One of the things about being a carless (or “car free” as
they call it now) journalist is that it can make covering stories more of an
ordeal than they should be. For instance, I can’t review a regular evening show
of “Godspell” (Vagabond) or “The Little Dog Laughed” (FPCT) since the only way
to get to one of their shows is via a bus that stops running about midway
through the performance and cab fare back to my apt would be astronomical. Yes,
they have Sunday matinees, but even those can be tricky for their own reasons.
However, the reason I am writing this is because I was
assigned to cover a new exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art in the northern
part of the city. MTA has a variety of buses crossing through that part of
town, but since I’m not familiar with that particular area I opted for a cab
I hate traveling by taxi since the drivers tend to obnoxious
tourist fleecing dicks. Fortunately, the driver on my outbound trip wasn’t bad,
and managed to get me to my destination without incident.
I gave Rahjim my seven dollars and went into the museum as
normal. Admission was free, but I did stop at the visitors’ desk for a map. The
show I wanted was at the end of the indigenous gallery, and I slowly made my
way through the exhibit space on my way to assignment.
The show was called “Hand Held”
and while I’m not going to review it in this space, I will say it complimented
their existing African galleries.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t really in the mood to explore the
rest of the museum so I made my way back to the lobby, and wandered around the
JHU area until I found someplace I could have a quick lunch.
Naturally, there was a homeless guy waiting for me outside
the restaurant I was about to enter nothing like a hamburger with a side of
guilt. Of course, with the service I got there, I was lucky if I got anything
before closing time.
Most of my down time at the restaurant was spent wondering
how I was getting back to Bolton Hill. I could have looked up bus routes on my
smart phone, but it was back at my apt charging. When the bill finally came, it
was time for a decision. I chose to go back to the museum and let them call a
taxi for me back to Penn Station.
It was crossing Charles St on my way back to the museum that
I realized the bus stop in the median was the future home of the JHU station on
the presumably upcoming Yellow Line. It got me to thinking: if the Yellow Line
was in place, I wouldn’t have to spend the last hour worrying how I was getting
back. I could just get my ticket and go…but it isn’t.
It took about 10 minutes for the cab to arrive, and I had to
think for a moment where I wanted to go. I didn’t really feel like walking back
from Penn Station so I told him (a different driver than before) the name of my
“E-Dress,” he said impatiently. I give it to, he then rolls
his eyes and says “think you.”
I could clearly see him saying something nasty about me
under his breath in the rear view mirror, but that’s his issue not mine. When
we got to Station North, he mumbled something else at me, and then barked “RIGHT
OR STAIGHT? IT NOT HARD QUESTION!”
“If you don’t know where it is, I can get out and find my
own way back.”
“NO!” he snarled. “LIGHT IS GREEN! YOU TELL ME NOW!”
“S-straight” I said nervously, all I could think of ‘please, don’t kill me.’
He drives straight, and then has me direct him to my
apartment. I strongly considered having him drop me off in Sutton Place, and I
could have gotten away with it as he seemed unsure exactly where he was on this
I go to tell him he’s got a while yet, but he cuts me off
telling me he knows exactly where we are. When we get to my building, I tell
him to stop behind a red truck about half up the block. I can see the fare box
reads “7.80” and I give $8. He just makes a “get out” with his hand.
“YOU do not get change! Fare is 6.80 – I charge dollar
service charge. You give me $8 – therefore, YOU GET NO CHANGE!”
“I’m not stupid! I want my change.”
He growls at me, but reaches to get the coins from the
alcove below the cigarette lighter glaring at me the entire time in the
rearview mirror. He gives me my two dimes and barks “GET THE FUCK OUT OF CAR!”
I get out realizing once again why Baltimore needs the
Yellow Line – now.