I Heart City Life

On Friday evening, while it was still light out, a man walked up to our porch, took two of our floral-patterned lawn chairs, walked to his green Yukon, and drove away. Four of us were home, but we were too slow in realizing what was happening to do anything to stop it.

It was an oddly gentle reminder that we live in a city. It’s a city full of many great people, places, and things, but it’s also a city where crime, theft, and violence are realities. We may live in Charles Village, a relatively decent area, but Greenmount, a street and area known for crime, is a mere two blocks away. In Baltimore, “relatively decent” turns to “pretty dangerous” in a blink.

This is all a bit new to me. I’ve never lived in a city before.

When you live in the city, you can’t afford to forget to lock your door. You have to walk with someone else at night. You can’t leave the windows open all day. The GPS can’t stay on the dash. If you’re kids want to play outside, you sure as heck need to be out there with them. And when you get too comfortable, there’s usually a siren close by or a search helicopter to bring you back to reality.

On the other hand city living gives you have a unique community. You don’t need a car. You can walk most places: grocery store, watering hole, gym, the farmer’s market. They’re all close by. You have a certain protective bond with your neighbors. You see familiar faces around the local spots. You can sit on your porch on a particularly warm Saturday in March and watch the cars go by. You find a certain comfort in the sounds of the city: the barking dogs, the too-loud music or car engine, the side-walking passersby.

Living in a city is both scary and gloriously liberating for a country (suburban) boy like me.

Now, as I return home tomorrow for Spring Break and Easter, I’m reminded of the stark difference in living that I’ve experienced this year, and how much I’ve come to love living in the city of Baltimore… even if we do only have one more floral-patterned lawn chair left.

Decal from LiveBaltimore.com


6 Responses to I Heart City Life

  1. Megan says:

    Yikes! That’s bold of the thief.

    I get all my crime news from http://baltimorecrime.blogspot.com/

  2. jb says:

    very well said t.o. the first i’ve read of this.

  3. Danielle says:

    Hey Tom!
    This is Danielle, a JV in Balty last year. I was reminiscing about my time and stumbled across your blog. Sorry to hear about the chairs–we LOVED sitting outside on the porch. Just be glad they didn’t break into the house and steal anything like they did our year….that was nuts!

    Hope your placement is going well and you are enjoying your time as a JV….it goes way too fast!


    • Tom O'Keefe says:

      Thanks, Danielle! We were talking about that, too. What if this guy tried to get in the house while we were home? Scary stuff.

      Anyway, the year is definitely going fast. I can’t believe that we only have 3 months left!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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