In ten days, the wife and I will be packing up our row house in downtown Baltimore and heading about twelve miles north to the nearby suburbs. Whenever something ends—be it good or bad—it’s hard not to be at least a little reflective, and so I’d like to take this opportunity to say so long to a few things.
Goodbye, giant rat that I found in my grill that one time. As long as I live, I’ll never open a grill again without thinking of you. You taught me that no matter how masculine I feel on a given day, I’ll always be capable of screaming like a woman.
Goodbye, ice cream truck that shows up every summer night at 11 pm. I used to assume you were a rolling drug mobile, but, it turns out, you really do sell ice cream.
Goodbye, drunken twenty-three-year-olds walking loudly but harmlessly past my house at 2 am. You remind each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night that I have no regrets…but that things are fun while they last.
Goodbye, sweltering heat. People always say that the suburbs are a few degrees cooler. I have no idea if this is true. I guess we’ll find out.
Goodbye, old school neighbors. One moment you’ll casually say something startlingly racist, and then the next moment you’ll smile sweetly at my daughter or offer to help me unload my car. You taught me a great deal about how interesting paradoxes can be when developing a character.
Goodbye, parking spots that are four inches too small for my car. You taught me that when properly motivated I can swear like a character in a Guy Ritchie movie.
Goodbye, crazy woman in the Betty Boop nurse’s smock who always tells me loudly that my dog is very, very handsome. You’re a scary chick, but you like animals, and I dig that.
Goodbye, sirens. You always seemed to work overtime whenever I was on the phone with my parents, which is why neither of them has been fully relaxed in about a decade.
Goodbye, guy down the street with the shifty eyes who I’m pretty sure is a drug dealer. We didn’t talk much, but your proximity was enough to make this skinny white guy from Omaha, Nebraska feel at least a little bit edgy.
Goodbye to all of you—and goodbye to the street festivals, meter maids, hungover breakfast places, guy on the moped with no muffler, late-night sidewalk arguments, cars backfiring that may or may not be a gun shot, and the Korean store owner who sometimes smiles and sometimes doesn’t. I may not think back on all of you with total affection. But, each of you, in your own weird way, has been part of a time in my life that I wouldn’t change for anything.
Oh…but don’t worry. My office is still here. And so are most of my friends. So, you’ll probably still see me about forty or fifty hours a week.