Saturday, July 16, 2011

This kind of sums up the past week.

Along with J's job-hunting stress, financial worries,& summer cold issues (I've been fighting the nastiest warm-weather bug I can recall for over 3 weeks, & I think it's finally gone - whew) we had to deal with this mess when we got home on Thursday afternoon.

J & I are faithful recyclers. Every Thursday morning, he takes bags &/or boxes of recyclable items out to the alley behind our house & leaves them for pickup. It seems the workers responsible for carting away our recycling were in a bit of a rush this week, so when they spilled a good bit of what we'd set out, it was too much trouble to pick it up, & they left a huge mess for us to deal with. Grr. I've emailed our city council rep, who is fabulous, as well as the head of public works. I am doing my best not to be one of those Baltimore residents who bashes local government or says "What can you expect? It's the city..." every time something unpleasant affects them. This sort of thing happens everywhere; it's just very annoying when it happens to you.

There have been many negative stories about Baltimore in the news lately. Okay, there usually are. Crime grabs headlines. "If it bleeds, it leads." Don't get me started on the kinds of comments that crime-in-Baltimore stories generate online. I have to keep my reading of such nonsense to a minimum or I risk damage to my health, my computer, or both.

I'm not saying the media shouldn't keep the public informed, nor am I insensitive to the very real damage that crime does to our city & many others. Having been the victim of a violent crime myself, I know all too well how hard it is to recover, emotionally, after such an incident, & I was lucky enough not to be physically harmed. I can't imagine how horrible it must be to lose a loved one to street violence. Still, city-bashing really gets on my nerves, especially when it comes from people who have never lived here or think that Baltimore's problems (mainly crime & poverty) mean that when visiting, one can act like the trash that litters far too many of our public places. I've actually overheard suburbanites saying it's okay to get drunk & vomit all over Fell's Point, Federal Hill, etc. because "like, it's the city & like, no one CARES about the city." Uh, except those of us who call Baltimore home. Not all visitors are like this, of course, & we're glad to show our hometown off to anyone who wants to visit, provided that they treat the city with the same respect they would their own town or suburb. If you're going to come into town & act like a yahoo - destroying people's property, using the street as your bathroom, or just catcalling & making disgusting remarks to women, please stay home. J & I are skipping Artscape this weekend because we just don't want to deal with the drunken idiots who've made the event so unpleasant the past several years. Honfest seems to attract a more civil crowd, perhaps because it's a smaller event.

I used to trash-talk the suburbs on a regular basis, but as I've gotten older, I've come to see that they offer a lifestyle that suits many people. Much as J & I love it, city life isn't for everyone. We wish there were easy solutions to Baltimore's ills, but there aren't. We just do our best to stay safe & keep our little corner of the city clean.

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