Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Dear John Letter to Indianapolis

I got off my plane knowing I had a week packed with work. I knew I'd still find a way to experience Indianapolis and Indiana as, I just spent a day driving all the way around the edge of the state.

I was still excited. I thought of the many surprise places I'd stumbled into in other states. I realized after I got here, you aren't tourist friendly. In fact, locals are curious and guarded when they realize you aren't from around here even in the city. There's a "why would anyone come here?" Mentality. There are NO hotels near the New airport. No hotels have shuttles as the airport is a half an hour away. There is a bus that goes to downtown but you'd have to be local to know about the number 8 and where to get it.

Incidentally, I will admit Indianapolis, your bus drivers are the best. They made me laugh and feel comfortable on the hour plus bus rides on number two with Bob then the number eight to the airport. They didn't mumble and they couldn't understand why the bus insnt publicized and why there aren't hotels near the airport. Indianapolis, your bus drivers and public workers were willing hearts trying despite you to win over my affections for their city. They fought for you with kindness, while you ditched us to split the $54 taxi fare I had to pay to get to the part of the city that HAS hotels, which many may have guessed already- is closer to where the old airport was. Indianapolis, that was cold. A fifty four dollar fare that was higher than the day rate on my rental car I had to use the $1.75 all day bus fare to get back to because my flight got in after midnight, after the rental car places closed for the night.

You can't anticipate everything. In travel hurdles happen. You keep going forward. I had a schedule. I kept going. Receipts tucked away. Indianapolis 1 Angela 0. I headed east for work, thinking you'd be different when I came back.

I had a wonderful evening visiting my cousin Scott, we had great subs at a local place in Ohio. Ohio has hills, valleys. I love nature's curves and colors. Ohio's leaves were almost gone but the colors there seemed more determined to stand out and be seen. Indiana leaves shuffle to the ground, crumpled brown mistakes piling up awkwardly.

On my way back in state I was tired. The road was long, the stories complex, the detail demanding but only an hour and a half to my motel. Regency, the name brings to mind everything the motel was not. I didn't know that yet. A chime warned me before my maps spoke up letting me know there would be two thirty five minute and one hour and fifteen minute delays due to accidents. Major accidents. I watched drivers race around other vehicles like they were in video games, going over eighty. One of those vehicles was one that was almost entirely crushed from all sides in the median, when I passed it forty five minutes later. Professional race car drivers don't screw around on highways during rush hour. They drive on well maintained tracks, engineered for that purpose. It was sad watching mercyflight head off into the night. Impatience kills, it doesn't impress and it doesn't win you recognition or favor.

Over three hours later I made it to Terre Haute. I was surprised by the glaring fluorescent, whitewash broken down hotel. It's like running into a Chihuahua named Sasquach. As I parked, a guy jumped on his bike and slowly circled my car- not looking at me but trying to see what I had with me. He smirked brazenly when he saw I'd caught him. He rode over to a group of three other guys, all with closed mouth sagging looks of those whose front teeth have been sacrificed to hard drugs. All looking like I showed up shouting free food!
I went in the office, got my key, thinking I'd have to out everything in my room; not that I've got anything worth stealing.
Going from my car to my room a man stood at the top of the stairs after eleven at night glaring at me, staring at me. I smiled, stated back and said hello. He kept staring, expressionless. I perservered "Hello!" To this he finally realized I saw him staring and glaring. He didn't stop but said hi. He didn't move or stop.
I went into my room, went to lock the deadbolt and felt it flop in my hand like a dying fish.
I looked. No deadbolt. Just a little spring lick. Spring locks are not secure, you can card your way through them faster than using a key with a few minutes practice.

I gathered my things. They went back in the car. I went back to the office. None of the rooms had deadbolts. The clerk said I'd be safe. I told her she couldn't guarantee the behavior of other residents who all looked like they lived there full time. After hoop jumping and paperwork my reservation was cancelled. She was nice and if the place had reflected her, it would have been a palace. She recommended Days Inn.

Indiana, why so disparate? Human wolves looming to tear into unknowing travelers swirled in with considerate and truly beautiful people. Don't you have a sense of balance? Indiana, I felt like a tiny person and I know I'm carrying a few extra pounds but I look out of place here. Outside Indianapolis it was hard to find real non-chain restaurants with high quality food. Quit it with the deep fried diabetes and heart attack specials already! If you want to be taken seriously, you have to live yourself and take care of you.
I liked seeing signs for free spay and neuter. At least you're kind to animals.

Tucked in Indianapolis I found a couple of spots worth visiting. The Eiteljorg museum which has western art and a whole wing devoted to native history, displayed and curated by a member of the Miami tribe. Indianapolis has good restaurants that are a food revolution in action. A city with few highly rated restaurants has discovered the need and the joys of high quality options. I stood trying not to breathe the fumes coming from the sewer, admiring the golden gingko leaves. I felt as out of place as that ancient tree.
Tomorrow I leave again. I know I'll probably drive through going to other places, but our moment is over if we ever even had one. I won't think of you much, so please work on yourself. Someday you could be a state worth visiting, you could have the confidence and appeal if you worked on it. I admit, today I kept wishing I was in St Louis at Pioneer Park. You could be that great if you tried.

Goodbye Indianapolis, Goodbye Indiana. Tomorrow you'll be behind the tail of my plane and I'll be back in the mountains.