When I return to my home to the Bel-Air/Edison neighborhood, I cross Harford Road and head through the gulf course as I cut over to Bel-Air. The two-mile stretch of bumpy road winds through the gulf course in the pitch dark, and I have to turn on my brights to see anything at all.
I've heard it's unsafe to take the road at night, and one friend told me outrageous stories of cars being boxed in and the occupants robbed. And, truth be told, it would really suck to have a breakdown on this street when it's dark out. A long walk with my feet hurting would certainly make me a target if anyone was looking for one.
But I'll never ditch an opportunity to take it. The pitch darkness makes me think that it's an old country road, and that I'm back in southwest Michigan driving. It's still the city, but if you didn't know it - or didn't look up and miss seeing the stars and moon - you might think you were in a desolate area in the middle of nowhere. It's not until the road opens up at near Bel Air and Erdman - onto, frankly, one of the worst pits of Baltimore, with garbage always baking on the streets, and people with nowhere to go standing on street corners in front of a liquor store - that the spell is broken, and I realize that I'm once again going through the motions of heading from school to home in Baltimore.
It makes me happy, if only for a couple of minutes, to drive on that road. It's been a tough go of it lately, and promises to get tougher.
I think I'm dealing with my annual October unhappiness a little bit early. It's that time in a teacher's year when the optimism of the new school year wears off, and he realizes that he'll never actually ever be caught up with anything, ever. It shouldn't happen on September 14, though. It should happen in October. And then you deal with it, and the rest of the year goes well. This year, it has come quicker. The graduate courses, or at least one of them, is sucking my soul away. My health problems are almost comical, they are so ridiculous. Head surgery? Shaving my head (or at least part of it) so a doctor can cut into it? How absolutely ridiculous! Constant and sometimes intense foot pain? How does that even happen?
I'm a little sad, a little homesick, and a little pissed off, but at least the classroom gets me excited every day. It's the rest. The rest that I don't have, the rest that I have to get through. Pun intended.
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