Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Love/Hate Relationship with Baltimore

Ask anyone whose spent any amount of time with me (particularly traveling or leaving my hometown) and they've probably picked up on my almost utter contempt of the city of Baltimore; where I was born and raised. And alas, parts of that is true. There are certain aspect of the city that I have truly grown to hate and that which, I'd love to pack it up all and move the hell away from. People often ask me (ok, my family who'd never want me to leave) what is so wrong with Baltimore? Why would you want to leave? What's the big deal?

Good questions. Ok, let's see where to start.

The Schools
Having grown up and within the Baltimore City public schools, I can safely and easily say we have some of The Worst schools I have ever heard of. Misappropriated funds. Rampant under achieverism. Buildings literally falling apart. Tired, worn out underpaid teachers, outdated books, lack of supplies, lack of college-bound prep, violence, teen pregnancy, gangs, drugs, lack of after-school programs and access to tutoring. Where do I stop. I clearly remember having to use razor blades to cut up a project while in class because we weren't supplied with scissors, having textbooks from the 1960's that we couldn't take home because there weren't enough of them, not really ever having homework in high school (which did not help my transition into college any easier), sitting in a class half full of knocked-up, teen parents (a few on their 2nd childs), NO SAT prep offered (at my school anyway) and from what I heard over half never complete college. No surprise there since most of us were passed through below standards. Sure, I finished college and went on to graduate school, but I'm the minority there. And while I'm proud of that achievement, I still would never allow a child of mine to go through city schools.


Transportation

I seriously never had a problem with transportation since I was a driver and never really had to consider it until the recent gas hikes and I began taking public transpo. I'm lucky. I live near a subway station and not far from the Light Rail, but if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to really get anywhere without taking 45 mins. I don't even know how someone on the eastside, without a car would get downtown since the metro does not even run on their end. Not until I'd spent some time in DC, New York and Boston and used their subway systems did I realize just how young and lacking ours is. A car is a must in this city.


Nightlife

What nightlife? Unless you frequent (and like) ghetto establishments such as Club One, Xanadu (formerly Club X), or can deal with Powerplants Mosiac and its sloppy, drunken club goers, Baltimore has little to offer in nightclubs or dancing. I can't even think of one really nice spot to go dancing besides Red Maple on Sundays only. We have few really nice places which have good music, decent people, chill atmospheres and where you'd actually go back the next week. I don't know of any other city that is basically dead on Friday and Saturday nights. The assumption is that everyone is now going to DC. That's wack. We should have out own. And much kudos to the club promoters I know that try every week to bring people up, but it seems like the entire atmosphere needs an overhaul. People come up from out of town and are embarrassed for us.


The Dating Scene

Now this is gonna sound harsh, but I've said it verbally and I'm gonna write it right here. Cause somebody has to. The dating scene here abso-freaking-lutely sucks! The main problem (for females anyway, can't speak for the men) is the complete lack of eligible men to date. I'd say that 93.7% of the men here are plug & butt-ugly, then out of the rest, you'd be lucky to find a guy that is actually looking for something other than a friend-with-benefits type relationship, a fuck buddy or some other variation of a non-committed-type, ass option for their pleasure and convenience, under the age of 45. It seems the men here are in no hurry to make any sort of commitment to any women, even in their upper 30's and because they have the extra advantage of being a man (cause let's face it, they seems to be no shortage of eligible woman everywhere), they can pick and choose and repeatedly throw away whatever they become bored with and move on to the next. There, I said it. And what!


Crime

Well, we all have heard that Bmore is one of the top 5 most dangerous cities in the nation and blah, blah, blah. Well, it is! We've already surpassed last year's homicide rate, at a climbing 190-something, up 30 more bodies from last year and I think every time I turn on the news, someone else was shot up the night before and more bullet-ridden bodies were found on some block, on somebodies side of town. I think we are so used to hearing of so murders that we don't even blink when we her them anymore. My first thought is 'what street this time'. For one thing, I know we have a shortage of police officers but second, we seem to have a host of corruption within the force. The numbers (and bodies speak for themselves)



Ghetto Mentality

My biggest pet peeve of all with this city, would have to be that fact that ghetto mentality (a phrase my beloved father coined), runs rampant here! Too many people here would rather try there best trying to keep up with the stars they see on BET and in broke down rap videos, than to really educate themselves, rise up and get out of poverty and into an improved economic situation. Its always sad to see a 40 year old trying
Ok, yeah, I sound like a real hater.

BUT I have to add that as much as Baltimore sucks in my mind, it is still my place of birth, where all my family resides and where I call home. So there are things that I definitely miss and appreciate when I'm away.

Baltimore Club Music
There is nothing like Bmore club to me! Call me what you want but I LOVE me some Bmore club. No other club music compares in my mind to the "8/4 beat structure" of true Baltimore club music. No to be confused with house or techno, there is no other music quite like it. And if you don't know what I'm talking about. I'm sorry, I can't even begin to define it, But if you see me stop what I'm doing and pop off one of my shoulder/hip/elbow maneuvers, Bmore club must be playing.


Affordability
Bmore is a very affordable town. I live very comfortably, with a very low rent. You can still get drinks for under $5 (sometimes $2). Real estate, though climbing is not as ridiculous as other cities and the overall cost of living here is reasonable.


Culture
Though this is a predominately black city (64%), there is still lots of cultural backgrounds here 9even though they may be in different neighborhoods). Latinos, Carribbeans, Jewish, Russians, Trinis. We have a good mix. Not to mention the oddball homeless we have. On any given day you can find some smelly schizophrenic downtown singing Marvin Gaye unsolicited but beautifully on key. OR you might catch some crazy exposing himself to innocent bystanders leaving an O's game. That's real!


Its Home!
Most importantly, no matter where I go (and I hope I go somewhere else soon) Baltimore will always be my home and its where allmy family and friends are. Most of the time when I leave for whatever reason, I am so relieved to walk through BWI and see those "fear the Turtle" billboards for U. of Maryland and get in my car, hit 695 and head toward Reisterstown Rd. I am tickled to be back to where things are famaliar and cozy to me.

1 comment:

rude boy said...

I agree, Baltimore is wack.