Author’s Note: After nearly a decade on the east coast, it’s time for Mr. & Mrs. Link to head West. In the last ten years, our lives have changed significantly. We moved in together, got married, bought a house, got promotions at work and earned higher education degrees, hiked, drank, ran, ate and welcomed our son to the world. For a gal from Southern California and a guy from Montana, Maryland took some getting used to – the pollen, bugs, humidity, and distance from home made the change all the more difficult. But as time passed, we began to grudgingly put down roots. We even began to feel at home in our adopted land. What follows is Mr. Link’s favorite (and least favorite) parts about living in Maryland. Other posts here.
Top Ten Things I’ll Miss About Maryland
Number 8 – Maryland
I think this one surprises me the most.
Our relationship with Maryland started off on rocky footing. Mrs. Link lived in a tiny Charles village studio that slanted ever-so-slightly toward the outer wall so it felt very much like a sky cell at the Eyrie. I lived in a basement apartment in the People’s Republic of Takoma Park which was infested by house centipedes and camel crickets. Hell, even the geography was out to get me. See, dense vegetation generally limits your visibility to well under a mile while there are no mountains or anything else on the horizon to provide orientation. So I spent the first few years completely disoriented without any of the visual queues I grew up with. Suffice to say, when we first got here, we were counting the days until we could leave again… we were unwilling hostages.
But then something strange happened. Stockholm Syndrome. At some point, I started to actually like Maryland.
It’s hard to pinpoint when the change happened, but I remember vividly the moment I became aware of it. It was something like that scene in romantic comedies where the girl has a sexy dream about a guy she thinks she hates. For me, it was when Maryland revealed their fancy new Under Armour uniforms inspired by the Maryland Flag. The uniforms were widely panned, but I loved them. For the record, I also like the Oregon uniforms before they got popular. Anyway, I realized I liked the Maryland state flag, and that got me thinking… I had actually grown fond of my adopted state.
When did that happen?
Columbia – Moving to Columbia and out of the insect and crime infested urban centers was probably the single most important ingredient in the fundamental change of heart. Columbia represented the space my Montana soul craved. And I don’t just mean the miles of wooded trails. I mean space. Back yards. Lakes. In Baltimore and D.C. a car owner is a pariah to be punished, attacked, taxed, and ticketed. Columbia has welcoming wide streets… and the let you turn right on red!
Annapolis – Baltimore and D.C. are about 30 miles apart. Completing the triangle, roughly 30 miles from each of these urban hell-holes is Annapolis. Judging Maryland by Baltimore alone is like judging Cindy Crawford solely on her mole. Maryland has a lot of really cool parts. It has farm land, ski areas and honest-to-God rednecks (complete with pickup trucks and hyphenated names!). Annapolis became a regular destination for Link family staycations – weekends away from home that felt like you might as well be a thousand miles away.
Renaissance Festival – One of the reasons I like the Maryland flag is its medieval influence. In fact, the medieval theme has worked its way into my design work. RenFen is great – how can you not love a place that sells meat on a stick?
The Wire – I guess those B’more thugs aren’t that bad. Especially Omar.
Inner Harbor – As much as I hate on Baltimore, there are some charming places. Inner Harbor stands out, especially after the awesome Star-Spangled Sailabration when they brought in a bunch of tall ships to celebrate the bi-centennial of the War of 1812. I also enjoyed football at Patterson Park, the watching fireworks on the Henderson’s Fleet Street rooftop and going to Orioles games at Camden Yard with the Bezaks. Still, one of my favorite parts about the inner harbor is the tribute to a tall ship – the Pride of Baltimore – which sank in 1986. It’s commemorated by a hilarious plaque that says “Pride of Baltimore – Lost at Sea”. Yep.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Maryland and I’ll miss it. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t breath a sigh of freedom relief every time I drove across the American Legion Memorial Bridge into Virginia. Maryland taxes are too high. It’s politicians are too comfortable and too corrupt. There are too many random beatings of tourists in “The Greatest City in America.” Even so there is a certain Chesapeake charm that I’ve grown fond of.