Just received word that Mike, the tall graying fellow in Fell's Point who walked around shouting strings of obscenities at people, cars, and the sidewalk, but was harmless, has died. They found him curled up behind Broadway Liquors on Tuesday, reportedly the victim of a chronic lung disease. There were always rumors that he was a Viet Nam vet, but I never talked with the guy so I don't know for sure. In fact, he did sort of scare me the first time I walked past him and he screamed, "Fucking shit god damn it!" Then, I got used to him. Hope he found some peace.
Hearing about Mike made me think of a couple of other Fell's Point Folks I've gotten to know in the three years I've worked and inhabited down there. For example, I haven't seen Leroy, "The Mayor of Fell's Point," in months. I'm worried about him.
Crazy old Dmytrov is still around, though. He came in the restaurant today, and because he had a friend with him who paid, I received my first ever tip for waiting on him. Over the last three years, I've served him hundreds of dollars worth of scrambled eggs, sour cream, and mashed potatoes. Because he eats on credit and we bill the senior citizens' home every couple of months, I've never received a tip from him. It's alright, as he's a little crazy and we figure that us servers and the restaurant are pretty much all he's got - his kids are estranged and, until today, I didn't think he had any friends. The friend tipped me $2.35, and that was pretty cool.
Fell's Point is the part of Baltimore that most feels like Baltimore to me. Not the Green Turtles or the Max's on Broadways, but the places on streets that jut off of the main strip and lead to such establishments as Lulu's Off Broadway (spent an hour and a half there this afternoon, and I could have spent five more hours), John Stevens Ltd., and Ale Mary's. I'm reminded of this on lazy Sunday afternoons after a long shift at the restaurant, when the only thing that feels right is drinking a dark beer while eating mussels at Bertha's or white bean guacomole at Lulu's. These crazy people have helped make Fell's Point what it is for me.
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