life in a red state

So, the thing about Indiana is that it’s pretty much exactly the same as Ohio, except where Ohio is an unassuming swing state with plenty of metropolises to balance out its fair share of rednecks and hill folk, Indiana is blatantly red and mostly consists of sprawling corn fields, its only significant urban area being Indianapolis.

When you first enter Indiana on I-70 from Ohio, the very first thing you see is a sequence of abrasive billboards spouting off fire and brimstone bullshit in peeling, faded letters. Interspersed with the proclamations that “JESUS SAVES” and “HELL HAS NO EXITS” are advertisements for the unfortunately named Tom Raper RVs, and at the very end of ugly billboard purgatory is one final sign that combines religion and Raper RVs, causing you to wonder, “who IS Tom Raper and how crazy IS this motherfucker?”

Just past the Ohio-Indiana border is a huge fireworks store punctuated with the most gigantic cross I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s so Red State that it’s ridiculous- as if the Raper-religion signs weren’t enough, the first solid thirty minutes that you’re in Indiana is depressingly barren aside from these odd, slightly ominous landmarks.

Brooks: How much do you think a cross like that costs?
Keenan: You mean in dollars or common sense?

I did not take that picture, by the way- I stole it from some guy on Flickr. It was the only decent picture I could find on the internet, because apparently the Indiana cross is vastly overshadowed by an even more enormous one that’s also on I-70 in Illinois.

Based on a first impression, Indiana seems much more overtly Christian than Ohio, but the funny thing about the red religiousness of the state is that, in Indianapolis anyway, there seem to be a lot of people rebelling against this norm. This city is FULL of hippies. Obviously with hip Broad Ripple being a centerpiece of the city and tons of students from Butler and Indiana University running around, it’s inevitable that you’re going to run into plenty of bums and hipsters. But even outside of the student-heavy areas and the parameters of Broad Ripple, it seems like there are just a lot of freakin’ hippies. And that’s okay with me.

Other things that I’ve noticed that make Indiana slightly different than Ohio: you can smoke in bars, you can’t buy cold beer at gas stations, and you’re frowned upon (honked at) for being a passive driver. Traffic in Indianapolis is weird. It’s subtly different than it is in Columbus or in any other Ohio city I’ve been in, different in a way I can’t quite put my finger on other than to say that Indy drivers are assholes.

You know how when you’re turning left at a traffic light, it’s forgivable for one or MAYBE two cars to go on through after the light turns red, you know, because they were already half into the intersection while they waited for the clear to turn left across oncoming traffic? Well, in Indy, instead of one person making a break through the freshly red light, there are always AT LEAST three cars that blatantly barrel through, even when there’s no argument about the light being orange. I’ve only been here a month and I’ve already lost count of the number of times I’ve almost seen accidents happen at large intersections because of dicks going through a red light when it is unarguably no longer their turn. Red means stop, people. Traffic lights are there for a reason.

Smoking in bars is a whole other issue that I might touch on at another time, but for now I’ll just say that I like Indy so far, despite my blossoming road rage and ongoing struggle to give up cigarettes.

Can I just say though, who the hell cares that Indiana is Lincoln’s Boyhood Home? What a weak ass tagline.


4 thoughts on “life in a red state

  1. If you head west on 70 past Indianapolis, the red stateness becomes even more apparent. Just this past year a road trip to Wisconsin included passing signs making it very clear the 2nd amendment trumps all others.

  2. lol, yes, those signs from Ohio into Indianapolis are terrible! Also, if my last name was Raper I would change it.
    What bars can you smoke in? I don’t go out too much, but I know you can’t smoke in a lot of bars now. Have you noticed that you can’t buy alcohol on Sundays yet? Jesus doesn’t want you to.

    As for driving, yes, everyone in Indianapolis drives like it’s the Indy 500 year-round. It’s actually worse closer to the Indy 500, so brace yourself.
    However, in Indiana if you are making a left turn across traffic at a light, you are SUPPOSED to pull as far up as you can so that other cars behind you can also enter the intersection. Anyone in the intersection when the light is green is allowed to complete their turn. HOWEVER, yes, a lot of people use this as an excuse to go through even if they were behind the white line. Also, a lot of people think a yellow light means “go really fast” and they frequently run red lights. My boyfriend is from San Diego and he always complains about the driving here! For the record, if I can stop at a yellow I do, but if I have a giant SUV behind me who thinks he is going through (not noticing that I’m in front of him), well, I go through.
    Have you driving up in the Castleton area yet? When I took driver’s ed they made us drive up there as a final test.

    At least you’ve been to Broad Ripple! We should get together and have a drink sometime. I promise I’m not scary. =]

    • I love Broad Ripple. I don’t think I’ve been in a bar yet that you couldn’t smoke in…in Ohio ALL bars are nonsmoking so it feels like going back in time to see people smoking indoors anywhere. usually when I go out I go to Broad Ripple, and all the bars there that I’ve been to allow smoking.
      where do you like to go in BR?

  3. Pingback: December Sponsors! | eef etc

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s