Africa or Israel? My First Official Day Here

I am going to mark yesterday as my first OFFICIAL day in Baltimore even though Ari and I have been here for almost a week. Because before yesterday I don’t think I even talked to anyone outside of Whiskey and the grumpy Jewish guy who works at 7 Mile (and it was to say ‘no plastic bags please! We just moved here!’ and he was not excited at all. Whatever man! I’m here get used to it!)

Finally, New Yorkers should get the respect they don’t deserve at all!

But before I talk about my first real day, I want to do a movie review on one we saw Tuesday and that was Downsizing, starring Matt Damon. It’s about a world where scientists have discovered the ability to shrink people down in the hopes of reducing their carbon footprint but also to make their lives easier by making their money go further. Ari showed me the trailer a few months ago and I thought wow that’s definitely a unique concept for a movie – I’m in! AND it has Kristin Wiig AND the love of my life Christoph Waltz?! Count me double in.

But (and total SPOILER ALERTS ahead – look for SPOILER OVER further down), the movie was not what was pitched in the trailer. I was expecting tiny people getting drunk off 1/10 a shot of vodka and playing in doll houses or whatever. What I actually got was a serious, almost preachy doomsday movie about climate change. And I ALREADY SAW DARREN ARONOFSKY’S ‘MOTHER!’THIS YEAR I CANT HANDLE ANY MORE ECO MOVIES.(honestly though, Mother! fucked me up.  I was actively angry after I saw that film.) Christoph, is, as always, a darling little chestnut of a gem in the film and he can no wrong. Ever. But why put comedy geniuses Jason Sudeikis and Kristin Wiig in a film when you’re going to make them be the most boring characters ever?! I honestly can’t remember a single interesting line either one of them said. They play blank slabs of concrete in the movie I think. Anyways, once you know what you’re in for, yes it’s pretty good. Except it mostly takes place within the small world so you almost forget everything is .04 normal human size – and then, what was the point of making the movie at all?

Maybe I’m dumb and don’t understand it – that’s possible, feel free to tell me what you thought of it.


I’ll tell you what’s spoiled, me, for other men after watching Christoph Waltz smile even one time. What a lovely little coconut.

ANYWAYS. Back to Bmore. So I applied to run trivia down here because I had such a wonderful time with Geeks Who Drink – I trained last night with the manager at one of the companies down here. The Manager called me back Tuesday night at 11pm to tell me to meet him last night in order to learn how to run their music trivia.

I got to the bar, which was literally in the definition of the term random. It was a bar right off the highway, seemingly surrounded on all sides by a parking lot. Inside it was dark, there were pool tables and tiki lights. It seemed like a place Sam and Dean Winchester would stop at after chopping off a vampire’s head.

I got a Blue Moon, found the Manager and realized that when he said he liked to do trivia he LIKED to do trivia. I’ve never met such a hyper, not-on-coke, person in my life. He was like a hummingbird that looked like Jim Carrey. I was giving out answer sheets when a man with the most spectacular  mustache came up to me. He looked like a stubbly flannel-wearing Snidely Whiplash. “M’friends call me ‘Stash,” he told me.

I guess he didn’t have a name before he hit puberty. Or friends. Or maybe he was born with the ‘stash what do I know.

As intimidating as ‘Stash looked, he was a sweetheart – which I’ve found to be the case in most bars when I do trivia. The guys who may look tough are the ones who love to joke with you.

Music trivia was great – it’s very little scoring since it’s a Bingo format. The Manager was very much jump-in-sink-or-swim kind of teaching which I like and it felt so good to be back on the mic.

After the show, one woman, Cathie, came over to talk to us. She started asking the Manager where he was from since they were both native Baltimorions (or Baltimorons as people who are not me like to say). Someone they both started talking about the Catholic school featured in Netflix’s The Keepers. They both knew a friend or a friend-of-a-friend who went their during the sex abuse scandal or other priests in the area. It was fascinating to me to hear what people thought of the documentary about their little area (even though I only watched 2 episodes – it was really upsetting and as I said I ALREADY WATCHED ‘MOTHER!’ THIS YEAR). She asked me where I was from and I told her I moved to Baltimore 3 days ago. She clapped her hands.

“Oh my God that’s so great! Welcome to Baltimore! Which part do you live in now?”


“Oh I know that area….do you like in Israel or in (she lowered her voice)…Africa?”

I’m not sure why she chose to do that for the Africa part and not the Israel part. I assumed she meant the parts where I live with all the ultra-orthodox. I told her Israel. I mentioned that I went to College Park so MD wasn’t entirely unfamiliar to me. That led her on a story about her boyfriend who lives in CP and the murders he’s witnessed vs. how many she’s seen by her house. I love that the number crimes you’ve seen is something to brag about. And by love I mean it’s deeply unsettling. We are definitely not in Kansas anymore.

But everyone at the bar, Manager, ‘Stash, Cathie, the bartenders, the 3 people who saw me looking for the women’s room and pointed me in the right direction, were super nice. I am already exhausted by the amount of strangers who have spoken to me.

Tonight I’m shadowing the regular trivia game.

After a few days of settling in I’m eager to start creating. It is also FREEZING outside, but 10 degrees warmer than New York so that helps my homesickness a bit 🙂




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