Not yet the “dog days of summer”, and still a bit chilly to fully say “spring is here”, but it’s still Opening Day. In Baltimore, that might mean getting up to a bar for 6am soak-up-the-day pancakes, signifying that it’s a great day for day-drinking. So whether you’re knocking down Natty Boh’s at a furious clip, or letting some traditional Punch ease you through the day, enjoy the official first day of Spring. One of the greatest to ever play said, “Let’s play two!” — why not have another after you finish that one? Don’t wait until the seventh-inning stretch to #getcongenial….
When life starts to beat you down, the day-to-day grind makes you resemble crushed peppercorns, and you reach the very end of your rope, the word “vacation” starts to sound extremely enticing. That should be the easy part — deciding to take a vacay — but the logistics usually take precedence. When flight itineraries, hotel stays, entertainment costs, and lack of public transportation start to rear their ugly head, a glorious option pops up.
People might decide to stay in their home city instead of spending googobs of money on expensive flights, cruises, train rides, or pony expresses. This “city retreat” might include a visit to a museum, dinner by candlelight, and a walk on the river with one’s sweetie. Other staycations might be held inside the home, with a book, a DVD, or a pillow.
But are those the only options available? All of us need our rest — and home is where the heart is — but can’t we rest when we’re dead? The fact is, YOLO should be the aim; we don’t have nine lives like our feline friends.
Why not take a “city retreat” and make up your own pub crawl: one place for happy hour, another for aperitifs — maybe a dinner break — then another place for digestifs or dessert + drinks. Embrace the warm weather and try out a couple new drinking places’ summer menus. Take a rooftop lounge tour, a grungy basement tour, an alfresco/riverfront tour — the possibilities are endless. Well, that is until last call. Regardless, take advantage of your city whenever you can. You might not get an umbrella in your drink, but you might grow fonder of the place you call home.
“…it is a kind of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, with the same moving picture re-shown over and over again, the same analysis, the same recommendations, and the same inaction.” - - Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, appearing before National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders after Summer 1967 riots
Americans that took part in the Civil Rights Movement did so to bring about equal rights to all Americans, not just a certain portion. They marched in the streets, stood off against antagonistic police forces, and even rioted when they could not take any more. Although Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for peace, non-violence, and brotherhood amongst all mankind, the violent roadblock of racism that he encountered was too sizable an adversary, and ultimately took his life. The riots that followed his death were notably destructive; many areas have not been rebuilt to this day.
But riots did not begin with the bullets that took Dr. King’s life; race riots have occurred in the U.S. for centuries. One of the most damaging riots in the country occurred the summer before Dr. King was assassinated, in the urban mecca of Detroit. It’s interesting to note how this disturbance has similarities to the unrest in London last year. An aggravated relationship between citizens and police was at its heart, and after being precipitated by a police raid on a “blind pig” — speakeasy in more modern terms — many people were left dead, injured, or with damaged property.
“We went into the store, got some wine and some whiskey. Then I went to another store and got me some new shoes, and I got a coat out of another store. Just like that, I just walked in and got ‘em. It was both black and white getting stuff out of the stores. There was no difference at all. We were just getting anything and whatever we wanted. Then I went home and got really drunk.” — from interview of White resident of Briggs neighborhood in Detroit
Some citizens in particular took advantage of the situation for their own gain but were shot dead instead of arrested for their actions. One man was shot as he attempted a break-in at the “Hobby Bar” near his home; two men were shot as they broke into a liquor store, one of them 14 times; and another was left dead in an alley as he loaded a box with liquor. No one was held criminally liable for any of the murders.
There is much to be thankful for; life free of police brutality shouldn’t be something we should “wish” for, it should be a given. But thanks to the efforts of Dr. King and others for bringing attention to the urban condition, and hopes that it will continue to improve.