Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Indy for the Nth Time

Usually, I wrap up writing about short trips with miscellaneous observations, but today I’m going to start with them—observations of various sizes and shapes from my recent 24 hours in Indianapolis, which started on Tuesday afternoon and ended on Wednesday afternoon.

It’s a hiccough airplane trip across the flatland between Chicago and Indy: one state over, one metropolis down. Up you go, get your drink, down you go, do not stand until the plane has made a complete stop. Leaving Indianapolis this afternoon, I got to see the city from up high, making the downtown especially look like a model of itself on a table. Off to the west was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the famous race, looking like a model Circus Maximus in a model of ancient Rome.

I’ve been to Indy so many times now, I’ve lost count. This was my nth trip, then. But I always forget how empty downtown seems, even in the full flush of a business day. My business in town took me from my hotel, the Hampton Inn on Meridian Ave., to the huge Marriott down Maryland St., a wide street, as many of the CBD streets are. I walked the five blocks or so several times. I’m used to the rush and din of Chicago, where the downtown streets always flow with cars, and the sidewalks always sport pedestrians. In Indianapolis, cars seem to trickle down the major thoroughfares, and there are only a handful of walkers on each block.

Many of the crosswalks have timers. That is, along with the standard Walk-Do-Not-Walk ideogram lights, there’s another electronic sign, a timer, to let you know how many seconds are left until the light changes from Walk to Do Not Walk. I’m fairly sure Indy was the first place I ever saw that particular pedestrian aid, though I have seen it a few other places since.

It was cold during my visit, but this time precipitation didn’t chase me, like it did when I came to town in January, or like last week in Michigan. I did notice, while walking to my gate at Midway yesterday, that a lot of flights to LaGuardia had been canceled. Later, the Weather Channel confirmed that a late-winter blast had hammered the Northeast U.S. that day, illustrated by beleaguered pedestrians in Manhattan and snow-shoveling Bostonians. This is the kind of thing that excites the Weather Channel. Gives them some thrilling weather to report till tornado season gets under way.

Saw an enormous man—a 100 lbs. my senior in bulk, at least—reading a comic book at the Indianapolis airport. I mean, a graphic novel. Dungeon, was the name, I think. Sure, they’re supposed to be for adults. But I don’t see too many adults actually reading them in public. Maybe it’s because we suspect that, despite adult themes, they’re still just comic books. Besides, “adult” themes usually don’t mean stories about dealing with your spouse, your kids, your house, your job, or other activities that fill the days of adults. No, it means large breasts slung in small cloth, plus a little ultraviolence, if the cover of Dungeon is any indication.

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At 10:21 PM, Blogger Geof Huth said...


I know what you mean about adults reading graphic novels. I have an abiding interest in serious graphic novels. The effect of Don Ault on my life is unshakeable.

But I'm embarrassed to read them in public. Once, tho, after finally finding Chris Ware's "Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth," I had to read it on the train from New York City to Albany Rennselaer--but the trip wasn't long enough for me to finish the 400-page-or-so book.

My short paean to that book appears on this webpage:

graphically yours,


At 9:17 PM, Blogger Dees Stribling said...

I see the comment function is working again. I've read some of Chris Ware's strips in The Reader and they don't appeal to me. I'll read your comments, though, to get your take on them.


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