After hearing where I'm from, many strangers have looked at me as if I'd said I was recently cured of leprosy. Their expressions speak volumes: "How he manages to smile, I will never know. I'm glad he's OK, but, God, I hope he's not contagious."
They hear about our crime and violence. David Simon is a genius, but I worry that some of his less reflective fans view Baltimore basically as a prime location for a blaxploitation/zombie crossover film. Others don't like our accent. We have been held in such low esteem that Hollywood thought it was OK to destroy part of the city with a nuclear bomb ("The Sum of All Fears," 2002). Why,
But Sunday night, that seemed to change. There was something special about the way the
How long this window to heaven would stay open, I did not know, so I spent the first 24 hours after the Super Bowl making requests. Everything I'm about to report is true.
Monday morning, I caught a train to Philadelphia for three days of meetings for my day job. After seeing one of the
In Philly, I asked the manager at the information desk at 30th Street Station if he would make a similar announcement, but he laughed dismissively. (1-1.)
Once settled into my room, I called my boss back in Baltimore — not my immediate boss but the executive director herself. For three years, I've resented the fact that my employer expects peons like me to pay to park on campus. So I told her about my magic-window-to-heaven theory, then made an argument for why I should get either a company car (n.b., no one in my organization has a company car) or a free parking space. She's open to my parking space idea. (2-1.)
Then I got serious. I called and wrote
Not bad. But I think the greatest proof of my theory was my luck with transportation. As a black man, I sometimes suspect I'd have to get hit by a cab to make it stop, but for three days, I was the taxi whisperer. When I told a cabbie named Hameen where I was from, he congratulated Baltimore, then cursed the
He was right, of course. I know I had nothing to do with the Ravens' win. And with all the head injuries, I suspect that 40 years from now, the brutality of football will be as anachronistic as woolly mammoth hunts. But Monday night, as I said goodbye to Hameen and made my way up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the end of
Lionel Foster is a freelance writer from Baltimore. His column appears Fridays. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @LionelBMD.