locust point

Disappointment all around

It was a beautiful sunny day outside today. Unfortunately I spent most of it stuck inside doing laundry, and then I decided to go out and go out and do something productive. In fact, I pretty much bolted out of here as soon as the machine buzzed; you know Carpe Diem and whatnot.

I took the fifteen minute walk to the circulator stop, and I looked at my watch realizing that I had a lot of time on my hands. As I looked up again the bus was just pulling in, and surprisingly enough there were still a few seats left towards the very back. See, this wasn’t so bad.

I get off at Inner Harbor and walk into The Gallery. I knew what wanted, I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to get it at a dollar store. Heck for a dollar, I could get anything else I wanted – yah for wanton spending!

I get behind an angry woman yelling at her restless toddler. I finally get up to the cashier, put my 4 items on the counter and the bored looking woman rings it and it comes out to just under $15.

“Huh, four items is $15? I thought this was a DOLLAR store.”

She rolls her eyes and gives that same “you’re a moron” look I get from every retail clerk. She then points to the price column on the receipt while shoving my bag to the side and calling the next person in line.

She clearly had this conversation more than once today, but I didn’t feel like letting her ennui ruin my day. Not to worry, I would have other opportunities for that as the evening continued.

I look down at my watch and it was just after 5pm. I cross the still barricaded Pratt Street and make my way to the Banner stop at Conway Street where I quickly discovered that the barricades blocking off most of Light Street as well – including the stop.

Fortunately, they had cleared up enough space for a stop two blocks south at Lee Street, and as I was walking it I felt drops slowly falling on my head – good thing I left my umbrella at home. One Purple Route came then another one and finally after 15 minutes of waiting in the rain, the Banner Route finally showed up and it was empty and remained so for most of my journey.

I arrived at a rain-free McHenry Row at 5:45pm and immediately made my way to the Green Turtle on the main corner. I opened the door (which had a large colorful sign on it advertising “$3 Game Day Apps”) and about five staff members were just sitting there at the maître de stand. Finally, one of them looks at me skeptically and asks if I wanted a table.

I was tempted to say smart to their stupidity, but I was not about to piss off someone who can spit in my food. The maître de grabs a menu and leads me off to a booth with a view of the dark sky and completely dry patio.

The waitress does arrive, and I as her about the $3 appetizers.

“Actually, if you look at the sign, you’ll see that it says ‘Saturday and Sunday only.’ Today is THURSDAY.”

“Great,” I said trying (and failing) to match her enthusiasm (mom always said I can’t be disappointed in something that is my damned fault). “I guess that means…uh…full price….what a deal.”

“Yep, now what can I get you to drink?”

I order an iced tea, and a sandwich. I felt somewhat bad about not ordering an appetizer, but truthfully I really wasn’t hungry for one anyway. Besides, if it were as bad as my sandwich then I made the right call (usually I like their food).

She drops the bill off on the table, and I felt bad again. Then I realized, it was 6:25pm and I didn’t have time for pity. I was on a schedule, and I was determined to keep to it. I left the bar as the southbound Circulator zoomed by which meant I wouldn’t be waiting too long for a northbound bus.

It took just under ten minutes for the northbound bus to arrive, and I rode it all the way back to Oderbein where I got off in time to be caught in a sea of people heading over to the Orioles game (that I seriously forgot was going on tonight) and the various street vendors that serve them. Yes, having a Light Rail station at Camden Yards can be so convenient at times.

I walked over to the ATV and swiped my Smartcard. When I turned around, an empty “Penn-Camden” train was just pulling into the station. I get on, and as I’m checking FB on my phone, the operator comes by talking on her phone. She stops in front of me, points at me and says “where are YOU going?” Her tone sounding more like an accusation than a question, but I told her “Everyman Theater” and she walks off mumbling about “not knowing where THAT is.”

I was about to tell her when I noticed the northbound Hunt Valley pulling into the station. I remembered that normal MTA trains (non-Penn-Camden) have priority on this line so I crossed the platform and waited for the fans to get off before talking one of the few empty remaining seats on my two stop journey.

