what is wrong with you how are you not bursting into flames LEAVE A TIP. I left a tip, took my food outside, shared my muffin with some birds, and watched the crowd, all of us somehow fortunate enough to be leisurely sitting outside after 9am on a Thursday in June. What a life!

And then the trash vacuum pulled up and removed all the accumulated trash from the water before heading on its way to vacuum up other parts of the harbor. Trash runs downstream, but if you can afford it, you can have it hidden away. It was time to get on my bike so I headed home, uphill, through Fells and Harbor East, up and alongside the service sector that is Fallsway, with its cap of prisons and jails, through Greenmount West, Harwood, Charles Village, Barclay, Abell. I went through so many neighborhoods in just under 40 minutes. It’s good to be back on my bike and looking out.

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