An Escape of the Narrowest Means

Last Friday, Mr. Demonic and I decided to meet some friends of ours for a golf weekend. Since we live in the upper Midwest and they live in the South, we mutually agreed to hook up midway. For last weekend, the halfway point was Indianapolis.

I had only been through Indiana on my way to somewhere else. If you’ve never been there, you haven’t missed much. If you have been there (or God forbid, are currently living there), my deepest condolences. My own area is no prizewinner, but Indiana… sheesh.

We decided to take my car instead of the dear Mr. Demonic’s. My car is a Toyota Prius. My car is roomy, and you can’t beat the gas mileage with a stick. It’s also clean; I keep it that way. On the other hand, Mr. Demonic drives a used training car. It has over 180,000 miles on it, and has been rear-ended several times. (He tends to fall asleep at stop lights.) Mr. D does not have a briefcase. Instead, he uses the tops of paper cases and carries his stuff around in cardboard boxes. That’s a handy reuse of cardboard, but as soon as he makes a sharp turn, everything tumbles out, and so the entire car is covered in scraps of paper.

In addition, Mr. D spills his coffee on a daily basis. The passenger side is stained and smells of stale cups of Joe.

Mr. D didn’t like that I was driving, but heck, when have I ever done anything where he actually liked it? And in return, he does plenty to piss me off, but I won’t go there in this post.

We set off into a bright and sunny Friday, missing all of the morning rush hour. This was a good thing, because I tend to drive like a snail. I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in years, and I certainly wasn’t going to get one last week. (Come to think of it, the last ticket I got was a direct result of Mr. D urging me to drive faster so he wouldn’t miss the Buick Open on TV.)

When we arrived in northeastern Indiana, I found I had the need to fill up the gas tank. That doesn’t happen often. It was also nearing noon, and Mr. D was getting hungry. (Me, I can take food or leave it, especially at noon.) If you have been to that part of Indiana, you’d know that the pickin’s are pretty slim when it comes to food choices. It’s not Napa Valley, where you can get a damned good, nearly gourmet sandwich from the gas station. My choices were fast food and more fast food. I would have preferred a homey country diner, but no such luck.

I don’t do fast food. Well, I will amend that. I will eat it, but only sparingly. Our choices that day were McDonald’s (NO), Burger King (DOUBLE NO), Subway (maybe… but they’re so big!), or Arby’s. I chose Arby’s, because they offer a petite roast beef sandwich (which tastes nothing like roast beef), but since at the time I was craving mustard, I thought would be good to relieve that craving. Arby’s personnel usually crinkle their noses at the request of mustard packets, but that’s half the fun of going there.

After getting our food, we set out on the road again. Unbeknownst to me, Mr. D had picked up a local real estate guide from the lobby at the Arby’s. While I drove, he serenaded me with real estate listings.

“Holy cow. A three bedroom house for $92K? They’re practically giving them away here…”

“Uh huh…” I was driving, so I tried to ignore him.

“Look at this one!” he would shout, shoving the book under my nose. “Four bedrooms, two baths, three car garage, lakefront. $325K! That’s practically a steal!”

I tried to keep the car on the interstate as I glanced over. “Yeah, nice.” I was noncommittal.

A few minutes later… “Look here! Forty acre hobby farm, old farmhouse completely redone with granite kitchen, pole barn, and a river runs through it. $200K. Are they nuts?”

“Why are you looking at that? We already have more houses than we can handle.” That’s true. In fact, the condo up north is up for sale, and so is the lot in Colorado. The other little house, we’re keeping because we have a reliable renter, otherwise that would be on the chopping block too. We’d sell our own house, but in this market, I doubt we could get anything for it.

“Look at this one. It’s commercial property. RV park with home. 500K. We could run an RV place!”

“Why are you looking at that? We already have a place to live and a business.”

“I’m thinking I could be a farmer.”

That was ridiculous. He doesn’t even mow the grass, I do. “You hate vegetables, remember?”

“Yeah, but we could live here. I could live here, especially if I had a nice house with a river running through it. Just think, I could go fishing!”

“You hate fishing!” It’s true. When the kids were little, they wanted to go and he never took them.

“I’d like fishing if there was a river right next to me. Besides, you said you’d move anywhere.”

I considered it. I really hate where we are now. It’s depressing and cold. I looked at the scenery. Indiana is not unlike southern Illinois or Kansas or Iowa. It was flat, miles and miles of spent corn and dry, brown soybeans cooking in the sun. There were miles and miles between exits and even more between houses. While the houses were cheap, I couldn’t imagine myself living there.

“I don’t think so. No, I couldn’t live here. Think of somewhere else.”

Thank God the skyline of Indianapolis came into view. Mr. D threw the real estate guide into the back seat where it lay until just now, when I took it out to throw it away.

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7 Responses

  1. You could probably afford a house in my neighborhood, which is very nice… but I like you too much to say “Move to SC.” I mean, there’s stuff you just don’t ask a friend to do.

  2. I, too, hate the ‘food’ choices in roadside garages. Limp sandwiches with suspiciously indeterminate fillings and fizzy drinks coloured like the Las Vegas strip. Yuk. Even the apples in those places are bright green, covered in wax and taste like shampoo.

  3. Next time, make “mid way” some place interesting and one where you’d actually want to live!

  4. Think Texas, dear girl! We have it all, and the houses right now are going for a song.

  5. You really don’t want to live somewhere where your anniversary dinner is at McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, or Arby’s.

  6. As I’ve said many times, I’d rather be a homeless bum on the beach. Indiana? Eww…

  7. My ex was from Indiana…and yes, I’ve been there…and yes, it’s as awful as you say it is! Anytime he’d say, “We’re raising our kids in Indiana”, I’d throw up a little in my mouth…lord help me, I just couldn’t contain it! Thank goodness I never have to go back there!

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