A FRIEND writes from Northwest Baltimore:"We live...

A FRIEND writes from Northwest Baltimore:

"We live in Rockdale, which might be called inner Randallstown and might be called outer Lochearn. At any rate, we have a Baltimore postal address, but that may be changed any day. Everything else has been.


"First they switched our congressman. In the recent round of congressional redistricting, we moved from Ben Cardin's 3rd District to Kweisi Mfume's 7th. We didn't mind. We still get good representation, and being in the 7th makes us feel closer to the city. If H.L. Mencken were alive today, he'd be voting in the 7th, same as us.

"Then, of course, they changed the area code from 301 to 410. Too many numbers on good old 301, they said, and we dutifully informed our mothers and sisters and brother and out-of-town friends.


"Then they changed the ZIP code. We were in 21207, one of the largest and most poorly served ZIPs in the United States. Our delivery has been mediocre at best, but the post office itself is beneath mediocre (and it's miles from our house down Liberty Road). There are always interminable lines. One day while I stood in line, a clerk actually licked stamps for several outgoing packages in a row. Wouldn't you think they could afford a postage meter, or at least a sponge?

"Now the post office has created a new ZIP, 21244, for all of us outside the Beltway, and we wait anxiously for news of our very own post office that would be closer to home.

"Finally, they are switching all four of our state legislators. We're in one of the new 'black' districts created in the last round of state redistricting. Again, we're not all that upset. Lower Liberty Road has been poorly served. Over the 19 years we've lived here, our legislators have chosen to live in Pikesville and other tonier parts of our district. Maybe now we'll get some representation.

"But all of these changes have left us somewhat confabulated. Our mothers and sisters and brother are beginning to think it's we who have moved, not others who have, in effect, moved us. The last straw will be notice that we no longer live in Baltimore."