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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Cars Parked in the Bike Lane at Monument & Mello Court

Cars Parked in the Bike Lane at Monument & Mello Court

I finally had something to do and somewhere to go, so I started Wednesday’s bike ride with a purpose. I had ordered a few running tops from my local running store, because I want my local running store to exist if this pandemic ever ends, and they accidentally sent me an extra one. I emailed to ask if I could just return it, and they said yes. Baltimore City opened up curbside shopping at 9am on Wednesday, so I biked down to the shop in Fells Point for the hand off.

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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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Center West at Schroeder & W. Fayette

Center West at Schroeder & W. Fayette

Monday was a windy mess, but I was frustrated and full of feelings, so I headed out on my bike anyway. After ice, wind is probably my least favorite weather condition on a bicycle, because a big gust can push me off center, and it just doesn’t feel safe. I only had a couple of those moments on this ride, so I call it a win.

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Empty Swimming Pool at Druid Hill Park

Empty Swimming Pool at Druid Hill Park

I went for a run this mid-morning, like I do most Fridays mid-morning. Today I ran with Ahmaud Arbery on my mind. He was killed on February 23, 2020, hunted down by two white men and shot while out for a jog. I go out for a jog all the time. One of the things I like about jogging is that it’s so simple. I put on my shoes, head out the door, and just go. It’s so simple.

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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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Surveillance Camera at the Reservoir at Druid Hill Park

Surveillance Camera at the Reservoir at Druid Hill Park

So, this is a post about what I saw running yesterday, not what I saw on my bicycle. I am training for a half marathon that I will run by myself in seven weeks, and Thursday was my mid-week short run, four and a half miles. I can’t believe that counts as a short run to me, especially because it takes so long for me to complete. I’m a slow poke–speed comes with time, and I’m giving it time. That said, I’m faster and I recover more quickly from a run than I ever thought possible. Consistent effort over time, as my father would say. Makes all the difference.

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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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