Friday, May 25, 2007

Baltimore rant, and reading update

For anyone out there that loves Baltimore, truly sees the Charm City in it, I applaud you. I respect your opinion, and wish I felt the same way. But now, it's official. I despise this city. As much as my husband does and maybe more, as I tried so hard to give it a chance. We moved here when my hubby was accepted for 2 years of his surgical residency. We have one year left, and then we're out of here, to finish his residency elsewhere. We will no longer live in the city that is ranked as having the highest crime rate in the entire United States.

Growing up near the area, I hesitated when we first made the decision to move here. I knew the city, knew what it used to be like, and wasn't that excited. I wanted to stay in Philadelphia, our most recent home (or even better, move back to Australia). Once here, however, I was pleasantly surprised. At first. We live in a cute neighborhood. There are definitely more options for foodies than a decade ago. Local boutiques are thriving. The local markets may not be the best, but at least there are farmer's markets. I met quite a few very nice people.

I ignored the fact that almost all local parks are not completely safe to go to by yourself. Or that local coffee houses are practically nonexistent. No authors ever seem to stop here on book tours. Traffic is horrendous, and you can't go 5 feet without hitting a pothole (oh my aching, pregnant breasts!). Public transport is not adequate at all. Drivers are atrociously rude and dangerous. Not to mention the still-pervasive segregation and racism abundant on all sides. And the stories from clients (refugees) who have been attacked started to become a bit worrisome.

But yesterday. Yesterday was the last straw. Last night, hubby's moped was stolen from outside the outpatient entrance at Johns Hopkins. In plain sight of the security guard stall, and parking garage cashier.

If this was the first incident, it would be one thing. Second, maybe a string of bad luck. But no, in the past year, we have:
- Had a bicycle stolen from a Metro station. Yep, it was locked up tight.
- On the SAME night, in a completely unrelated incident, someone broke into our apartment, stole all of my good jewelry, my birth certificate, social security card, and a host of store credit cards we never use. Yeah, that was fun.
- 6 months after buying our brand new car, we were rear-ended while waiting to turn left, and our car was totalled. The person who hit us, had just picked up his car from the mechanic since he caused an accident a few weeks beforehand. This is the accident that put me in physical therapy for 3 months and cost me my job. The only bonus is he freely admitted his fault.
- now the moped, which was also locked up tight to a motorcycle rack, with 2 locks.

The only positive thing out of the moped situation, is that I no longer have to hear my husband come home saying he was abused by pedestrians while driving in to work. He has been hit with a plastic pipe, had rocks thrown at him, and once, someone even tried to pee on him while he was at a red light. The joys of commuting to an inner-city hospital. But now we're once again stuck with one vehicle, and with crappy public transport, I'm stuck at home. I really miss the days that we didn't need a car because I could take public transport everywhere (that era only ended when we moved here...we lived 8 years without any car at all). I will definitely not raise our child in this city.

And now, my trip to the beach to see my family is cancelled because how can I take the car for a week when that is the only way that hubby can get to work at 5am?

Argh, I really had to get that out. Even though I am really whining in a way I haven't whined in years, I just had to vent!

Foucault's Pendulum update
To make this post somewhat book-related, I am making progress on Foucaul's Pendulum. As I found out, the blurb on the book is somewhat misleading: Three book editors create 'The Plan', a conspiracy theory started by feeding information randomly into a computer, after they were told of a similar theory by a strange colonel.

I recently passed the halfway point in the book, and I'm just starting to learn how 'The Plan' was devised. But that by no means indicates a weakness on the part of the author. Eco seems to have created an intellectual masterpiece. He has created a novel filled with vast amounts of information that most readers will have no concept of, yet still makes it interesting. I may know a little bit about some of what is talked about (Kabbalah, mythology and world religions, philosophy, gnostic sects, Templars, etc), and no idea about many other things (semiotics, excerpts written in latin or french, occult studies), yet it is still a page-turner. Definitely not a book for everyone, but definitely a book for those who like to challenge themselves. I can't wait to finish it. The only part that dragged so far was the 3 pages in which Belbo, one of the editors, compared the 10 Sefirot of the Kabbalah to the mechanics of a car.


Literary Feline said...

How terrible! I keep hearing about how bad a place Baltimore is to live, but until you described it, I never realized! It sounds like you do need to get out and I wish you luck in the meantime. I'm appreciating my not-so-favorite-place-to-live a lot more now.

Laura said...

Sorry to hear that! Living about 1 hr from both Philly & Baltimore, we enjoy a fairly rural life but also get to the big city from time to time ... really like the Aquarium, Port Discovery, and Inner Harbor area. Of course we also used to be completely hooked on the TV show "Homicide: Life on the Streets".

Speaking of which, have you checked the homicide rate in Philly lately? It's really awful what guns are doing to our society.

Hope you find a place more to your liking post-residency ...

MyUtopia said...

I am so sorry to hear that you were robbed! My thoughts are with you and your family.

3M said...

Oh. my. goodness. I would go absolutely insane if I had to deal with that. I'm a country girl, no doubt about it.

I hope your next move is somewhere wonderful!

Bookfool said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. Our apartment was robbed when we were living in Tulsa and we have things stolen here, but weird things - a full trash can (they dumped the trash along the road as they drove), a nice little planter from my front porch, the mailbox. Having someone break into your home is so creepy. They drive very badly in MS, too. I hope you find someplace wonderful to move in a year. Hugs to you.