Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What if Balzac rode the Amtrak?

As you may have inferred from my previous post, I am a commuter.  Yes, I am that office slave you see in the morning speed walking to Penn Station so as to not spill my coffee from my eco-friendly travel mug.  And, yes, that was me standing at the bus stop in the rain staring up the street hoping the bus will actually show up. 

Commuting by public transit rocks. 

I mean that seriously.   I will take commuting by train/bus any day over driving. The stories I encounter daily are beyond real and make the tedious trip entertaining.

Where else can one hear the conversational hat trick that follows:

Overheard #1 on the MARC train, southbound just outside BWI Airport Station 
Man on cell phone: "so for dinner tonight we are having pickled tongue and heart. That'll get you going. The tongue is dense, while the heart is soft and rich. Quite a combination."
 Overheard #2 on the MARC train, northbound just outside Odenton, MD
Middle-Aged Woman #1: ....so, she is tall and thin.  And, the husband, is short and a little homely looking.
Middle-Aged Woman #2: Do they live in your neighborhood?
MAW #1: I think so.  At least, they are always exercise walking on my street.  I think they live in the house with all the gopher holes in the yard.  I think she's an anorexic.
MAW #2: That's my brother's wife.
 Overheard #3 on the Baltimore MTA Bus, northbound on Charles St.
Young Man: The jobs is sh*t right now.  Ain't no one I know whose gettin' work.
Older Man: I know that's right.
Young Man: I've had like, two three different jobs in the last two years.  That's why I've been dealing drugs.  I've been dealing since I was 16 and that sh*t is consistent.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Golden memories can turn the night into day.

A good friend of mine is studying for her MLA at Johns Hopkins.  This semester she is taking a course about memory (the title of which, ironically, escapes my memory) and how individual memories are shaped by senses than by cognitive process.  Essentially, you are going to remember an event not because the event happened but because you can recall a smell or sound from the event.  Cool, and way more intellectual than I prefer to get on this blog.  Don't worry, there is a point to this tale.

I have been giving this theory some consideration lately.  See, I have plenty of time to do so as I commute by train at least an hour a day between Baltimore and DC.  If memories are formed by senses more than by thought, what can I trust of my collected memories? Childhood is a faint blur to me now, but I do remember the smell of the leaves the morning after a rain as I walked to school.  I also remember the pain I felt when my brother and I used to test one another's mettle by giving each other indian burns and waiting for the other to yelp.  

Yet, childhood is more than these simple memories.  I am the character I am today because I have memories of friendships and experiences, both good and bad, that influence my mental process.  But these memories are not connected with a sound, touch, or smell - at least, that I can trace.  So are they true memories or something I've created over time to justify my emotions?  Okay, I know, I promised a point.  

A few weeks ago, I was stranded at Union Station - waiting on a train to eventually take me where I needed to go.  In an effort to occupy myself rather than sit in the waiting room watching the Amtrak Customer Courtesy video one more time, I went window shopping.  Well, after I ate Taco Bell.

So, there I was in Claire's boutique (don't ask) with a gaggle of tweenies running about the store.  Keeping away from these girls was not an option as the space is not large and it is crammed wall to wall with so many brightly colored accessories. SO MANY.

After a few minutes I decided it was time to move on and precisely as I turned toward the entrance/exit the girls discovered the most amazing thing ever:

Tweenie #1: OMG, you guys, we should all get tiaras....to remember.
Tweenies #2-6: OMG YOU ARE SO RIGHT! (in unison and in high C)

I've decided, I think there is something to this sensory memory stuff.  I TOTALLY would remember things better wearing a tiara.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

African turtles are carnivores. Fear the turtle.

So folks, as promised, I am posting your submissions.  This one is from Sarah Perrich.  She is rather funny.  You should check out her blogs: How (not) to write a book and Was Constaninople 

Sarah's story begins on the light rail to BWI from Baltimore.  Sarah, an avid reader, always seems to pick the wrong people to sit near, loud talkers. It is Saturday, the Baltimore Marathon is happening back in the city.  The train goes over a bridge over some water. 

Woman: Oh! Oh! See, sometimes, sometimes on some of those logs down there? Like see, like them logs down there sticking out of the water. Like see that log sticking out of the water? That one right there. See sometimes there'll be a snapping turtle on it.  
Man: No shit! How big? 
W: Oh, like this big. He'll just be sittin on the log, like that log out there. But he isn't there today. But they're snapping turtles. They're the kind that, like, snap. And bite.  
M: So, a turtle has, like, what? Webbed feet?  
W: Lord, I dunno. I never get close enough to see. I wouldn't go out in that water if you paid me. It's like when we go down Ocean City, I don't get in that water either. Cause you know, you just know there's sharks out there, just a little bit further. There's all kinds of sharks just waiting. I'm always like, why would I get into water with sharks and jellyfish? 
M: I know that's right.  
M: I still can't believe Africans always win that marathon race.

I am certain, it is at this point Sarah closed her book, sighed in Charlie Brown fashion, and moved to a new seat on the opposite side of the train car.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. Playa's go to Amsterdam.

As a single woman, I have heard my fair share of advice about relationships.  Friends, family, even strangers in the hair salon take it upon themselves to share little nuggets of wisdom to help me, y’know, find that right mate.

Some of this advice is welcome, much of it not.  Yet for some reason, these random tidbits of information stay with me. 

Like this one: You never know who you’re going to meet.  Keep yourself open to possibilities.

That seems pretty mundane advice, right?  Advice about relationships and love are akin to the answer to the question, “How long is a piece of string?” 

Now, I’m not going to go all “Carrie” on this post and create a single girl’s guide to all things in love and war.  But I will say that, every once in a while, I do let the sound of my mother’s voice repeating this advice – over and over and over again – get the best of me.

So, I put on my best I-only-look-like-I-put-this-together-casually outfit, check my hair and make-up (twice) in the mirror, and head out for an adventure – optimistic for whatever may happen.

And there I am, outside a concert at Pier 6, when I hear this from a group of guys sitting next to me:
Man: “I’m going to Amsterdam for the babes and the bud.  Either are better there than what I’m getting here.”
I guess he doesn’t speak to his mom much anymore.

Hey ya’ll – I’m opening up the gmail for your Bmore Overheard contributions.  Send me your best, worst, silly, or just plain ridiculous overheards and I will do my best to give it justice.  Email me at: ajinbmore@gmail.com.  Sa-weet!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

There is a first for everything...

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take a jog through the Inner Harbor of Baltimore.  It was a Sunday evening and I thought, incorrectly, I had missed the tourist crowd.  Apparently, I was the only resident of Baltimore that did not know there was a tall ship docked at the Harbor this weekend.

The end of my run brought me to the steps of the Maryland Science Center.  I was relieved to have made it this far.  One, because I was finally at the end of this madness.  Two, because I was finally at the end of this madness.
Not a picture of the actual event.  This is a reenactment for dramatic effect

As I made my way around the bend of the sidewalk I noticed a banner was erected along the cement wall of the MSC.  There were pictures of famous events/discoveries of science depicted on the banner, along with the new tourism slogan: bmorehappy.com.  It makes you ponder, who approved this marketing contract and is possible to reinstate public flogging?

In all honesty, I would not have noticed the banner if it were not for the following:

Child in stroller:  "Mommy, who is that man with the apple on his head?"
Mother: "Wha? O, that's George Washington.  He cut down an apple tree. Or something."
I closed my eyes, briefly, and hoped these people were from Canada.

And that is my first contribution to this blog. Thanks for reading this far.  I hope you stay tuned for more.