Birmingham from Within.

Yesterday, I headed back downtown to get my heart monitor. I wasn’t remarkably excited about the errand, but I was distracted from that when I found everyone’s favorite word to hate, in graffiti form.

Moist Graffiti

A few weeks ago, I had seen “Moist” on an interstate overpass, but I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture. As soon as I got the chance, I drove ten minutes out of my way just to get a picture of that original Moist – but to no avail.

The Department of Transportation, apparently, hates Moist as much as the typical American – they had painted over it.

So when I saw today’s Moistness, my heart jumped within me.

(Too bad I didn’t have my monitor yet.)

Then I had my appointment, where I had an awkward ten minutes with a younger-than-me unmarried male asking me to lift my shirt so that he could place five electrodes on my chest.

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Then five more minutes re-placing them, because the machine was malfunctioning.

(Which was actually only the second most awkward situation I’ve had with a man this week, right behind last week’s doctor visit when the X-Ray tech, who looked like he would be much more comfortable in a pair of worn overalls and sitting on a tractor somewhere in the middle of a tobacco field, looked at me (still in my normal clothes) and said, “You’ve got to get out of that there braw before I can take this picture!”, then afterward, he motioned to my lonely bra on the table and said “I’ll go behind this here door so you can get that braw back on.”)

(I’ve got to find doctors with a higher ratio of female technicians.)

So after today’s episode of Fun With Men I Don’t Know, I walked out, trying to flush from my mind the humiliation. Which is when I saw this.

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You might not be able to tell. It was hard to get a picture.

But THAT IS REPUBLICAN SMOCK.

Republican Party

Guys. In all my days of smock questing, I will never ever be able to top that find.

(Unless I run across Democrat Smock. Because Donkeys on a Bishop Dress would be fairly fantastic.)

The thrill of Political Children’s Wear made me nearly forget about my awkward encounter and I began considering it to be a winning day of fantastic photos. And as I was endlessly winding down the parking deck, I noticed that the view wasn’t so bad, either.

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So I decided to wind the opposite direction and see what it was like on the top floor of the parking deck.

At first it looked closed – there seemed to be cones around, but I drove around them. And when I got past, I saw other cars, so I felt completely exonerated in my ignoring of conage.

And I was so glad I did.

Because the thing is, I usually peer at my city from the outside looking in, from atop the mountain overlooking the city.

But this was different.

This was something I’ve never experienced. I was in the middle of the city with a complete 360 degree view.

 

Birmingham  360 Degrees

I parked and got out, heart monitor and all, and walked that parking deck, taking in every angle. The details were crisp, close, and intimate.

(And windy.)

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To the north was what we’ll call the Financial District, Birmingham’s tallest buildings built in an era when the banking industry had many headquarters here. We still have a few, but the ones that merged and moved away were nice enough to leave their buildings behind for a pretty skyline.

Birmingham Alabama Skyline

To the northwest was a mixture of Old and New Birmingham. Liberty National, an insurance company long housed in Birmingham, towering over new loft developments, bringing a much-needed revitalization and young life into our downtown.

Birmingham Alabama Skyline

To the west was my Alma Mater, UAB, responsible for both my degree and my current medical care. Our city’s bare-butted mascot, Vulcan, can barely be seen to the left on the mountaintop.

UAB Skyline

The south was my favorite view. Vulcan to the right, the dreamy but underutilized Quinlan Castle sharing the center of the picture with the Red Mountain Expressway cut-through (wouldn’t it have been exciting to see that mountain exploded?), and throughout the view was a good representation of how our downtown doesn’t sacrifice foliage for construction.

Birmingham Alabama Skyline

The southeast view had one of my favorite downtown restaurants, The Fish Market, in the forefront  and St. Vincent’s Hospital in the background. Along with some stunning skies.

Birmingham Alabama Skyline

The eastern view showed more new urban development, old buildings, and our National Historic Landmark, Sloss Furnaces, in the backdrop.

