Did I ever tell you about that time I went to Indiana? For a year and a half? It’s not something I prefer to recollect because, well, I found the experience disappointing. I know people from Indiana. If you visit the brickyard over Memorial Day Weekend or explore the Lake Michigan shoreline (hello, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore), discovering excitement and beauty could be possible. Lewis and Clark travelled along the lower edges of Indiana, and I follow their footsteps anywhere. Still, I just can’t really get excited about Indiana. And it’s not just because I don’t care for basketball, although, the two perfunctory aspects are likely related. I just always felt disappointed by my life in Indiana.
Why eighteen months? Why stay? My stint related in no way to a prison term, even though the federal penitentiary highlights Terre Haute – the town where I found myself sequestered. Living in Indiana felt like a prison term, as I had no means of escape. Why stay if it failed to excite me? I gave it the old college try, literally and figuratively. I buckled down. I studied. My grades were reasonable, especially considering the second semester when I could not afford textbooks. Yet, the blahs outweighed the bonuses. An exit strategy and the massive step forward in my life story became the only positive aspect that I muster from my duration in Indiana.
This current circuitous journey winds me into the Hoosier State. Sixteen states into my road trip, Indiana garnered a mere couple hours between Cedars of Lebanon and Starved Rock State Parks. During the trip planning process, I failed to realize I would visit the state out of all fifty that I visited longest ago. As I approach, my heart beats faster, not with excitement but with decades-old angst – would this time around bring a brighter view similar to the fresh perspective I gained earlier in this voyage in the UP? As I cross the Ohio River and briefly glance at the Lewis and Clark Trail, I return to the state where I first lived sans parents. Three decades later, I’m not being dropped off at a dorm, and I am not staying.
The wind blows excessively, beyond delightfully. The trees and grass and greenery blend disproportionately to the lackluster businesses and neighborhoods through which I pass. On a scale from average to dull, average barely registers. I hoped I would see this slice of America nestled near the shores of the Wabash River with new eyes. Perhaps I overstayed my welcome the first time around, needing more than a few hours to combat the banality of three semesters, because this time, I cannot see a world changed, but a world immutable, a countryside uninspired, and a view worthy of being somewhere between point A and point B. Indiana, again, lies between my here and there, my future and my past, and offers nothing more. Gas and food will be the sum total of what I take away from the Hoosier State.