When The New York Times invited me, today, to spend 36 hours in Baltimore, I scoffed. My relationship with Charm City is, at best, strained.

As a kid from PA, I enjoyed trips to the aquarium and Camden Yards, but now I choose to overlook Charm City, the “forgotten middle child among attention-getting Eastern cities.” I can appreciate its scene; doing listings, I occasionally get postcards about the city’s more adventurous art openings. I’ve been to Ottobar and liked it.

The crime doesn’t do much for me, though, and I’ve never watched The Wire. All my warm fuzzies about seeing dolphins and home runs and Spoon left because of some thief. In 2003, a friend’s car was stolen from classy-sounding Art Museum Drive while we attended a concert at Johns Hopkins. We’d driven from D.C., and while I didn’t get stabbed or shot or even lose much in the car, it meant a long, expensive cab ride in the middle of the night. (To boot, the only person I know at Hopkins is a jerk.) Considering I don’t like seafood, even crab cakes can’t lure me back.

If I want East Coast “working class,” I head for Philly. I’m sure plenty of Baltimore’s residents are very happy, but E. A. Poe‘s mysterious death there is yet another reminder to me of the dangers of too much time spent in those parts.

Feel free to disagree.