[Baltimore this morning, August 2008.]
I think I may have feelings for Baltimore.
Wait, come back. I still love San Francisco — no, really, I do. But I’m sort of falling in crush with another city by the bay, and it’s making me all gushy.
I know. I know. I’m not leaving California anytime soon — I’m definitely swoony in love with the Bay Area and Pt. Reyes and San Francisco and and and (oh yeah, did you know? Is it obvious?). But after spending a few days in Charm City, I have to think: huh. Baltimore. Who knew?
Pretty much all we did was talk (and talk … and talk) and walk around and eat ice cream sundaes and ride the water taxi and sit on the roof deck and eat really good food and talk about wedding dresses and lounge in a hammock on said roof deck and reminisce and talk about new things and old things and college and writing and dratted editors and really? It was pretty much a perfect few days. The weather was marvelous — almost cool, and with little humidity — the company of course sublime. I love my West Coast life to be sure, but I also miss my friends East.
[The table before dinner, August 2008.]
Monday night, H cooked a dinner party. I was sous chef/occasional dishwasher (basically, I kept her company and poured the wine while she stirred the sauce and set the table). She made: fresh pasta with a home made red tomato sauce that I forgot to get the recipe for and now I regret it because it was so good; roasted asparagus drizzled with olive oil and a bit of parmesan cheese; cannoli with sliced strawberries. I cut up some heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella and layered them all with some basil and olive oil and it was just delicious. We drank red wine and talked about politics with the three who made the trek up from DC, and ended up telling stories on the roof deck until well past bedtime (I’m on vacation, though, so there’s really no bedtime for me these days).
Baltimore seems to me a city built out of bricks, and marble. I love that people used to turn out en masse to wash their steps; it was a point of pride and ownership to take care of them. The whole city feels so neighborhood-y, old and so real at the same time, full of history and water. I even love the corner bars (though I’m sure lots of residents don’t); it reminds me, a little, of Jersey City where my parents grew up and where my grandmother still lives, so perhaps that’s why I felt so comfortable there. I’m not packing my bags and moving anytime soon, but I’m glad to know my heart has room for other cities, other places; my Northern California blinders are firmly in place, but I’m trying hard to peer round the edges.
Now I’m in DC for a few days, with a side trip to New Jersey tomorrow to visit various grandmothers as well as hopefully a friend who moved there recently from Mill Valley. I’m crossing my fingers the good weather holds out, and I can catch up on a few dearly missed hours of sleep before I head back to California this weekend. I will be glad to be back in my windy city again, but when I’ve been so thoroughly charmed by another, at this moment I can’t say I miss it too much.