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The Inn
A Muse of Matrons in Manly Times Past
8/27/20
Something I'd like to talk about is what an inn would be like in various times and places. BLM (mixed melanated and pale group) is on video screaming at diners to raise their fists in solidarity and one (paleface) woman sat quietly and refused. So, I have never enjoyed restaurants but now with C-19 and BLM harassment, that's another thing that won't ever be the same. I know at various times, single or widowed women have supported themselves running boarding houses, there must be some kind of social contract, some loyalty that some men have to the pseudo mother that prepares their meals and tends to their laundry, enough to protect her from these types of bandits. Bandits are another thing to talk about, the time when roads were perilous and it was essential to be at your destination before nightfall. I seem to remember this from the Count of Monte Cristo. If you want to write about this, you may, but I'd like to discuss if and when we ever get to tape.
-Lynn

Lynn, I don’t know anything about the history of taverns, boarding houses and inns.
I have, however, lived and stayed in such places. Mostly I have taken a reprieve from the process of travelling on buses and hiking across Baltimore, within their open doors.
The Highland Café on Highland and Baltimore Street in East Baltimore, was a bar I drank at while waiting for a bus transfer in the early and mid-1990s. My coworker Jimmy “Pops” Ritz, lived in a room above the bar. The bar was his living room and dining room.
On the Corner of Northpoint Boulevard and Wise Avenue, between Sparrows Point and Edgemere and Northpoint, is a roadhouse bar, the name of which escapes me. It is owned by a husband and wife who live upstairs and rent numerous rooms. It is literally an extended family of alcoholics and drifters, where I was warmly welcomed on holidays such as Thanksgiving and July 4th, when meals were cooked and served gratis by the husband.
Such places have a friendly cohesion.
Men who have made an alcohol-moderated truce with the life that is killing them and seek a regular tavern, mix well with travelers like myself seeking a quiet space. These men are not to be confused with their younger counterparts going out to get drunk, and get laid and fight at some roadhouse bars. Though the latter behavior is rare in the areas I came from. Such places rarely have the resources to hire security. They tend to depend on the regulars to inforce social norms and they will lean on younger patrons to take care of removing bad people, escorting barmaids to their car, etc. This service tends to come from volunteer bar patrons doing this and sometimes a husband or boyfriend of the bar maid. Many bars function well with a woman behind the counter as the men tend to form a brother or uncle or father type relationship with her and develop protective instincts where she is concerned. Such places are such a refuge, that in extreme criminal circumstances, such as in 19th century San Francisco, the high level of trust typically bestowed upon the inn keeper by the traveler forms as a seed for betrayal and human trafficking.
With rents what they are, in any area that is not a post-industrial wasteland or urban crime-scape, regulars are not wanted: we drink to slow, read, talk with friends and give the place a low class vibe. Renters, if any exist upstairs, are routed outside of the tavern onto the parking lot just as travelers with backpacks are discouraged, all to play to the upscale sterile civics of the hipster elite wo bring the big dollars to the now denatured tavern of today.
Typically, in Baltimore, in my Father’s and Uncle Fred’s time, they told me, that some handful of bachelors would live over the bar and that food such as pickled sausage, onion, and eggs and even iced oysters would be freely available on the bar top and the patrons would put money in a dish for their food. When they were children they would go to the corner bar—a remnant urban tavern and information exchange center—and get a pitcher of beer filled for their parents. Children being threatened, for instance, would not be tolerated. As the inn and tavern give way to the package good bar, sports bar and bread and breakfast, all remnants of community and of masculine responsibility for the welfare of the owner, staff and patrons, have been intentionally scrubbed from the setting. Part of this is absentee ownership, insurer demands, police presence, and disintegration of the surrounding community. But much of this is due to the courting of the aspirational class dollar in order to keep ahead of the rent.
Gilgamesh, while on is quest, sought the aid of a woman who kept a tavern and brewed beer. Below is an extract from my adaptation of Gilgamesh:
‘Beneath the Garden of the Gods, where the Great Deep crashed its waves, the Breweress sat, her face veiled, her golden pot-stand and brew-vat by her side.
‘A man of godlike proportions, worn from long trekking, haggard with sorrow, dark with anguish, approached her.
‘The Breweress thought, ―How direct, how desperate he is—he comes for me, a murderer by his look!
‘She darted like a mouse into her tavern, barred the door, and hurried to the rooftop.
‘He stood glowering in wrath before the door. Hearing the woman upon the roof he looked up and saw her peering down at him.
‘His shout was like a lion‘s roar, ―Why have you barred your door? I shall enter, shall batter down your door unless you show some hospitality!
‘The Breweress answered, ―You look the Wildman—why should I not bar my door and take to the roof? Tell me your name and declare your destination…’
So one sees an ancient depiction of an inn as fortified with a bar and rooftop sanctuary.
In fiction, Melville sketches a classic inn/boarding house of early modern type with the Spouter Inn, where Ishmael ends up sharing a bed with the cannibal warrior Quequeeg.
In the late 1780s George Washington infamously raised an army by raiding such places, along with whore houses, and conscripting the temporary residents into Saint Claire’s doomed army.
The type of people who go to a bar for $7-10 microbrews and gourmet food, would rarely protect anyone from the rampaging Nightly Class, including themselves.
One good outcome of the current troubles could be the destruction of upper middleclass income and the extinction of bread and breakfast elite dining, which might open a niche here and there for a real extended stay, orphan family inn, like The Bar on the corner of Northpoint and Wise on the Baltimore County waterfront. Until we shed a lot more of this vast wealth and ease, being positively human is going to remain a rare public behavior in this post-human nation. Bars and inns are a holdover from an earlier human age and the System of Control has the correct instinct to close them, for they are dens for the feral folks who escape System domestication.
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SeanSeptember 2, 2020 5:31 AM UTC

And this reminds me of the time I picked you up at that bar in town and the looks I got when I walked in. The hostel I'm suspicious look showed me that there's still some semblance of that remaining. At the time my clothing didnt help either haha.
responds:September 2, 2020 2:01 PM UTC

I think they thought you came into arrest me.

being a runt, if I tried to pass you off as my son I would have had to tell the tale of dating a WNBA star from Russia...