So, the thing about Indiana is that it’s pretty much exactly the same as Ohio, except where Ohio is an unassuming swing state with plenty of metropolises to balance out its fair share of rednecks and hill folk, Indiana is blatantly red and mostly consists of sprawling corn fields, its only significant urban area being Indianapolis.
When you first enter Indiana on I-70 from Ohio, the very first thing you see is a sequence of abrasive billboards spouting off fire and brimstone bullshit in peeling, faded letters. Interspersed with the proclamations that “JESUS SAVES” and “HELL HAS NO EXITS” are advertisements for the unfortunately named Tom Raper RVs, and at the very end of ugly billboard purgatory is one final sign that combines religion and Raper RVs, causing you to wonder, “who IS Tom Raper and how crazy IS this motherfucker?”
Just past the Ohio-Indiana border is a huge fireworks store punctuated with the most gigantic cross I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s so Red State that it’s ridiculous- as if the Raper-religion signs weren’t enough, the first solid thirty minutes that you’re in Indiana is depressingly barren aside from these odd, slightly ominous landmarks.
I did not take that picture, by the way- I stole it from some guy on Flickr. It was the only decent picture I could find on the internet, because apparently the Indiana cross is vastly overshadowed by an even more enormous one that’s also on I-70 in Illinois.
Based on a first impression, Indiana seems much more overtly Christian than Ohio, but the funny thing about the red religiousness of the state is that, in Indianapolis anyway, there seem to be a lot of people rebelling against this norm. This city is FULL of hippies. Obviously with hip Broad Ripple being a centerpiece of the city and tons of students from Butler and Indiana University running around, it’s inevitable that you’re going to run into plenty of bums and hipsters. But even outside of the student-heavy areas and the parameters of Broad Ripple, it seems like there are just a lot of freakin’ hippies. And that’s okay with me.
Other things that I’ve noticed that make Indiana slightly different than Ohio: you can smoke in bars, you can’t buy cold beer at gas stations, and you’re frowned upon (honked at) for being a passive driver. Traffic in Indianapolis is weird. It’s subtly different than it is in Columbus or in any other Ohio city I’ve been in, different in a way I can’t quite put my finger on other than to say that Indy drivers are assholes.
You know how when you’re turning left at a traffic light, it’s forgivable for one or MAYBE two cars to go on through after the light turns red, you know, because they were already half into the intersection while they waited for the clear to turn left across oncoming traffic? Well, in Indy, instead of one person making a break through the freshly red light, there are always AT LEAST three cars that blatantly barrel through, even when there’s no argument about the light being orange. I’ve only been here a month and I’ve already lost count of the number of times I’ve almost seen accidents happen at large intersections because of dicks going through a red light when it is unarguably no longer their turn. Red means stop, people. Traffic lights are there for a reason.
Smoking in bars is a whole other issue that I might touch on at another time, but for now I’ll just say that I like Indy so far, despite my blossoming road rage and ongoing struggle to give up cigarettes.
Can I just say though, who the hell cares that Indiana is Lincoln’s Boyhood Home? What a weak ass tagline.