Well THAT Was Underwhelming!

I apologize for the lack o'blogging, but I was in Indianapolis helping to administer a board exam. I'd planned on blogging from there, but I found myself so miserable I just didn't feel like it. As soon as I arrived (Wednesday), I found out that I really didn't have to be there until the next day, as the work I had to do didn't start until Friday. (I knew this, I'd voiced this concern, but we were all told to make plans to arrive on Wednesday by 4PM). No one was informed that they could put off arriving until that Tuesday, and I was out of the office on business Tuesday, so I didn't get the message. Thanks for calling me, guys. I appreciate it. That pretty much set the tone for my most-week in Indy.

So Wednesday and Thursday I was in Indianapolis with nothing to do. It looked like a nice enough city, so I thought I'd make the best of it and explore. After checking in with the rest of the staff on site, I went for a walk directly to the South Bend Chocolate Company located a mere 3 blocks away! Within 2 minutes of leaving the hotel, I had this conversation:

"Miss, spare some change?"
"I'm sorry, I don't have any cash." Kept walking.
The guy proceeds to follow me.
"Miss? Miss? Spare some change?"
I kept walking.


Not three minutes after that, "Allow me to introduce myself. I'm the representative of the Homeless Commission of Indiana (holds out plastic cup)."
"I'm sorry, I really don't have any change." (For the record, I really didn't have any change. If I had any singles, they were mixed up with 5s and 20s, and I didn't want anyone on the street to see that I was carrying Jacksons while walking alone.)
"Well God bless YOU! I guess you just don't give a SHIT about the homeless!!"
It was all I could do to bite back the "Oh, no! That's not true! I DO care! Just not about you, specifically, because you're a total asshole."

The next night: "Miss, you look like a really nice person and a good Christian* like me. I'm a good Christian and my car was towed while I was watching my daughter in her gymnastics competition at the stadium, and I need seven dollars to get it out of the tow yard so I can drive my daughter home."
"I'm sorry, I don't have $7.00, but that gentleman right there may be able to assist you (we were standing about 10 feet from an attendant at a parking garage). He may have a phone you could use."
(without even looking), "My daughter, now I'm a good god-fearing Christian and I would never lie to anyone, and you look like a real nice understanding person. I know you'll help me. My daughter, I have to get my car out so I can drive my daughter home."
"Where's your daughter?"
"....Fuck you."

(*I absolutely bristle at the term "good Christian." How about "Good PERSON?" Did this guy know I'm a Christian? No. Can people only be good if they're Christians? I think not. I certainly know some amazing Christians, but I also quite a few Jews who are better people than me, and a Buddhist or fifty who would kick my ASS in a humanitarian showdown. And don't get me started on the Wiccan who devotes more of her time volunteering for charity than she spends at her actual full-time job.) END RANT.

I do believe these men could use a little seminar on how to be more effective when asking for money. After the first incident, there was no way in HELL I was giving anyone a cent, and I was pretty certain I wasn't going to so much as leave the hotel again. But I did. I had to get to the South Bend Chocolate Company, and I wanted to check out the canal walk. It was a nice walk, but nothing to write about (depite my blogging about it here). I started getting nervous as the sun started to set, so I turned around to head back to the hotel. As the canal path was pretty much deserted, I thought it would be safer to head back streetside. It was DEAD. NO ONE was walking except for me. There were very few cars. Felt like an incredibly long 2 miles, but I, of course, made it back just fine.

Long story short, five minutes out, I decided Indianapolis was a pit. I did venture out a few times after that, going for a walk every day after returning from exams. There were several nice restaurants, a nice mall, and everything else nice that's geared towards people who don't live there. There were no homes, no apartments, no GREEN, no character. The only green I saw was on the baseball field (we went to watch an Indians-Redskins minor league game (how very PC!) on Thursday night), and in a couple of the hotel courtyards. Everything else was concrete and hotels the color of concrete. I'd never go back. It was the first time I was actually glad Shannon wasn't with me - he would have been absolutely MISERABLE there. God knows I was! Even the sale at Nordstrom sucked. The chocolate at SB Chocolate, however, was as wonderful as ever, but I'd have enjoyed it much more in South Bend. Or better yet, at home.

I left for home as SOON AS I COULD GET AWAY on Sunday. We were supposed to stay until Monday morning - only God knows why. Exams were over Sunday and only a few staff had to stick around to make sure everything was packed and loaded on the trucks. I'd been up since 4 packing and getting ready for my last day in Indy, and I was checked out by 6AM.

"You can't leave tonight. You're too tired. It's been a long day. You can't drive after such a long day. You can stay in my room," one colleague said to me as I bid everyone adieu after checking in after the last day of exams (she's a lovely woman, but can be maddeningly bossy).
"That statement just cost me about 10 seconds on the road. Bye!"

I was looking foward not only to getting home, (which I was, for the record, most dreadfully. I hate being away from Shannon for any amount of time, and this journey had especially soul-sucking), but to seeing the mysterious cicadas that should be out by now!

I love cicadas. They're beautiful and friendly and you can carry them around on your shoulders like pets without any worry of them hurting you. They've been out in abundance in Park Ridge, but we haven't seen any in Chicago yet. I figured by the time I got back, I'd have to shovel them off the walk to clear a way for myself and my bags!

The week before I'd left, I drove past a forest preserve on River Road heading toward Devon in Park Ridge/Des Plaines, and the forest was absolutely TEEMING with cicada song. It was louder than the planes just taking off from O'Hare, and even louder than Weird Al Yankovic's White and Nerdy blasting from my iPod. It was beautiful.

When I got to the forest preserve at Devon west of Caldwell, I turned down my radio and opened my windows in anticipating of hearing them again.

Nothing. Silence. Well, maybe a bird off in the distance...

All this hype and media freakout, and I haven't seen one cicada in Chicago.

What is wrong with Chicago that cicadas don't feel welcome here? Is Daley behind this too? Why aren't they crossing the Park Ridge borders?


Rev Transit said...

Yeah, Mayor Daley said no cicadas in Chicago. They're not allowed. They mess up the parks and stuff.

Mu said...

Too many rude homeless people asking the cicadas for change.

Shannon Riordan said...

Wow, this was a rambling post! :) I like it! Starts off in Indy and ends with bugs. Actually, that may be more related than I want to contemplate.

I'll go on the record as saying I'm glad you're home. I get nervous and twitchy when you're away - I don't know what you're up to and that makes me very, very nervous. ;)

Matt Stratton said...

I think the real reason you don't see so much with the cicadas in Chicago is that all the ground has been dug up in the last 17 years.

Either that, or they all got eated by the Asian Longhorns.