Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Baltimore two cents, or three.

I'm on a quest lately to absorb as much information as possible about Coffee. The business, the culture, the product, etc. You see, I plan to own a little spot. Soon enough, meaning near future..I hope.

I'm excited to get a few tips from the cafes I work at. Mostly, what NOT to do. More importantly, my imagination gets to run wild in the quest of decor and taste. Homemade vs. store bought, organic and local vs. non, the cozy environment, the sounds...whatever it may be. I've created a small and tasty business in my mind.

I started work at this fun little spot between two neighborhoods in Baltimore. Hence the fusing of the name, Charmington's(Charles Village and Remington, get it?).It's a lone business in a mostly residential area. It's a somewhat struggling and gentrified location with yuppies, artsy types, students, long-time residents. I feel it represents the general theme of Baltimore, "We are trying, we are not quite there yet..but we are here." It's semi-optimistic, sometimes angry. My feeling about Baltimore is this: The way I feel about Detroit, its promise and potential, It comes from years of believing in something. Do I feel there's something special about Detroit? YES, absolutely. Would I feel that If I didn't grow up there? I'm not sure now. Does the adoration stem from a longtime love, A nourished love, an unconditional love? Maybe. That is how Baltimore is reflected back to me: Not always easy to love.

Young people are making it purposeful, enjoyable and using it as a wide open canvas. Long time residents seem to be shuffling by, sometimes barely living, feeling neglected. I seem to be focusing on the latter. And the latter IS a reality, a product of the city. At the end, I see the poverty, the struggle, the harmful and misplaced anger. I'm wondering with time if I will get it, " Ahhh, yes, Baltimore, you have that something." They have redeeming qualities, they do(I'm not trying to convince myself of that). But, you can't tell the story of a city like Baltimore without stating truths. Yes, they are trying to make it better, but don't put pretty little shades on. Don't make this city "the next brooklyn" because some late twenty-somethings opened a business. It's a steady ride, a work in progress. Allow it to be just THAT. It's totally okay, accept it. I applaud the journey to a better place to live. We see the effort and let's examine that effort years from now. A new story can hopefully be told then (this goes for you too, Detroit).

I don't want to shut my eyes to it and miss something great about this place. It's a regretful way of living. Maybe Charmington's will keep me alert. To remind me to appreciate my surroundings, for what they are and could be..sort of like, Detroit.

I do appreciate their coffee. Counter Culture, show me the way.


  1. I love this post AND I love the idea of you with your own little spot. I'd be your most loyal patron!

    When the time comes you have a graphic designer on retainer!