Things I appreciate about Baltimore, at least what I’ve seen of it, which isn’t a lot. These great deciduous woods. And how there’s a reason to look like someone from an LL Bean catalog- I mean, it’s cold there. Really cold. Burn the tip of your nose with freezing wind, cold. The interesting accent: “Li-uh-ih-uh-lee” (little italy). Ba-uh-more (baltimore).
A kind of scrappy defensiveness for being the town that Oprah wants to save. Reminds me of Atlanta with the huge Baptist churches, at every corner. There’s two Baptist churches right next to each other on my sister’s block. Also, how folks dress up for church- hat, shoes, dress, all same color: bright blue. Brilliant.
A Chinese guy delivers food and I say “Thanks, this is great” to him in Chinese and I get rewarded with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen! Followed with something like “You speak Chinese well.” I have to remember to reply: “Oh no, I speak poorly.” If I can figure out how to say that.
This guy co-owns a Blue Bottle-style coffee roastery out of a storage space, called Zeke’s, and he lit up when I talked about Peets. I guess he models his roast after them. He also had this distinct Baltimore-style attitude that I also noticed in some other folks I talked to. It’s a brusque humor that’s also kind of obnoxiously blunt and honest. A dad at a playground was complaining about how expensive parochial schools were for his 3 girls: “I’m looking forward to college!” Coffee guy place responds to me, when I ask him the difference between milling your beans versus grinding. “It’s milling!” The Californian version of “Like, duh.” or “So lame,” or perhaps the blank stare and “whatever.”
There’s a roughness to Baltimore- Sister was telling me how many pit bull breeds she runs into at the park, how bad the schools are, stuff like that. It’s still neat to see a big city of working class folks with families- so different from SF which is this island of wealth and privilege with very few kids and almost no working class.