Looking up Gay Street Toward Baltimore Street

Looking up Gay Street Toward Baltimore Street

Monday’s weather was perfect for a bike ride–sunny, cool enough, light breeze–and I had time to take one. I hopped on and headed downtown to see what the previous few nights of unrest might have left on the streets. I saw quickly that one thing that was left was a whole bunch of cops. I zipped down Maryland and saw a group gathered in the courtyard by University of Baltimore, and then walking in a group up Cathedral, taking a right on Chase. And then there were cop cars and vans on almost every street.

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Looking Down the Pier at Fells Point

Looking Down the Pier at Fells Point

Monday was Memorial Day, and instead of hanging out with family in Michigan as planned, the ladyfriend and I were home in Baltimore, as usual. I’m still at home almost all the time. I go out every day for some exercise and sunshine, and once every ten days or so I go to the grocery store, but otherwise my life is completely home and online.

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Peeking Through the Fence at Lexington Market From Paca & Lexington

Peeking Through the Fence at Lexington Market From Paca & Lexington

Here we are, another week into quarantine. I regularly ask my students in our online course meetings if things are getting harder or easier. A. said a few weeks ago that things are mostly just getting weirder, and I totally agree with her. I remain in total disbelief that this is happening.

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Housewerks Salvage at Bayard & Hamburg

Housewerks Salvage at Bayard & Hamburg

I was feeling kind of blue on Monday, not for any real reason, but you know how it is. I find that all my irritation, frustration, anger, fear, despair…it gets laser focused on some tiny thing in my life that isn’t important at all in the scheme of things, but in a moment can get me so down. Right now, it’s the part where we got a new couch in January, it was delivered at the start of the lockdown, and the legs don’t fit, and so we’ve got a fancy couch sitting on the floor, and we may be sitting on the floor for months and months.

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Looking Down 33rd Street From Elm Street

Looking Down 33rd Street From Elm Street

Every day is the same, and the sameness is grinding. I’m incredibly routinized in general, and it took me only a few days to have a brand new quarantine routine. I still get up at the same time every day, but instead of commuting to work I read a book for awhile and then dither around on the internet. I next join my 8am Zoom Cat Chat group and then my Zoom writing group and attempt to put words on the page for two hours. That’s what I’m doing right now–putting words down for a little bit of time every day. This morning’s words are here.

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Charlcote House at Charlcote Place & Greenway

Charlcote House at Charlcote Place & Greenway

I can’t tell if this stay-at-home thing is getting to feel normal. I’m not gripped with fear and panic like I was three weeks ago, but I still can’t look more than a few days ahead. I’ve got to snap out of that at some point, because this isn’t only a present disaster. It’s a past disaster–we see that in the disproportionate rate of death facing communities long marginalized from access to the things that make your immune system strong: access to primary health care and nourishing food, time for sleep, and the financial ability to actually stay at home.

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Looking Up at Friends in a Window at Chesapeake Commons at Howard & Centre Streets

Looking up at a window at Chesapeake Commons at Howard & Centre Streets

It is an absolutely beautiful day in Baltimore, and it sucks to have to spend most of it inside. Outside feels increasingly dangerous to me. I think it’s the new relatively new call to wear a mask when outside. It’s an acknowledgement that this virus is invisible and could be hanging in the air anywhere, that not even standing all by yourself on a street corner is guard against it. And the masks we’re told to make ourselves, out of cotton, maybe with a coffee or furnace filter stuck in there, will only stop a relatively small percentage of those viruses from getting in. Wear a mask, but not a mask that actually works, because those are (absolutely rightly!) for folks working directly with patients.

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