I got off at Baltimore Street and took a moment to get my bearing as I’d never been to Everyman’s “new” venue (it opened last year to HUGE fanfare). I look left, and as I turn to head right I nearly run into a man standing a few inches in front of me.

“You don’t understand how bad of a night I’m having,” he pleaded. “All I ask from you is some change: 10-cents, a dollar, anything you can spare. Please I’m begging you.”

Yep, that’s me the default ATM of Baltimore’s poor and disenfranchised. Every time I leave my apartment…but on the plus side, it was nice to hear other people having problems. With him gone I was able to find the theater in peace…and wandering all the way to UMD Hospital without seeing it I finally pulled my smart phone out, checked the map and realized that I had just walked three blocks down the wrong street. I made it to the theater with twenty minutes to spare, and a damn near miracle they still had seats left. All that being said…

There is a certain amount of irony in being disappointed by a play about disappointment. Unfortunately for Everyman, I hate irony… almost as much as I hate sitting here trying to justify why I disliked a show with no “objective” flaws. Sometimes I hate this job… but then again I’ve always been, as one of the characters in the play said: “a good Christian martyr.”

After a seeming eternity in the theater, the show let out after only 90 minutes (it felt like a lot longer) – just in time to get caught up in the wave of people coming out of the Orioles game. In fact, the first train was completely full. The second one, which arrived about 4 minutes later, was crowded, but there were still a few visible seats near the back.

Yah, I was going back to the apartment. I could rest, unpack my shopping bag and begin coming up with reasons to not hate this evening…

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, Charm CityCirculator, Inner Harbor, light rail, locust point, sports, theatre, transportation | Leave a comment

An almost perfect day

As a part time game reviewer, I spend a lot of time in my apartment. However, even I’m not stupid enough to waste a day inside when its 59 degrees outside – particularly when said day is in the middle of January.

The only problem was: where did I want to go?

After a quick consideration of my options, I chose Locust Point because it was far enough away to make getting there feel like an adventure, but close enough that it didn’t take forever to get there. Besides, the bus transfer (Purple to Banner) was at the Visitor’s Center so I could stop for coffee at Barnes & Noble on the way down or get dinner at Power Plant Live on the way back.

I left just 10:30am, and made my way to the Purple route on Preston Street. I got there just as the bus was pulling out so I waited there for about 17 minutes for the next one (slightly longer than their stated wait time, but I wasn’t in any particular hurry). I ended up sitting across from some tourists arriving from Penn Station and was able to eavesdrop on them as we made our way towards the harbor.

It was after 11am when I off at McKeldin Fountain as I decided to forgo Starbucks and walk along the promenade to the Visitor’s Center. I was pretty sure B&N would still be there next week, besides I didn’t want to waste a gift card on a cup of overpriced coffee.

My destination was McHenry Row, an apartment complex laid out like a faux-“Main Street U.S.A” with mid-range chain retailers on the first level with the residents above (like Harbor East for us “poor” people). As much as I like window shopping, my first task when I got off the bus was finding someplace to eat.

This wasn’t all that hard of a decision as there are only two restaurants in the complex. I wasn’t sure if it was some kind of “blue law,” but the Green Turtle Sports Bar was practically empty when I walked in despite it being almost noon. I got a table overlooking the equally empty plaza connecting the main street to the garage. The food was decent, the service was fair, and I received my check at 12:34pm.

I walked around a bit, passing on both Dunkin Donuts and a frozen yogurt place and a few specialty stores before making my way towards the bus stop. I considered getting a haircut, but it looked like there were a lot of people already waiting.

I walked two blocks west on Fort Avenue to Southside Marketplace. The wind was getting stiffer, but I still managed to make a full circle around the low-end mall. I thought about stopping into the Starbucks at the entrance, but I did get a few things at Radio Shack (who knew blue internet cables were so expensive).

I spent what seemed like an eternity waiting for the northbound circulator to show up, but, like this morning’s bus, it was in fact only 17 minutes. I arrived back at McKeldin Fountain at 2:15pm, crossed the street, and waited another ten minutes for the Purple route to arrive.

The day wasn’t over yet, but my adventures were.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, Charm CityCirculator, locust point, ramblings, transportation | Leave a comment

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