I was back in my home state for the first time in 11 years this past weekend.  Indianapolis wasn’t half-bad, although I had a moment’s pause when I walked into the hotel and “Hotel California” was playing.  Indy is a nice place to visit, but I’d like to leave sometime.  My 18th-storey hotel room looked out over the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, so I had a great view.  In between work, I found a fantastic chocolate cafe, went on the Canal Walk, found Indy Reads Books, walked past the Eiteljorg and a slew of other museums, wandered around the Indiana War Memorial and a slew of other monuments, explored the Indianapolis library, and generally saw as much of the city as was possible on foot.

When we lived in Indiana, I only visited Indianapolis rarely, but I don’t recall the city having so many homeless as it does now.  Admittedly, I do have a spectacular talent for finding the rougher parts of town–drop me in the downtown area of any major city and I will manage to innocently wander into the sketchiest neighborhood within 15 minutes–but most of my homeless encounters were close to the fancy hotels and businesses.  I can only say no to requests once or twice without feeling guilty and caving, and I think word got around that the chick with the long hair was good for a couple dollars because I have never been asked so many times.  One gentleman named Mike asked me to buy him some food, so I was very happy to accommodate.  We sat together and talked for quite a while, and he told me all about his plans to get back on his feet.  As I was getting up to go, thinking rather well of myself for being such a good Samaritan, I managed to trip embarrassingly over a wet floor sign.  It seemed like such a blatantly Providential warning to get off my high horse that I couldn’t help but laugh, and so did Mike, which was really the perfect ending to the encounter.  I hope everything works out for him.

The trip was a little too good for my ego; I was whistled at twice and beeped at three times in my perambulations, neither of which has happened in a while.  Must’ve recognized me as an Indiana girl.

When I got home, I read that Cary, NC has the lowest crime rate in the entire US, so evidently all the crime in the town is happening at my apartment complex.

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Speaking of reading, I read Pudd’n’head Wilson by Mark Twain on the way to Indianapolis.  I don’t know what I was expecting–nothing specifically, I guess, since I didn’t know anything about the storyline–but I was surprised anyway.  While funny in parts and a detective story in parts, in the main it’s just tragic.  The novel paints racism in a negative light at the same time that it reinforces some aspects.  I was left thoughtful and slightly uncomfortable, which was probably Twain’s intent.

Right now I’m reading The Bride of Innisfallen and Other Stories by Eudora Welty.  I didn’t think I’d read the title story (I don’t remember doing so, anyway), but I think I must have, because I remembered a line word for word.  A woman is carrying a baby past a train window: “It was a red-haired boy with queenly jowls, squinting in at the world as if to say, ‘Will what has just been said be very kindly repeated?’ ”  I love Welty’s talent for description such as that.  In terms of plot, some of the stories are a little lackluster, but it doesn’t even really matter too much when you have such images.

I’m also working on a book written by an acquaintance, but unfortunately I can’t own up to ever reading it anywhere.  Yep, it’s that bad.  I feel obligated to finish it, at this point, but I’m going to need some Bradbury or something to wash the taste out of my mouth afterwards.

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