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2006-08-14 - 10:36 a.m.

Yesterday, I biked the longest I've ever biked. There's an old railroad bed between Baltimore and Annapolis that they converted into a biking and walking trail. It's new asphalt and straight and smooth and fast. It's like an interstate highway for bicycles and rollerbladers and people with big, loping dogs. Roundtrip, from the parking lot on the quiet side of the airport, down to the overlook outside of Annapolis from where you can see the Naval Academy, it's something like 30 miles. It's mostly flat, with a small grade towards the water. It was busy and we saw all kinds: serious couples with the tight-fitting Kool-Aid colored spandex one-pieces and swooped-back sunglasses and helmets and they reminded me about how quickly members of subcultures will adopt the same affectations, in effect wearing colors so that they can identify each other in a crowd. They go fast, though.

I'm not as sore as I thought I'd be, but my ass hurts. I've got the general overall worked-muscle feeling. On the way there, driving through downtown, we were at a light, ready to turn left on St. Paul from Pleasant Street. Straight ahead, there's this magnificent, really, stone staircase that's just sprawling in its scope and way too elaborate for its purpose, but which I've always liked because it's a Victorian octopus of an outdoor staircase, getting the job done and then some, and with serious class. Anyway, I was looking at the staircase, which I rarely see in full-on August-sunlight glory, and the girl said, "Holy shit. Look at that." And I said "What?" but I was already seeing it. Two city cops where walking, fast, and with menace, toward a park bench. A guy, with torn clothes and plastic shopping bags all around him, was slowly standing up, but was wobbly about it. The cops had their arms extended out in front of them, and stiffly. They both had their guns drawn: black and matte and thick and not to be fucked with. The cops, who were both big solid black guys, with guns drawn and in their all dark-blue uniforms, presented an entirely dark and forceful picture. The guy on the bench, when he saw the guns, put his hands up and laid on the brick walkway, belly-down. He put his hands behind his head and while one of the cops tied his hands, the other kept his gun pointed. I should write travel brochure language for the city of Baltimore.

I've got actual work this week, at my job. I've been sending essays out lately. The people at McSweeney's and The Believer do not, as advertised, get back to you in four months or less.

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