Weekend Wanderer: I Spent the Day in Baltimore. I Have No Idea What I Did While I Was There


weekend wanderer

After spending two Fridays straightening out her finances, I had a very grateful Willie on my hands. 

Willie’s finances — how do I put this?  

Well, recently, I watched all of The Exorcist sequels. 

I had to, guys. My horror podcast is working its way through The Exorcist films. To prepare for the new Exorcist franchise.  

And it’s hunting season. What else is my husband’s chronic absence for but my celluloid viewing pleasure? 

The Exorcist sequels — I have no idea what was happening in these movies.  

None had a consistent story thread. I think two opened with the same scene. Father Merrin felt incidental.  

Despite all of this, I was so satisfied after watching these films. Bring on those podcasts. 

My experience with The Exorcist sequels is identical to my experience with Willie’s finances.  

I had no idea what was happening because — like the sequels — there was no consistent thread to Willie’s finances.  

Uncashed checks from five years ago? Yes. Erroneous credit card billing? Yep. Shopping services with monthly fees? You bet. 

Thai dating services?  

Of course. 

Both Fridays opened with the same scene — me bringing Willie Starbucks coffee. 

Is Willie as incidental to her finances as Father Merrin is to The Exorcist sequels? 

Almost. Disturbingly few agents required Willie’s verification I was acting on her part. 

Huh. That Thai dating service makes a lot more sense now. 

Just like after watching The Exorcist sequels, I was incredibly satisfied after untangling Willie’s finances. 

Although I can’t point to anything I accomplished. 

I didn’t accomplish anything by watching those Exorcist sequels, either. Except for about six hours of bliss because nothing — nothing — is as awesome as a bad movie. 

Well, there is one thing.  

But I told you. My husband is away hunting.  

So bad movies it is. 

“I’d like to buy you something, to thank you for your time,” Willie said. 

I didn’t want Willie’s money. Really. But she wanted to do something for me. 

Except for, you know, the, like, nine things I really want her to do.  

I capitulated. I told Willie she could buy me a book, because I don’t usually buy new releases for myself.  

But I’ve spent months on the library’s waiting list for the new Riley Sager. Now I needed it. 

See, I knew I had hours of nothingness waiting for me.  

At VidCon. 

Let me tell you something. I bought VidCon tickets for my son, his friend, and myself. I bookmarked the website. Followed VidCon on Instagram. Downloaded their app. I attended their event. 

And I’m still not sure what, exactly, VidCon is. 

According to the Baltimore Fishbowl, VidCon is an “annual convention for video creators and fans.” 

Which I get. I do. 

But I also don’t. 

“It’s because I’m old!” I wailed to my husband. 

He assured me I’m not old, but he’s the one who has to not hunt/ not watch bad movies with me when he comes out of the woods. 

If you know what I mean. 

I think my inability to grasp VidCon is generational, akin to my parents’ inability to grasp the birth of a fourth network and my subsequent devotion to 21 JumpStreet

That fourth network, my parents claimed, wouldn’t last long enough to see me through adolescence. And 21 JumpStreet? Should I, at 14, be watching such material? The show actually used the words “condom,” “abortion,” and “yeah, I’m hip.”  

As in, if you know what I mean by my husband not hunting/not watching bad movies with me, you’re hip to my metaphor. 

All the guys on JumpStreet were pierced. They had lots of hair. They not hunted/not watched bad movies with people they just met. 

Definitely, my parents felt, something I shouldn’t watch. 

This is the same discussion my husband and I have about online content and our kids. Is it healthy? Safe? Educational? 

I don’t know. What I do know is that I saw every episode of 21 JumpStreet

And I turned out mostly fine. 

Despite never having had the opportunity to not hunt/ not watch bad movies with Johnny Depp

I also know that, despite my confusion, I had a blast at VidCon. 

I mean, sure. I had to drive to Baltimore to attend VidCon. But Baltimore’s convention center is stunning, VidCon is run like a NASA mission, and Starbucks is across the street. 

At check-in, the registrar attached our RFID — don’t know what that means — bracelets. He passed us our lanyards. He eyed me cautiously. 

“What creators,” he asked, “are you here to see?”  

Said like every movie character who ever asked for a secret password. 

My friend, I’m not even sure what a “creator” is.  

So, yeah. 

I defer to the experts. 

I spent the next nine — yes, nine — hours reading that new release Willie bought me. I watched people come and go.  

They were nice. They were engaging, those “online video creators and fans.” They cleaned up after themselves. They waited patiently in long lines.  

I had fun. 

Despite not understanding, what, exactly, I was doing. 

But hey. I didn’t understand The Exorcist sequels, either. And look how much fun they were. 

And Willie’s finances! I might not understand them, but I got a book out of that deal. 

I don’t even understand my husband’s need to be outdoors. 

But I understand not hunting/not watching bad movies with him. 

And that, my friends, is the most fun. 

And probably all that matters. 

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