6:30 a.m. - May 17, 2005
Maybe it’s a little better now, but when I moved to Indianapolis in 1991, it just wasn’t happening here for me. I may have contributed to that, a bit, by being out of the ordinary (normally not a crime, but semi-audacious nonconformity around 15,000 people makes you stand out big time), being a bit too smart and cynical, and too much of a friend to the fairer sex instead of, well, one of THOSE guys. Well, you know, I had an earring in 1991.
(My gosh! You should have seen the looks when I got my tattoo and cut my hair real short in 1992, but I was safely out of town then!)
Back then, Moose and I seemed to demonstrate an uncanny ability to become great friends with girls whose current or past boyfriends treated them like garbage, and they told us all about it, so all we could do was to give them hugs and tell them that not every man is like that, when secretly all we wanted to do was take them out for dinner, drinks, and well, other things. But we couldn’t, because then WE’D be men like that. We each had two members of a softball team that we fell in with, simultaneously, into that pattern.
Of course, it didn’t help matters in romance around here that I was always a bit, well, geeky. I was seemingly intelligent, hyper, talkative, loud, opinionated, and not exactly graceful on the dance floor. So I didn’t fit with the center-parting mouth-breathers with baby moustaches that all seemed to dress alike, look alike, like the same things, and just basically gave me a Stepford-Redneck vibe as they plied the women at the Holiday Inn lounge with drinks before asking them to do the Electric Slide.
Then I moved, and the scene got a little better for me. (Well, it couldn’t get much worse, AND I did meet the wife in Indianapolis, so it’s all good, right dear? Right?). I do remember the look of shock and awe that one of my old female nemeses (I wasn’t good enough for her, even though I was a lot better than whatever pond scum she was dating at the time) gave me once when entered the Silver Dollar with my girlfriend of the time (who was quite a looker). It was like “You? You are dating her?” Yes, yes I am dating her. I have witnesses! She is kissing me now! Look! See!
That’s all in the past – when you get married, and have kids, that kind of stuff doesn’t matter. Well, it shouldn’t anyway. Right dear?
Recently after we decided on a major life change, we moved back to Crawfordsville from Zionsville. Now I had kept a lot of ties to this community. I continued to write some articles for the local newspaper for about five years, and always came back for events at the College. Then I started working here at the College in 2000. I played softball with my friends for a while, and my family still lives here for the most part. So I still knew a bit of what was going on here. And like it or not, some people around here didn’t forget me.
It also helps that it’s an 8 minute walk to work. My old commute was a 45-minute drive. I’m getting part of my life back. (Although I seem to be using that life watching Pardon the Interruption and Seinfeld, but at least it’s a life!)
Crawfordsville is definitely a place to go where people know your name, or at least recognize you. And boy, do they recognize you.
First of all, it’s the house we bought. We found a very nice, yet very old, house that is located on one of the main streets through town. Many people pass by it every day, and seemingly the whole town knows either us or the previous owners. The multitudes that wend their way to Uncle Smiley’s (Home of the Big Oink) all seem to either honk or wave, which is nice.
And then when you are having some work done around the house (we had some electrical work, some fireplace work and recently a new driveway put in, though the house was in really good shape), it seems like that’s all people mention. “Hey, I saw some people at your house, what are they doing?”
The kicker this past week, when Liz went to the annual meeting of the local League of Women Voters, several people came up and said, “Is your new driveway done yet? How do you like it?” Yes, right now we are the people in the big house on the way to Uncle Smiley’s with the new driveway.
Other things seem very odd to me. I’ve known our new dentist and our new eye doctor for years, and they’re younger than me. It’s weird to know some of the sordid history of the man who has his hands in my mouth putting in a new filling. You know, your dentist was a wise, respected man who may or may not have been the role model for the dentist in Marathon Man, not some punk-ass kid four years younger than you!
And then there are those random meetings with people who you knew from back in the day and you kind of recognize. Of course, if it’s a girl I knew from back in the day, I do a mental inventory, you know, because your ego does need stroking now and then. “How do I look? Has she noticed I have changed? Boy, she still looks the same, or similar enough. Is that a ring on her finger? Wait, I have a ring on my finger, will she notice that? I wonder if she’ll regret not being nicer to me/rejecting me for a date/being cognizant of my mere existence” And the conversation is ALWAYS the same.
Add these optional sentences if she see me with Katie:
“She’s cute. How old is she?”
Then there may be some random dialogue between this person and Katie about how old she is, or that her name begins with K, or the lobsters in the tank at Kroger, or her new Dora shoes. It delays the inevitable “Well, see you later…” line.
The City Mouse and I were talking about this last week. She definitely says she couldn’t live here – she needs to have her anonymity and she can get that in the city. Well, I’ve had that, and you know what, I think I kind of like this better.
Yeah, everyone knows you, or your family, and maybe your business. But it feels like home, and that’s what I was looking for.
(The studio audience lets out an “Awwwwwww!” as the family delves into a group hug, then the credits roll. Next on the Oxygen Network…)