Thursday, November 22, 2012

Entry # 777: A Son's Thankful Trip Home

Updated 12:03PM 7/3/2014: First, the title of this entry has always bothered me because it is a rather strained metaphor due to the fact that I have a strained relationship with my mother who is, at best, indifferent to me, to wit, the extended periods of no contact whatsoever punctuated by the occasional burst of interest. The blog title and, to a lesser extent, the entry itself both suggest a far closer relationship than actually has ever existed. Secondly, see below for content adjustment.


Entry # 777

This is one of my rare entries composed and posted when I am NOT at home in my tiny, dusty apartment in Washington, D.C. That is, this entry was posted while I'm outside of the D.C. Bubble. And, yes, for better AND worse, it is the bubble reality I know at this time.

Rather, I'm at my mom and Ray's place in Millersville in Anne Arundel County, Maryland (or as the locals say, Anny Runnel Kenny, Merlin) for a short Thanksgiving visit with a planned return on Friday afternoon via New Carrollton.

Click and then click again on above map for a much larger version.

Although it is always a bit disconcerting being here in Anne Arundel ("AA") County, especially at night in this trailer park off Veterans Hwy, I must point out that I spent my teenage years here, specifically, in nearby Glen Burnie. It was in Glen Burnie where I went to junior and senior high school, although I am actually (as regular readers know) from New Jersey.

But my time here was mostly in the 1980s and into the early 1990s from the age of 12 to 22, which feels like half a lifetime ago. It feels that way precisely because it is on the cusp of my 43rd birthday half a lifetime ago.

In those years, my mom and Ray (my stepfather) have lived in about a half dozen places, mostly in Glen Burnie, and here in Rol-Park now for at least 5 years.

Oh, and as always -- ALWAYS -- this place too is right under the usual final flight path into BWI Airport.

The backroom where I sleep when I visit here in Millersville, Md., 11:09PM, Nov. 21, 2012. The mattress is from the pullout sofa in the living room. I prefer it in the back room.

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Earlier tonight, I took the MARC Penn Line from Union Station to BWI Marshall Airport rail station where my mom and Ray drove to get me. My original intention was to take the Camden Line from Union Station in D.C. to Camden Yards in Baltimore and then the MTA Light Rail to Glen Burnie / Cromwell Plaza, where I would meet my mom and Ray.

The MTA MARC train system map

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However, when I got to Union Station after work (it was a somewhat shortened day for me) I discovered that the scheduled departure 5:53PM MARC Camden Line train I planned to take had been cancelled (as had at least two Brunswick Lines out to Martinsburg). This was because of the early Federal Government shut down that contributing in no small measure to D.C. essentially emptying out well before 5PM.

Of course, you wouldn't know that at Union Station -- the place was mobbed with people departing on trains, although mostly Amtrak ones hither and yon.

Anyway, I was able to take a Penn Line instead with my ticket and go to BWI Marshall (Airport) Rail Station, where my mom and Ray picked me up.

Close up of the MARC system map focused on the Washington, D.C. - Baltimore corridor.

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In order to buy a MARC train ticket from one of the automated ticket kiosks (rather than waiting in line), one needs a credit card. There is no cash only option. But in my case, I only have a debit card -- that IS my "credit" card. However, until Friday, I only have $1.81 in my checking account. Thus, I did not have enough money to purchase a $7.00 commuter train ticket between Washington and Baltimore. 

At this point in my life, I pretty much continue to live check to check.I only spend what I earn. (I'm a rightwinger's economic dream, at least for the economic caste in which I fall. By contrast, the rightwing think tanks move Heaven and Earth for the sake of the plutocrat.) 

The interior of St. Dominic Catholic Church in southwest Washington, D.C., 1:31PM, Nov. 21, 2012. I took a walk from my office around lunchtime and stopped briefly in the church. 

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**Updated 12:03PM 7/3/2014: Content removed.**

Actually, what happened is that my co-worker DD, who came with me to Union Station,  purchased the ticket for me with his ATM card. He had come to Union Station with me for a drink at the Center Cafe. So I paid him back by buying him a drink at aforementioned Center Cafe restaurant.

Another one of my signature excessively dark images of the Center Cafe restaurant in the main hall of Union Station, Washington, D.C., 5:00PM, Nov. 21, 2012.

I always seem to be there at dusk and the lighting is quite low, while my cellphone camera invariably is basically blind at night.

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Of course, the ticket had his name on it.

So there I was ... traveling under an assumed name out of the Nation's Capital in the early darkness of a November night into suburban Maryland and heading toward BWI Airport...

My mom and Ray were already at BWI Airport rail station when I got there. The drive to Millersville took us through some familiar Glen Burnie landmarks -- including past night Corkran Middle School, where I attended from August 1982 to June 1985, although back then it was Corkran Jr. High School. In the car, I was having Vietnam circa 1969 Glen Burnie circa 1984 flashbacks.


Speaking (indirectly) of which, tomorrow I am supposed to go with my mom and Ray to the American Legion Post in Severn, Md., (not to be confused with the one Glen Burnie and whence the above image comes) for Thanksgiving day dinner.

It is for veterans / active military and their families, as Ray is a Vietnam veteran and retired active Army and U.S. Army Reserves.

I actually qualify as is step-son. Now I don't know if it matters that I'm a gay Scandinavian-style social democrat rather disaffected and alienated from the basic notions and precepts of his country as they now are manifested. THAT might get me uninvited.

No, I'm not really a big Noam Chomsky fan, either. Now Slavoj Žižek ...

Actually, honestly, it's Paul Krugman and Michael Lind that get me all over tingly.

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So I got here around 7PM and my mom fixed me some dinner -- soup and sandwich. We then went out to the nearby Northway Liquors combination liquor store / bar and bought a bottle of wine (Beringer zinfandel -- yes).

The line at Northway Liquors, Millersville, Md., 8:10PM, Nov. 21, 2012. (I didn't even notice that ridiculous ad with the buxom women in the bikini top when I took the picture.)

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OK, I think I should conclude this entry.

I'm in the backroom as I write this entry on the computer. (Well, actually, I guess it is really the front room as it faces onto the roadway here in this 50s-and-over trailer park community.) We down-loaded Chrome earlier so now my mom has Chrome to use, although I am using it to compose this entry.

Of note, my mom has lost between 10 and 15 pounds in the past several months. This is wholly independent of my own weight loss / gym efforts that have resulted in a 20 pound drop for me to 165 pounds (and a weight reapportionment out of fat of about 25 pounds). It also turns out that she listens to jazz music at work through her headsets.

It's scary how much we have in common and the life synchronicities.

I just wish that things were as peaceful and good back in the troubled 1980s and 1990s, and for that matter, for a period in 2004 - 2005, as they are now between us.

My mom watching TV earlier tonight, Millersville, Md., 10:40PM, Nov. 21, 2012.

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Oh, yes, we are supposed to go the 100th birthday party in New Jersey in late January for my late paternal grandmother's younger sister (my Aunt Babe). My dad is supposed to drive up from Florida for that one, so my mom and dad will (if this actually happens) actually be together at this most unlikely of distant family functions. I just wanted to note that. Ray is coming, too, but at this point he would just stay in the hotel.

Oak trees at their yellow-orange autumnal peak leaf colors at the on ramp to I-395 in southwest Washington, D.C., 1:30PM, Nov. 21, 2012. This was part of the same lunchtime walk I took from my office.

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OK, that's all for now. I will try to update this blog tomorrow (or early Friday) with some Thanksgiving dinner pictures.

--Regulus

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