Journey to the center of my sketchbook – Escape from Baltimore

The first birthday of our friend’s daughter is this week. That day one year ago was pretty wonderful, even more so because my wife was there for the birth. That night, my friend Eric and I drove down to the hospital in Baltimore. Except we took a wrong turn off the highway and ended up in a pretty scary neighborhood – abandoned buildings, unsavory characters on the street – real Snake Plissken stuff. Once we figured out that we’d turned right instead of left, we couldn’t figure out how to go back. We were on a one-way street and couldn’t turn around. And we really really didn’t want to stop. Eric started to use the talking GPS thingy on his phone. It seemed to be leading us in some bizarro roundabout way of getting back before running out of juice and leaving us stranded in a spooky warehouse district. I u-turned (because I couldn’t think of what else to do) while Eric frantically paged through a torn-up atlas and we finally got to the hospital. (Don’t ask how long it took to get to the maternity ward once we got there.*)

Looking back we could pinpoint the exact moment when we knew we were in trouble. It was when a rat the size of a dog walked across the street right in front of my moving car. He just sauntered across. He didn’t care. He owned the joint. The experience lead me to this sketchbook diary entry.

(*Curiosity‘s killing you, ain’t it. It took 45 minutes longer than it should’ve taken to get to the maternity ward, that’s how long it took.)

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6 Responses to “Journey to the center of my sketchbook – Escape from Baltimore”

  1. alex Says:

    I love this – got more interesting tidbits?

  2. KOVALESKI Says:

    I’ve been going through my sketchbooks to pull out stuff. Unfortunately, most of it’s only interesting to me.

  3. Margaret Shulock Says:

    Don’t be too sure about that, John; glimpses into an artist’s sketchbook are a rare treat. It’s like showing us the diary of your subconscious. Or is that just my sketchbook?

  4. KOVALESKI Says:


    I mentioned in my SPX post that John Martz’s sketchbook was much more interesting than mine. But I’m going to go through and find some less-boring stuff to post.

  5. barbara dale Says:

    There’s an annual event in Baltimore. It’s rat-fishing. You can probably find it on UTube. I’m serious. A local bar sets people up at night in their neighborhood with fishing poles and whoever catches the biggest rat wins.

  6. KOVALESKI Says:

    I believe you, Barbara. When we got to the hospital and told our rat story, the nurse just said, “It’s Baltimore” as if that explained everything. And I guess it did.

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