taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Sunday, December 15, 2002

I work Downtown now, near the bus station, so all the people I see when I go outside to smoke are either crazy or they work in an office. If they work in an office, they may still be crazy but they hide it underneath black skirts, glasses, ties.

Downtown Baltimore is a concentrated version of Baltimore everywhere else, but only between 9 and 6. After 6 it lays down and dies. I have heard that the City Fathers are trying to change all that but I have heard that since 1983 and I just don’t believe it. They have these Development Plans which always involve knocking buildings down (even though they lament buildings which were knocked down “Before The Current Administration”).

Really, it doesn’t matter anyway. The Visigoths sacked the Roman Forum and you can still walk some pathetic remnant of its roads, 1,800 years later. You can still understand that they lived differently, even if you’re not sure exactly how. If Rome wasn’t abandoned to cows for five hundred years, they’d have just built over it. Let the citizens flee, for god’s sake. It’s good for archaeology. Let them knock it all down, columns and pilasters, let the rubble rot in place.

We should encourage the flight, revel in the abandonment. Ruins are good, much better than the
living buildings that stand now. Memory always trumps experience for sheer nostalgic value, particularly if it’s not even your memories but those of a hundred years ago, a thousand, nine thousand.

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