Saturday, July 12, 2003

I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean tonight with my mom and stepdad. I worked from 8:30-5:00, of course arriving my obligatory ten to fifteen minutes late for work, then met them for Thai food before we saw the movie.

I was nervous about seeing a "hyped" movie on opening weekend, wondering if the crowds would be too much. Especially, seeing a 7:30 show. However, all worked out well. The theatre was packed and moist inside since it had been raining outside, but we still managed an aisle seat. After the lights went down things cooled off and dried up considerably.

The movie was fun and enjoyable, and Johnny Depp just blew everyone away as the pirate Jack Sparrow. Talk about letting loose with a character. He must have had so much fun playing him down to the last finger movement. The movie is worthwhile just to see him vamping around like a drunken alley cat.

And, it's nice to see movies having fun again. Even from my old nemesis, Disney.

On the way home, I got promptly lost and ended up driving around suburban Baltimore. Two lane roads, twisty turns, fog sneaking across the roadway. An almost full moon lit the puffy clouds with a silver sheen and bore down on me like a watchful eye. I could have gotten angry, but I had nowhere else to be. Finally, after about fifteen minutes of guess work, one of the roads led to the last thing I expected. Two police cars blocked the way and several others blocked the road from the other side. Red, white and blue lights strobed in the darkness and a fire engine or ambulance was in the middle. Whatever it was, some major PO-lice activity was going on, and it looked serious. At the same time, I'd come to an end of my patience with being lost, and drove up to the roadblock. I got out of the car and asked the officer for directions to the beltway, and he pointed me back the way I had come before turning off.

Turned out that I had been heading in the right direction, and had I not run into the roadblock, would have found my way to the beltway without having to ask directions. However, it was a reminder of how I'm treating my time in Baltimore as temporary. I have no desire to learn my way around and am completely not interested in exploring the surrounding areas or learning anything about the city. It hasn't tapped my adventure nerve or pulled at me to get into the car and drive. I'm okay with being a tourist here, but at the same time it feels strange to hear the names of roads, restaurants, neighborhoods, and weekend spots that are completely foreign to me yet familiar to everyone else.

When I moved to Los Angeles, I was an exploring queen. I'd get out a city paper and a map and pick somewhere to visit. I'd ask the locals what sights I should see and then take off in my car to experience them. I'd drive through neighborhoods, visited practically every museum, and sought out different coffee shops to hang out in. Within a year, I knew Los Angeles very well, better than some people who had lived there much longer.

I've been in Baltimore almost a year, and know almost nothing about it. I haven't been moved enough by any area in town to make an effort to go back there. I cringe when I think that Starbucks is one of my few choices for coffee shops.

Starbucks. McCoffee house. The HORROR.

In protest, my inner explorer has hung up her compass and taken a hiatus. My mom even called Baltimore Magazine to ask one of the editors where the young, forward, and hip crowds hung out, and he said that honestly, there weren't any that he could think of. He named a sports bar, but knew that wasn't the atmosphere she was looking for and apologized. I thought that was very sweet of my mom to make the effort on my behalf.

I think what I miss having is options. It's so nice to know that so many different options are for the taking if you want them. And here, I just don't get that.

Or, they are just too far and in between to find.

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