Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hot Summer in the City

After a mild start, we have finally gotten some of the oppressive Baltimore heat we know and love. Wednesday night was the worst, but I think we are starting to adjust. We have to plan carefully to get LB outside, otherwise we can get to bedtime and realize we have kept her in air-conditioned (or at least fanned) splendor all day. This morning we took the dogs for a walk at around seven and it was still really nice, then we filled up the water table in the backyard before it got super hot. Now that LB is a walker it's much easier to have her in the backyard or the alley, and this morning she had fun toddling up the alley and shaking the back gates of our neighbors.

This is the most neighborly place I have ever lived, and we can usually count on some neighbors to talk to, or kids to play with, or cats and dogs to visit. Regardless of what people are doing in the rest of the country, here kids still play outside a lot. It seems like there has been a definite baby boomlet in the past five years, and many of the older folks in the neighborhood seem delighted to once again have young kids around.

[I guess this post offers some sort of implicit answer to the first question you get if you live in Baltimore: "Is it like The Wire?" The only answer to that question is "it depends who you are."  To say that our lives do not at all resemble that show seems to miss the point that our lives do have some similarities with the middle class white people on the show, and that no matter how we live, Baltimore is a place where many people suffer from structural racism and poverty.  Our neighborhood is a mixed income white enclave, as far as I know the neighborhood boundaries are no longer maintained with fists and guns, but in a 95% white census district in a 66% Black city, clearly they are still boundaries still at work.  Part of that racial difference is due to the continuing bad reputation of the neighborhood, as well as informal racial steering.]

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