Baltimore, Maryland holds a special place in my heart. It is not only the land of my birth, it is also where I met, fell in love with, and married my husband. If all this weren't enough to make me feel good about the place it also is the home of movie director John Waters. My husband James and I are long-time fans of Waters and enjoyed reading his book about hitchhiking from his home in Baltimore to his home in San Francisco together. The book is divided into three sections. The first is a fantasy trip called "The Best that Could Happen"; the second a fantasy trip entitled "The Worst the Could Happen"; and the third called "The Real Thing". Fantasy chapters included rides with celebrities, alien abductions, magic farts, and some rather poopy pants. None of this will surprise those who are familiar with Waters' work. The third section was actually the most surprising. It is where Waters cynicism is least evident. He was genuinely grateful for all who picked him up, even if only going a few blocks. He was also touched by the number of straight men he met who spoke lovingly, and affectionately of their wives, and enjoyed the company of all who rode with him.
Of course as much as I enjoy any book, it does not find a place on this blog without at least touching on some aspect of libraries. Waters' book makes the cut for his fantasy chapter "Bernice" in which a renegade librarian who runs her own bookmobile-type service delivers paperback porn (without cover art) to niche collectors. They visit one of her clients, Cash, who lives in a house made entirely out of cover-less paperback smut. (I don't know if such a house actually exists anywhere, but I do know there is a house in Rockport, Massachusetts made entirely out of newspapers).
What I especially liked about this chapter was that Waters says he knows "how wild librarians can be" having been a keynote speaker at "several of their conferences." Since I was a librarian at a conference in which Waters was the keynote speaker (the Association of College and Research Libraries 2007 conference in Baltimore) it was almost like reading about myself - wild librarian that I am.
I marked one other passage in this book for blogging, even though it had nothing to do with libraries. It did, however, have to do with Baltimore nostalgia. Those who have seen John Waters know about his iconic mustache. During his "real" trip, he frets that it is starting to get a little bushy, and compares himself to "Baltimore's longest-running TV weatherman", Bob Turk. It is not just that I remember Bob Turk, in 1975 an eleven-year old me was invited to read a story on-the-air that I wrote for his local Christmas special program. It is one of my best childhood memories.
This was a fun and quick read. Fans of John Waters will not be disappointed.