Thursday, October 1, 2009

South Bend, Indiana

These towns I've never heard of keep popping up on my schedule.  When someone asks me where I'm going and I tell them, if it's a man, they immediately point out that a big university is there.  Last time it was Texas Tech.  This time, it's Notre Dame.  I didn't even know it was in Indiana.  Which, at least I knew where Indiana was, unlike one of my dearest friends : P  (love you!!).

The town is much like any suburb would be.  Complete with a Panera Bread (mmmm creamy tomato soup and asiago bread....), Red Robin, Red Lobster, Carrabbas, Houlihans, Old Navy, Borders, etc etc etc within 1/2 mile of the hotel.  These eateries were as far as I had ventured in the town.  Until today.

I'm working the overnight shift, and so, after staying up until 7:30 am, I slept in until the sun peeked in my room at 1 pm.  After a delicious lunch at Panera (no surprise there), I decided I wanted to go to Target.  Now.  There was a dilemma.  Target is 2 miles away.  Walmart is 1 mile away.  Obviously Walmart is the better more convenient choice.  Obviously I went to Target.  The hotel shuttle could've taken me, but this dear sister of mine gave me assignments to aid me on the road to self improvement, and one of these tasks is to exercise at least 30 minutes a day.  A 4 mile walk (even if interrupted with some mild shopping addict behavior and Starbucks drinkage) would definitely satisfy that.  Convinced that it was my destiny to begin this adventure, I put on my sweatshirt and new Nikes and braced myself against the fall wind.  (It actually was a beautiful day for a stroll...)

The US is, on the whole, unfriendly to the idea of being a pedestrian.  South Bend, Indiana, is downright discriminatory against pedestrians.  Not only are there no sidewalks or shoulders on the road, but no walking signals on the traffic lights.  I definitely almost got run over more than once and was gawked at by all drivers.  As the ONLY pedestrian on the road today, I felt a little alien, but I had my sights set on Target, so I kept on truckin.

Pretty soon, I felt like Buddy the Elf on his adventure to NYC.  "First I walked through the vast squishy fields of grass.  Then I passed by all the chain restaurants in the world!  Then I ventured through Horny Honkers' Hollow (apparently jeans and a sweatshirt creates a look rival to that of the red carpet or hookers on street corners).  THEN I crossed over the Bridge of Death (think busy overpass with no sidewalks...).  Then, just as Super Target was in sight, I came across the scariest obstacle of all: giant locusts!" Grasshoppers the size of my finger EVERYWHERE.  With every step I took, I displaced at least 5 grasshoppers who would jump up as high as my waist.  I've never been creeped out by these bugs, but they were SO huge, and they ran into my hands when they jumped, it's like they were doing it on purpose  (I'm starting to understand Moses better).  Then to top it all off, the crickets the size of silver dollars joined.  Yuck yuck yuck.

Finally I reached my destination.  Have I mentioned how much I love Target?  It's such a comfort in times of need and despair.  When I was done shopping and sipping at my Pumpkin Spice Latte, my zen level had returned and my nerves were calm : I was prepared to venture back to the hotel now armed with the experience of the route.  I knew what to expect, and I rocked it in reverse.


  1. that entry made me laugh out loud, miss Buddy the Elf, I can picture your adventure in my head.

    Just a side note...the exercise challenge is NOT to be death defying...ok? =)

  2. Before purchasing my car, I walked from the bus stop at Rosedale to the WRC. Roseville is the land of sidewalks that end unexpectedly, dumping you into traffic. No Bridge of Death, alas, but I feel you about the lack of pedestrian friendly situations in this country.

  3. i HATE walking through grasshoppers!! my sister-in-law and i were on a walk by our house and there is what i call a nature preserve (actually a pond that is pretty dried up now and some weeds) that we walked by and all of a sudden they were EVERYWHERE! we crossed into the street and walked in the center median. we have since changed our route!

    p.s. i love elf :-)

  4. Steph.. there is a Chick-Fil-A in South Bend. It's not even far from Campus. Go!

  5. Chase - I saw the Chick-Fil-A as well as a gas station named McClure. I believe you belong here.

    Jaclyn - I'm glad you feel my pain. It's an odd freaky experience.

    Wendy - Let's move to London.

  6. Obviously you went to target.

    I think the creep-factor about grasshoppers is those long skeleton legs. PLUS those hidden wings they have - you never know what direction they are going to fling themselves.

    Don't move to London.

  7. P.S. Who didn't know where Indiana was? What a moron.

  8. Okay - this was great. As a true HOOSIER (does anyone know what that means?!), I appreciate this very much!!

    And - are you sure they were grasshoppers? They were probably crickets. BIG difference, if you know what I mean!!

    Oh! One more point - no one knows how to treat pedestrians in Indiana, because no one walks in Indiana!!

    HAVE FUN!!