Friday, June 24, 2016

Exit 9





     I could not get a photograph of the highway signs in Indiana. Which is too bad. Because while I can describe them, no words can capture the mournful feeling, almost a shock, of seeing these worn blue signs, half the letters fallen away, saying, you finally figure out, "EXIT 9." 
     I'll try to get pictures on the way back.
     Yes, we've heard the cliche "crumbling infrastructure" for years. Yes, Indiana is a little slice of the Southland right here in the Midwest. Yes, they privatized their tollway in 2006, selling it to a company that promptly went bankrupt. 
    Still, to see the decaying signs. Seeing an illegible highway sign in America—it's unnerving, like passing Elkhart and noticing an exit for Kinshasa. 
    It shouldn't be like this. Not here. The weeds growing taller than the guardrails. The hastily patched roads. The shift to Ohio was dramatic—thank you fracking.
      I think all Americans can agree we want to have good roads. Without them, we can't get around, can't do business, and can't look at ourselves in the mirror. Even Donald Trump spoke of the importance of fixing our roads and bridges Tuesday—though in typical fashion, got the solution wrong, our only hope for improvement, he claimed, being to elect him and "only" him.
    Trump even running is a sign that America has gone into the ditch. That "Exit 9" sign is another. I'll never forget the surprise, the puzzled disappointment. 

12 comments:

  1. My husband told me he was driving in Indiana and some street signs were so faded he couldn't read them. It is hard to believe when you're not used to seeing it.

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  2. indiana. never a favorite place . still . they have a budget SURPLUS and over 2 billion in reserves , and their bond rating is not below junk. illinois roads and bridges are falling apart and we can't afford to fix them. thank you fracking? surely you jest

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    1. Indiana has been the butt of jokes since before it was a state. When the great migration west began, Northern Indiana was mainly wetland and swamp so settlers marveled at the awful conditions for a homestead, and keep on moving until they hit the prairies and woodlands of Illinois. The few who settled in Northern Indiana were mocked by those who keep on moving. Damp lowlands were considered awful for one's health. At some point they drained the wetlands, straightened the waterways into ditches and now communities litter the northern Indiana landscape - but the good people of Indiana still have to deal with being mocked by Chicagoans. The quality of a settler who would choose to live in a damp unhealthy place may be reflected in the descendants who started the KKK and continue to operate the state like the flat earth society.

      And something tells me that Mr. Steinberg, a fairly devoted liberal, was joking about the fracking.

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    2. Of course he was jesting. That's a large part of the job. But a brief look at "Ohio Fracking" on the internet brings a number of laudatory articles about the wonderful benefits of "shale oil recover," including some 250,000 jobs, but also shown prominently are articles that blame fracking for the increase in earthquakes in the State. So Ohio roads may be better than Indiana's (and of course Illinois'), but you'd better keep your eye on the road -- it might blow up right in front of you.

      john

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  3. I live in Laporte County and everything is fine. Indiana isn't in ruin. A lot of signs were just torn down during the storms. They'll be back up soon. It happens.

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  4. Your "slice of the Southland" is better managed and in much better fiscal shape than is Illinois under the oh-so-enlightened Democrats.

    Seen in River Forest, Division Street: Electric sign saying, "Road Construction Begins 7/5 Pending State Budget."

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  5. Bet the signs for Fireworks and cheap cigarettes are legible!

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  6. Couldn't help thinking of "Brexit" when I saw your headline "Exit 9". I admit I never thought the vote would go that way.

    SandyK

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  7. I don't get the arrogance of IL people who live near Chicago, like Neal, toward Indiana. Sure some of the roads need repair, much like IL, but at least the state has a budget, and the economy is not a huge disaster like IL. Its a decent place to live, and I'm 25 miles from the Loop, which I suspect is closer than Neal.

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    1. @Tom -- Northbrook is also about 25 miles from the loop. But you can't seriously compare what Indiana offers to what Illinois offers as a whole. Though I personally have nothing against Indiana, since I don't have to live there :) And btw, our blog host's name is "Neil".

      SandyK

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    2. Sandy, Not to get caught up in some juvenile "who's state is the best," but I've lived in both states and really don't get the smugness of IL people. Other than Chicago, what exactly does IL "offer as a whole" that's superior to IN? And begging "Neil's" pardon, I loved his last book, You were never in Chicago.

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    3. Tom, I guess by "as a whole" I meant "the state which includes Chicago". Downstate Illinois is another story....

      Didn't mean to be snarky about the proper spelling of "Neil"; it's not my place to point out those things.

      SandyK

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