A simple mess is what I reduce down to. Any one of the parts alone — my ambitions, my room, my city, my faith in my friends, my interests, are all an unappealing exercise in dilettantism when looked at in their own light. So I try not to look at the things alone, and when I don’t I find more things to add to my collection of jumble. Too unwieldy I fear is what I’ve become. I’ll need a larger container or I shall soon explode.
An amusing gimmick indeed. I’ve been rolling over from side to side tonight, consternation growing on its own accord. I assume the consternation is upset about the prospect of dealing with the other parts of my conscious when I have to wake up tomorrow, shower, groom, locate something suitably clean to wear, something suitably shocking to wear, something suitably unstable to wear, locate the keys (which unironically, and uncannily too frequently, is the longest part of the morning ritual) and head to class. Class time will be wonderous, a gauntlet of veritable ideas and rituals designed to abolish any iota of extant daily happiness quotient that is left inside.
Yuk yuk yuk. I crack myself up.
Anyway, the other day I was on Fark, reading that insanity about Mayor Dixon possibly not being the mayor on account of her not having the correct documents signed (that’s another post).
I read about it on the Baltimore Sun’s new free magazine which targeted to 18-34 year olds, bthesite.com
The first thing I thought about as I began to read the article was to look at the picture of Ms. Lori Barrett, the journalist who wrote the article, the journalist who is a cutie and my new favorite local mini-celebrity, the journalist who seems to be doing a lot of the initial writing for the site.
Those initial testosterone-driven thoughts activated my ambition and I thought, I should get back to blogging more reguarly. So here I am, and Ms. Barrett, would you like to go out on a date?
I have yet to plumb through bthesite, but it does fill the hole that I’ve had in my heart ever since I left the D.C. area, which had plenty of local blogging and the DCist, one of my favorites. I admit, I am still a newb to the scene, but I want to deeply love Baltimore, maybe bthesite.com will help. The Wire has given me oodles of skepticism reserved for the Sun and any of its derivatives. I’ll give it a fair and unbiased try.
There’s already plenty of competition here, with Express, Urbanite, and City Paper. However, the more competetive the free information market, the better for everyone. Urbanite is too full of ads, and the writing that gets in their distribution always aggravates me. I don’t have full opinons on the others yet…
It was wonderfully crisp outside today, these past few days (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Recovery Saturday) have sort of ushered in the holiday season. I am not really into Christmas decorations, and I think the reason is because I believe that are too much work for what they are worth. Is that laziness or does this show some kind of intelligence for not being easily entertained by patterns of light?
So anyway, this season leads to tremendous amounts of eating, and I am making a concerted effort to control the amount of food going down my gullet. I broke my self-imposed calorie limit of 1,596 today because I was tricked into going to California Pizza Kitchen in the inner harbor. It’s okay though, I am within the healthy range of the much disputed BMI, even though I still feel fat. I want to reach the lower end of the BMI, so I’ve been exercising and controlling the amount of food that I eat. Don’t want Type II, cardiovascular problems, or cancer.
So even if I am not considered obese, 25.8% of the residents in Baltimore are obese, and we are tied for 13th with Nashville. Forbes discusses what each city is trying to do to curb their high levels of obesity, which again, to be fair, are based off of being above a BMI of 30. And we’ve all heard about BMI’s failure to discriminate healthy individuals from morbidly obese ones.
Issues like safety, poverty and food access have contributed to the obesity rate in Baltimore, which edged to 25.8% last year, a slight increase from 2005. Various groups, including the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance and the Baltimore Neighborhood Research Consortium, are leading efforts to understand what aspects of neighborhood planning best contribute to healthy communities.
Well, at least there is a program. I am starting to respect Baltimore more for at least trying to do something (hooray). If you’re out by the Beltway, you do not really hear about the efforts Baltimore is making to turn around. It is stunning how little the public knows about nutrition and exercise, but I am not so surprised since even people with terminal degrees in their fields can not know a single thing about what they are supposed to put in their bodies. Other cities are implementing programs, and one part of L.A. is even going as far to limit the number of restaurants in a certain area to stem the tide of obesity. I do not think that this plan will work very well since L.A. is the prime example of unwalkability — people will just drive a couple of minutes further to get the specific type of life-threatening meal that they desire, the trick is to educate them enough so they feel guilty about frequenting such places.
Walking through Baltimore, I find myself judging people and speculating on their nature in this world, trying to predict what they’ll do, where they’re going, why they’re doing it. Up until now, I reserved judgment only for people who had caused me harm, whether it was making fun of me, being mean to me, etc.
Walking through other cities does not elicit this response from me, but I conceive that the vacation effect is a big part of it. The only reason that I am judging people at such a rate is that I am depressed because of events in my life that also happen to take place in this city. For example, my involuntary celibacy due to the rigor of my self-imposed daily autoflagellation via studying. The incessant crime reports, and they’re the crime reports that I nonchalantly forget about, because I live here, and the dreams of going to a school in a perhaps more care-free zone.
