When I first moved here, I was told that Baltimore is a big small town. It certainly did seem as if everyone I met knew many of my other acquaintances, either through old school ties, professional connections, or having been neighbors or romantically linked at some point. Given the number of Peabody grads and faculty members I met through my work, the musical community proved to be even more interconnected than the city! I began hearing my new hometown called “Smalltimore”, and although I’m not sure I actually coined the phrase, began referring to occasions on which one encounters someone with unexpected ties to a friend or colleague as “Baltimoments.”
Since I’d never lived in a metropolitan area before, I found this phenomenon very odd. I’d expected to be able to remain somewhat anonymous in a city this size (when off the air, anyway.) Having longed to escape the claustrophobic feel of small-town life, had I merely transferred myself to a larger fishbowl? As time passed, I realized it’s not a bad thing to be able to go to almost any concert, play, antiques show, or other artsy event and see people you know. That’s what happens when you’re part of a community… or two, or three, or four.
Over the past week, I’ve a couple of great Baltimoments. On Wednesday evening, a friend and I went roller skating. I take a tough Spin class on Wednesday mornings and my legs reminded me of that after a while, so I sat down on a bench next to two ladies, one of whom complimented me on my dress and asked “Weren’t you and I at the same audition last weekend?” Indeed, we had been! I just hadn’t expected to see anyone from that audition for a while – I didn’t get the role – and besides, that event had taken place south of the city; the rink we were at was up north. She seemed as surprised as I was to meet someone from the theater world in such a different context.
This morning, I opened my work email to find a message from a local author who was on faculty at the University of Iowa (a/k/a my alma mater) during my time there. Having read my bio on this site, he felt compelled to drop me a note, which I was very glad to receive; it’s been a while since I met anyone familiar with that school or Iowa City, and I have fond memories of both. Perhaps our lives are all far more intertwined that we realize!
Baltimore, Six degrees of separation