Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Crossroads of America

I love traveling. Not just going on vacation--I mean, I love the act of traveling. I find it calming to sit at an airport gate or pass hours on a train. And the people watching? It's top-notch. Especially on a bus.
Which is exactly where I found myself recently...on a bus bound for Indianapolis. At a particularly middle-of-nowhere gas station, the gentleman in front of me turned around, catching my eye. I leave my headphones on, even when not listening to music--it lets you control who you talk to. Well, this guy caught me during the only minute I had them off during the entire journey. He had just returned from buying road snacks inside, and turned to me. "Oh, did you want something to drink?" he asked, sounding a bit concerned. His tone suggested that we were friends out at the bar, rather than two strangers on a bus in middle America. "No, thanks..." I said cautiously. What, was he going to dash back inside and get me something if I said yes? I'm not ending up on the news tonight, sir!
He tried to strike up a conversation after that, and even the super sketchy guy across the aisle from him was shaking his head, as if to say, "No man, that is not happening." And when sketchy bus people think you're making a bad choice? Well, it's time to reevaluate some things.

As we made our way through Indiana, I saw a billboard advertising a casino somewhere in the state. It boldly claimed to have "
Indiana's loosest slots!" ...Really? Hey, you stay classy Indiana.

I've made several trips to Indiana. My BFF resides there, and my visits have always been awesome. One nice afternoon, we headed to a nearby lake for a cookout. We were a bit crowded at our table, and saw another picnic table nearby, empty. Someone suggested we could pull it over and use both.

Ohh, the value of hindsight.
We should have taken that bit of advice. Instead, we decided to work with what we had and get cozy. We're all friends here!

Then our neighbors showed up. Our formerly empty backup table was then populated by...oh god.

I can't even put it into words. Guys, I saw things that I can't unsee! These people...they were a hot mess**. There were a lot of bad decisions going on. They were loud and the women were wearing bikinis and they were not the kind of women who should wear bikinis. (There's a line between being comfortable with your body and being
too comfortable with your body.) The men weren't wearing shirts and they prooooobaby should have been. One of the men was...older. And should not have been making out with that one girl quite so publicly or so fervently. And that girl should definitely have decided against dancing on their picnic table. She should have passed on letting him put his face anywhere near her breasts and she ABSOLUTELY should not have been sitting there in a way that made it look like her face was in his crotch. Because that shit was not okay. Not. Okay.
The worst decision of them all, though? That unfortunate award goes to us. My friends and I, who could not stop looking away, despite all our intentions not to. Despite logic and reasoning and good taste all telling us to turn our frigging backs to it. Ohhh no. It was a train wreck and we had to know what was happening. At least it made me feel better about my decisions in life, I guess. There's a new standard on the Poor Life Choice meter.

Indiana, it was a pleasure. See you next time!

PS: Tune in next time to hear about being the only Democrat at the sock factory!

**In defense of the state of Indiana, they did shout (to us? to the state of Indiana? to the world?) that they were from Kentucky. Not your finest representatives, Kentucky. Better luck next time.

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