Walking in Minneapolis (probably 1 million times safer than Baltimore) was carefree. I had intense amounts of work to do, but I was carefree. Things were in general cleaner, prettier, and newer. Baltimore has to deal with the fact that it is a city that died in the 1980’s and is slowly trying to recover. There are construction projects left and right — every day there are articles about Baltimore’s revitalization and efforts to make the city a place to want to come to, a place that you want to raise your kids, a place where you want to walk a few blocks to get to the bank.
On a given eight block walk, I will probably be asked for money eight times. I do not know how I feel about this. Most of the time, I do not have cash, which in reality is a dumb thing to do in a poorer city like Baltimore, where vendors are less likely to accept credit cards. If I have it to spare then I’ll give it to them, but I cannot help but wonder what they are going to do with the money. I’ve heard it all in the past few weeks, from “I just got out of prison and I need to take a train home tomorrow,” to people prefacing it with “I ain’t broke man but…” My friends tell me stories about their parents who immigrated here, and how the parents behave once the family visits the country of origin. One of my friend’s mom is quite vicious to the beggars, because she feels that she knows the name of the game that they play. My friend’s father is more apt to help them out, because pennies to us is a week’s worth of sustenance for them, even if they are playing with our heart strings by doing a masterly begging performance (they have to).
On a walk I think about all that I have, and how I wish I could have more – then I glance 100 feet ahead and see the homeless person attempting to make eye contact with me. I am rarely bold enough to look them in the eye, because they remind me of how much I can disappoint myself – and how lucky I am that I have the ability to be disappointed in myself.
On Friday during a cordial discussion with my contemporaries, I made an off-hand comment about seeing patients in the hospital, regarding me coming to the realization that the majority of the patients really are in the hospital for things that they have done to themselves. They can show you all the statistics in the world about preventable deaths, it doesn’t strike you until you ask a patient how long they had been addicted to a certain drug. One of my colleagues (I’ll name her Of-Baltimore, OB) proceeded to lecture me about being aware of people that are different than I am. I rarely procure this type of reaction, and it was refreshing. The method by which she tried to show me my so-called prejudices grated me in such a way I became something that I rarely am, defensive.
I found myself trying to defend my comments against OB, whom I severely doubted had a better grasp of the world’s differences and the differences between human beings, although I did concede that she did understand Baltimore’s issues better than I had. She grew up here, mere blocks away from the hospital, and I had grown up in my cushy D.C. suburb, speculating on which city was more terrible, Baltimore or Washington. In general I would always play devil’s advocate about Washington, D.C. and espouse its wonderful characteristics, but Baltimore I would unfairly mentally incarcerate and incinerate.
All things considered, OB probably lectures several people a week about the good characteristics and bad characteristics of Baltimore, which to its credit, has more of the former than the latter. She recommended that I read The Corner, which of course I feel obligated now to read since it was the second time in a week that it was lorded above me and to me as Baltimore’s bible.
OB’s Baltimore lecture to me really didn’t do anything to educate me about Baltimore, but I think it did do two great things. She broke through any prejudice I may have had about a person in medical school who claimed Baltimore as their hometown. From undergrad I had learned to assume that they were from Towson, or Lutherville, or anywhere else in Baltimore county. I qualify this as a person from medical school, because all of you may be thinking due to Baltimore’s demographics, she’s probably African-American, like me, but no. She’s Irish-American, which probably led to my initial grating against her light haranguing. Anyway, she showed me that she was much more sensitive to subjects like this, which is a relief. She at least temporarily stopped my encroaching jadishness against patients, the United States, and the world. So, thank you OB.
Today was productive. I avoided having a breakdown and I would say I was marginally friendly. I do not have breakdowns often, I’d say once every two or three years. The problem is, since coming to medical school, I’ve had a few breakdowns, mental and physical. For example, I’d be so exhausted that even going to bed at 10 PM, I’d easily sleep in until 2 or 3 PM the next day. Mental breakdowns are probably easier to handle, because it seems like everyone is going through them. Medical school started in August. It’s okay though, I think I am starting to see the light.
The problem is, I feel like I am in a slightly manic mood. I am only a first year medical student, so I do not really know the tell-tale signs of a true bipolar disorder. I’ll be okay though, I’ll just take this PCP… just kidding.
So, what is this blog about? I intend it to be the full diary of my life from now until the day I die, as much as I can stand it. I’ve been reading a lot of 18th century biographies lately, and I really admire how diligently they recorded their thoughts. I think I can be like them, if anything it will help me organize my thinking. I don’t want this blog to be too organized, so it’s going to be about whatever the hell I want, whatever I’m interested in day to day. I’ll categorize everything, and my hope is to have one of those blogs where I feel comfortable spewing just about any thought process that I have.