Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Indiana Dispatch - June Fourth To June Fifteenth - A Final Roundup"

Over the past decade or so, we have had the good fortune of vacationing in London, Paris, New York City and Rome.  These I would categorize as my “go-go” vacations, where we are constantly on the move.  Which does not mean rushing around, making sure I touch all the touristical bases, for fear of returning home and being asked “Did you visit the “Flying Fish Estuary” and being compelled to say “No.”   

A “go-go” vacation is any trip where I do not spend the majority of my time sitting in a chair. 

That’s the other kind of vacation, the kind I take substantially more often.  Which could mean I enjoy them more, or that I am congenitally lazy.  What I think it means is that, temperamentally, I am naturally drawn to places – Michiana, Hawaii, that fitness spa that I go in Mexico – where I can escape the hubbub and quiet my mind.  And my ubiquitous anxieties. 

These oases of calmness are my idea of heaven on earth – tranquil, unthreatening, and undemanding.  Our course I may have a mistaken idea about heaven, and it turns that participation in various co-operative team sports there is mandatory.

I seriously covet these occasional respites from complication, where, well… while breakfasting one morning at “Michigan Thyme”, I requested the blueberry pancakes.  The waitress asked if I wanted whipped cream with my pancakes, I said “Yes”, and she emphatically replied, “Good!

In Michiana, I am a hero just for ordering whipped cream on my pancakes.

During Dr. M’s “Convention Time” in Chicago, I was alone.  And driving.  (Since she is by far the superior driver, when Dr. M is around, I am strictly a passenger.  Dr. M prefers it that way.  And so – though they do not realize it – do all other drivers on the road.)

I decided to see a movie.  The Dunes Plaza Michigan City multiplex, a half an hour away, requires me to traverse three highways – Highway 12, Highway 212 and Highway 421.  At home, it is rare for me traverse one highway.  And here I am, traveling three of them to get to the movies. 

Do not think my heart was not pounding.  I had to turn up the radio not to hear it.

I had chosen to see A Million Ways To Die In The West.  My intrepid self-chauffering suggested a million and first way – getting into a car accident on the way to the movie.  After seeing it, I was less than certain it was worth the risk.  And I still had to drive home.

In contrast to movie theaters in Los Angeles – and, I imagine, many other places as well – adjacent to the Dunes Plaza Michigan City there is a natural duck pond, surrounded by tall bull rushes.  It looked like the kind of place baby Moses might have parked his basket when he was taken to the movies. 

Having arrived early, I ambled over to the pond to commune with the wildlife.

Disappointingly, there were no ducks to be seen.  What there were, however, were swarms of flying insects who, rather than buzzing or humming, projected a sound reminiscent of the collective thrumming of bowstrings.

“Thrmmmmm!  Thrmmmmm!”

is a reasonable reproduction of their noises on paper.

It occurred to me that these squadrons of archery-reminding insects may have earlier eaten all the ducks.  Concerned that they might display an equal appetite for people – FLYING INSECT:  “They taste a lot like duck.” – I beat a strategic retreat for the movie theater.

The “driving-to-the-movies” and the “bizarre insect” stories proving that just because places are quiet does not mean they are incapable of delivering thrill-packed adventures.

Things I noticed along the way…

Taking a post-breakfast stroll through the residential area of New Buffalo, I passed a woman pushing a lawn mover.  Immediately next door, I passed a man riding a lawn mower.
How can you tell that a community runs at an easygoing pace?  I was informed that the morning newspaper of record, the Michigan City News Dispatch is dropped off at the news outlets somewhere between nine-thirty and twelve.  (“Later than that and it’s an afternoon newspaper!”  He chomps down on a cigar and wiggles his eyebrows.)
Speaking of newspapers, the Michigan City News Dispatch’s “Obituary Page” is laid out such that the prominent italicized headlines indicate the appropriate birth and death dates of the deceased.  This allows the reader – well, some readers – to take a quick surveying glance at this information and go,

“Older than me.”  “Older than me.”  “Younger than me.”  “Oh my God!  We’re the same age!”
Throughout the trip I wore a colorful insect-repelling wristband, whose manufacturer’s name etched conspicuously into its surface was “mosquitno.”

There are three explanations for why we were not bothered by moquitoes:  It was too early in the season.  The company’s product actually worked.  Or mosquitoes are unable to bite people when they are laughing hysterically.


And finally…

A single sampling from the daily Michigan City Police Report:

“Police responded to Lighthouse Place {the outlet mall} for a report of unattended children left in a vehicle.  The children, ages 9, 5 and 10 months were left in the car while their mother shopped for a bathing suit.”

Dangerous behavior, the report is telling us.

And for a bathing suit.

There is for me a visceral pleasure visiting a simpler locale.  It is unlikely I could live there full-time.  But periodically, I long for a leisurely terrain, free from the Big City jungle and jangle.         

Our little log cabin may be geographically far away.

But it is embedded permanently….

Right in here.


1 comment:

john brown said...

I was in Clinton, Oklahoma years ago. The local paper had a story about tightening security at the local courthouse. It involved locking a side door. The writer quoted a spokesperson who said, "It's alright. No one uses it anyway."