The YMCA at 33rd & Ellerslie Against Blue Skies

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First, I have to say something about the weather. It is so hot and humid out. This is obvious to anyone in the are, but wow, it makes a difference in how riding feels. I’m sleeping like a rock, like I’ll need a crane to peel me off the bed in the morning, because riding in this humidity sucks the life force from me. I mean, I still love it, but it takes some acclimatizing is all. I got some of that out of the way with my long ride on Tuesday and commuting on Wednesday, but on Thursday the best I could do was the mile to and from the YMCA. N. and I just joined for pool access so N. can use it to heal this back spasm that’s gripped her for the past three weeks, and I’m using it to get back to weight training and maybe a group class or two. Thursday’s was Urban Line Dancing, which as far as I could tell meant Black folks, not white country folks. I rode to the gym, sweaty after just ten minutes, locked up to the rack, took a minute to judge the blue fixie rider for locking their impracticable bike horizontally on the U-rack, and headed in to join the twenty or so other dancers. I was close to the youngest, and the only white person, and it struck me how rarely that ever happens in my life. Our social spaces are so segregated by age and race, generally, that rarely do I find myself in the minority, other than sometimes in the classroom–a privilege, but also a cost of whiteness. It’s only Smalltimore because we live such segregated lives, you know. Everyone was friendly enough, and I gamed my way through the six or so dances (though Bmore Nights is going to take some out-of-class work if I’m going to get it), and had a really good time. The steps were complicated, so all I could do was focus on them, and that was a treat. I said my goodbyes on the way out, happy to have found another place to play, this one in ac. Thanks, this YMCA, for being welcoming to so many kinds of folks. I snapped this picture on my way out. All blue skies, no sign of the humidity.

John A. Shaw Elementary School at Music & Law

It has been a long week, so when I was finished with work early, I took the late afternoon to ride my bike around in what continues to be absolutely ridiculously nice weather. I hadn’t ridden the new bike lane on St. Roch Avenue, so I headed there to check out our new bicycle facilities. I spend very little time in that neighborhood, so I just rode around, checking things out. I turned on Music Street and noticed this school, seemingly abandoned, gutted by fire. I circled around it, waving to the guy standing on the corner, smelling the barbecue wafting on the air, thinking about how this is a neighborhood, but this abandoned school is rotting up the place instead of being alive with kids and playground equipment (there is some–not in usable shape by any means). Continue reading