Man. My handwriting is atrocious. The following is a verbatim copy of something I wrote on the light rail this past Friday (4 June 2010).
Drugs. It’s disgusting. Now I’m not straight edge, but the streets of Baltimore make me think maybe I should be. I guess my addiction to coffee doesn’t compare. Six months ago, I had never seen a crack pipe. Not true anymore. I have some wine and/or beer and/or Captain Morgan every now and again but stop within the legal limit for driving, even when I don’t plan to drive. But here, at 3:00 PM, many mouths on the light rail pour the scent of spirits with every sentence and every exhale. The sweat that stain so many shirts is crusted with alcohol byproducts and too often urine or other anonymous fluids.
The sickest stuff though are the crack or heroin users, arms swollen from untrained injections, eyes shut and bodies adrift in the current of the sidewalk, threatening to fall on their face at every step. How can people allow others to do this to themselves? How do dealers live with themselves? These addicts aren’t even human in their behavior anymore – only delayed, instinctive reactions to stimuli. Someone or something bumps them, they change course, like one of those robot vacuums.
If I had enough money and guts, I’d buy it all and dump it in the river. I’d make an ocean of junkie fish and crabs. A worthy reason to give up shellfish I love so much… This is simply idiotic and a frustrated person’s powerlessness speaking.
The cops, after all, are useless. Brutal when active and slovenly when inactive, which is the case more often than not as far as I can tell, especially MTA police. I’ve seen metro cops (and a few city cops) with dirty, ill-fitting uniforms, unshaven faces, cigarettes dangling from their lips and swear words polluting their conversations like oil in the Gulf of Mexico. They inspire disdain rather than respect. The convey doubt rather than safety. I fear them as much as I do the wholly unpredictable addicts, and they too are disgustingly frustrating. I saw a cop on Howard Street walking with a gansta’ limp, hoping to what? Intimidate a perp? Impress a lady? Look asinine? He intimidated me by looking like a clearly-armed, blue-clad thug. I didn’t see any ladies looking his way, and he looked asinine. Success? He did not look like a promoter or protector of peace and people. Rather than protecting and serving, these cops seem more interested in…
Well, I’m not sure what. I’ve never seen them do anything but stand around, swear, smoke and look slovenly. When they are present at all.
Anyway. I’ve never considered doing drugs, but now after eight months commuting to Baltimore, the thought makes me physically sick.
I once thought about being a cop. If they were paid more, I probably would have applied while laid off last year. In Baltimore, part of me would love to join the force just to model dedication, respect, HOPE, safety.
I want so badly to love this city, but the more mud I wipe away, the dirtier I realize it is. Will I ever love it?