Not Lost, Just Wandering
“She’s leaving Baltimore for good.”
~Male patron talking to his friend at Blue Moon Cafe
I walked and wandered a lot tonight. It started with so much potential: I had just finished a week of teaching, I bought some gin and ginger ale, was kinda tipsy and wanted some physical contact. My goal for the night was to hookup with someone on a dating app. Armed with a backpack full of gin, water, my iPhone I bicycled down Maryland Ave and wove my way through the bike path on the Inner Harbor where I was almost run over by a police vehicle driving towards me on said bicycle path.
I embarked on a journey to Blue Moon Cafe tucked away in one of the less-busy streets of Fells Point where I indulged in some Zeke’s coffee and a biscuit with strawberry jam. I sipped on my coffee, as I watched the different groups of intoxicated people stumble into the 24 hour cafe. At some point a Baltimore hon sat next to me and talked to me about how she loved Blue Moon Cafe, and how the one in Federal Hill had much more seating room but was just as crowded.
Failing to find a match on the dating app, with someone who wanted to meet with me, I decided to bike back home. I wound my way past Latin Palace towards the cobblestoned paths of Thames Street in bro-central Fells Point. Drunk girls in skimpy dresses and high heels attempted to support one another as they waited in line at the pizza shop, bros put their arms around each other as they shuffled down the sidewalks, and I cycled by them all.
The journey back home turned out to be much more eventful than my initial sojourn down to the harbor. I passed by women booty popping’ in the middle of the street to show off in front of their boyfriends and prostitutes flashing the passing cars on Fayette Street as an elderly coupled walked past them. I was speeding by as fast as I could to get back home, until my back wheel popped somewhere past 600 Park Ave. I walked up north past the Drinkery and took refuge in front of The Bun Shop on Read Street, since it was 2:30am at this point and it stays open with its hipster denizens until 3:00am. I failed to fix my tire with the gear that I brought, so I made the decision to just walk home.
I felt like I experienced a few lifetimes during that walk. For one of the first times in during my journeys in Baltimore, I felt a bit scared. I was a moving target, walking with a bicycle with a flat wheel alone in the night. But I didn’t want to feel scared, but I did. That both frustrated me and angered me.
At some point I jumped while walking underneath the Howard Street dip underneath Mount Royal Avenue when one of the streetlights fizzed out as I walked by. I made eye contact with a man doing parkour in Graffiti Alley, and met a trans woman by the Ottobar. I had met this woman several times in the past, and she asked me to spare some money. I told her that it was my personal philosophy not to hangout money to people begging on the streets, and she just looked away, rolled her eyes, and sighed.
As I walked further northwards towards my home, I reflected on my own privilege. I thought about how it’s so easy for me not to pull out a few bucks from my wallet to help out a black transgender woman living out on the streets. Honestly, I wish out of the many times I’ve bumped into her, that I could really make a connection outside of her asking me for money and my denying her request.
After passing by the Ottobar, I felt safe knowing that I was back in Remington. I kind of hated knowing that I didn’t feel as safe outside of my neighborhood, even though my route was generally free from trouble. I passed by a group of hipster cyclists drinking Natty Boh’s on their porch and the remnants of a fraternity party sipping the last dregs of their keg in red solo cups. When I finally stepped foot on W 31st street, I made eye contact with one of the neon-vested Johns Hopkins security workers and breathed a sigh of relief that I made it back safely.
I don’t really understand my experiences tonight, except that Baltimore is both a very weird and charming city all at the same time. I literally ran into people from different backgrounds, cultures, demographics, races, sexual spectrums, and neighborhoods all trying to just make it in their own way. I got a first-hand look at nightlife across neighborhoods, as a lone wanderer journeying northwards.
“You want some of this?”
~Prostitute on Fayette
“Oh my god it smells so fucking good!”
~Drunk girl as she entered Blue Moon Cafe
“No! Fuck him!”
~Bro with his two girls on Thames Street
“Now I know what you’re thinking about me: ‘Girl! She a junkie on crack!’”
~Trans Woman near Ottobar
“Have you heard of Bertucci’s? They serve the best pizza that I have ever eaten!”
~Server at a cafe near Fells Point
“No you wouldn’t want to meet up with me because I don’t look as good as my profile picture and I’m tired.”
~Some guy on Grindr
~Hipster cyclists on a porch
~Fading frat bros
“You Didn’t Deserve It”
~Quote on a poster about sexual consent