Birmingham Alabama Skyline

As I was looking east, I spotted some graffiti that caught my attention:

Moist Graffiti

Upon further investigation, it was confirmed. Another Moist.

Moist Graffiti

Some later-googling made me realize that I wasn’t the only one investigating this fantastic wording choice.

Moist Mystery

That’s right, people. Our city has a Moist Mystery. How about yours?

That evening after dinner, we took the kids back to one of our favorite spots overlooking the city.

Birmingham Skyline

It was still as breathtaking as always, but more intimate than ever before.

Birmingham Alabama Skyline

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. My husband just got done wearing a heart monitor for a month. Hopefully you don’t find it as unbearable and annoying as he did. He called to see if he could send it back two days early as he was nearly out of patches. He did a happy dance when I mailed it out yesterday :D

  2. Where is this spot overlooking Bham?

    • I emailed it to you. I didn’t publish it because I don’t want the people that live on that road to hate me. Because I have high aspirations of being their neighbor one day! :-)

  3. What beautiful pictures of your children! I love your ‘photo essay’ about B’ham and your remarking about the different perspectives from which to view your city – so perceptive ! I also have been curious about the ‘moist’ thing. Am gonna google it! (Maybe it’s a ‘tag’ for someone nicknamed/named ‘ Moist’. My thoughts are with you as you try to solve your ‘Medical Mystery’ as well!

    • Thank you! Yes, from what I can tell, it is a new graffiti artist’s tag. I’ve been seeing Daze for years, but Moist is definitely the new guy on the block.

  4. WOW, Stunning parking deck pics! I was about to make a really crude reference about how excited they made me but I will refrain from using the M word in my comment. Gross. Sorry.

  5. Democratic smock. That would be epic! I kind of hope someone in that little girl’s family is running for office, otherwise it’s a little disturbing that her mom put her in that.

  6. Love it!! It’s taken me a while to learn to love our city, but Birmingham has grown on me and it is quite fantastic (except for the traffic and OBNOXIOUS construction going on more so that ever…) Great pics!!! And OMG! That would be hilarious is there was a Demo smock!!! LOL

  7. Those are some great views! Absolutely gorgeous!

  8. Those are some incredibly beautiful photos!

  9. Wow, those are some pretty pictures. The last one especially, but the sky is amazingly blue in all of them! Sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well. :( Hope the doctors can get it figured out soon!

  10. Hope your medical issues resolve quickly! Thank you for the beautiful pictures ofBirminham. North Alabam is really a beiautiful place. What tickled me the most was the Republican smock…..now I am actually a smock fan and in fact smocked many many garments for my boys……but republican smock just seems wrong to me….. I lean more left than GOP, but would never subject my child to politicalsmock! Too funny!

  11. The Republican smock is simultaneously the best and worst thing I’ve ever seen.

  12. I love this post Rachel! You made me want to go explore the graffiti in town…

    • Thanks! I agree. I would love to do a graffiti walk!

      Actually, I have this crazy idea of walking up and down every single street in Downtown and taking pictures of the fantastic things I’d see. Now I just have to find time. Or convince my kids that this is how we should spend every day of the rest of the summer.

  13. That is not a mountain! You need to visit Colorado :)

    • Ha! Agreed. I’ve been to Colorado and the mountains are much bigger there. But technically, we are in the footHILLS of the Appalachian MOUNTAINS. So where does that leave us? I guess hills.

  14. Marlene says:

    Could you do a blog on the Vulcan? I’ve been fascinated with it ever since it was mentioned in a mystery book I was reading. Specifically the bare butt.. Inquiring minds want to know.

    • I do need to blog about Vulcan, because I don’t really know his entire history! I’ll see what I can do sometime. I just need to get to know the man a little better first. And you know, that’s kind of awkward when his butt is hanging out.

  15. Okay I like smocked clothes. I smocked & sewed when my nieces & son were little. I have all the smocked dresses my mother made my sister and me. BUT that is definitely a bit much. Wow.

  16. $20 to the first person who can find a smocked Libertarian dress or jumper.

  17. Democratic smock!

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