Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bál∙mer

I have discovered the ultimate white trash vacation spot – the Inner Harbor in Baltimore (or as the locals pronounce it, Bál∙mer). I have never before seen such a collective gathering of obesity and bad perms in one place. Every man was wearing Bugle Boy denim shorts and Teva sandals. Every woman had on a fanny-pack in which she carried money and cigarettes – I know this because upon observation, these were the only two items ever retrieved. Just about every boy was wearing a gold chain that weighed more than he did. Every so often, you would see a young boy in flip flops and a sleeveless tee shirt and you thought to yourself, “There goes an F.I.T.” (Fag-In-Training). But those respites were few and far between. I swear I even saw some combs sticking out of back pockets. I had regressed to 1979.

Among the shopping at the harbor, there is a large indoor mall housing shop and a food court. On one end of the mall was the airy and pretty City Lights Café, which seemed to be doing not much business. However on the other end of the mall, there was a line to get into Hooters. There was an abundance of people on those motored scooters who couldn't seem to walk the pier, but managed to park their go-ped and climb the steps to Lee's Ice Cream.

And there wasn’t just white trash there, there was black trash too: every black man was wearing his clothes two sizes too big, and every black woman was wearing hers two sizes too small. Noticing this made me wonder if Asians have a trashy side too? Is there such a thing as yellow trash? Do Native Americans have red trash? I’m not being politically incorrect (well, ok actually I am), but are white and black people the only races to parade their socially retarded to the world? And what about the Latino community … do they have brown trash or is it just anyone from Mexico?

I guess this bothers me so much because there, but for the grace of God, go I. I came from this kind of culturally stagnated area. Had I stayed where my parents live, I may actually have been one of those men who reeked of Avon cologne. I am not judging these people who seem to be happy in their lives and at peace with a family vacation to Balmer. But I use them as a litmus for where I have come from and who I could have been. And it is enough to keep me searching and growing for more … the more that is out there that these people seem content to just not worry about.