Making the Escape Plan

Well, it’s been talked about, thought about, and several times I’ve been pushed to the brink of making the final decision… but after the license plates getting stolen off of my car last night, I’ve come to the foregone conclusion that I can no-longer Believe.

Every city has it’s problems. It’s a given and historical fact. Baltimore, though, seems to have more than it’s fare share of them.

In July of 2001, I purchased my first house. As you can see from the pictures, it’s a stately old Victorian-style rowhome in the Charles Village section of Baltimore. Although it has needed some expensive repair and rennovation work to fix some problems, it really is a great house to live in. But that’s because house problems can be fixed and everything is better afterwards.

I wish I could say the same about Baltimore, itself.

See, no matter what good part of Baltimore you live in (and Charles Village itself is a grand place), you’re only a few blocks away from an utter ghetto. These are where the problems come from. While I’m certain fine and upstanding folks do live in these run-down, Section 8 housing communities, many people there bring their behaviour into the more gentrified areas.

Sure, Charles Villiage has a Benefits District, but the $172 a year I pay into it (it’s compulsary, by the way) has been money poorly spent. But the shortcomings of the CVCBD is another topic for another day.

You could know all your neighbours on a first name basis… but you’re still always on your toes when you nervously walk the 20 feet from the front door of your house to your car. You are always wary of the odd person walking down your alley eyeing the backs of houses… sometimes pausing and looking around before walking on.

So, after last year’s episode of my laptop getting stolen, a neighbour getting held up at 10:30am on school property, Sara’s car getting smashed by a hit-and-run drunk driver… and now… as simple as it may be… my car’s license plates disappearing into the night… I’ve decided to call a retreat and transfer myself out into rural – NOT suburban – environs. This summer, it will happen.

And I relish the thought of not having to be a stealthy ninja just to get to my car in the morning or inside my house in the evening.

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