doing god’s work

I have a habit of using my email account as an online notepad. should I be sitting at work and I find online I find amusing, or important, I’ll save it into a draft.
like, for instance, important local news stories:

Zsa Zsa Gabor Morris arrested in Lake County on multiple warrants

this story, I think, captures the essence of northwest Indiana — or at least my skewed interpretation of it:

Zsa Zsa Gabor Morris, 52, of Gary, told Indiana State Police she was a passenger in a Ford F-150 pickup truck that became disabled about 6:45 p.m. Sunday going west on the Borman Expressway near the Cline Avenue exit.

Morris was standing near the road wearing dark clothing and giving peace signs with her hands to oncoming traffic to alert them to the disabled truck when the side mirror of a passing 1999 Chevrolet Malibu struck her in the hip.

Police said she was not injured and refused medical treatment.

turns out she was wanted a county over for driving while intoxicated and failure to appear. so, you’ve got a few things of note here.
first, there’s the headline — written, obviously by some stooge, just like me, that is meant to entice you to click on the link. it works like so: “holy shit! what the hell is Zsa Zsa Gabor doing in Lake County? and why does she have arrest warrants?!”
and then secondly, there’s the story itself — a brief window into someone’s world:
that of a woman who has spent 50-plus years on this earth named after a nine-times-married Hungarian actress and socialite;
who has found herself with a Gary address in this terrible year of our lord, 2011;
and who narrowly cheated death, clipped by a mirror on the roadside of an eight-lane superhighway after her ride broke down;
in northwest Indiana.

I wish I had a photo of 80/94 in northwest Indiana, but I don’t so I’ll try to paint you a picture with words, man:
it is wide, and as it is almost always experienced at about 65 mph, it is loud. it is a major artery in the Interstate system — across the border in Illinois it splits for Iowa and Wisconsin, and farther east it splits for New York and Detroit. as such, it is heavily trafficked, there’s a lot of trucks.
it is overwhelmingly grey, as if the road’s volume, plus the heavy industry all along the lakefront, actually color the landscape. the marshy land in Gary looks like it was brushed with dull silver.
and it is lined with billboard advertisements — for personal injury lawyers, strip clubs, discount fireworks, among other things.
oddly enough, when I fly into Chicago on the way to Valparaiso, I look forward to the drive. it may be slave almost entirely to the whims of traffic congestion, but there is plenty of shit to capture your imagination — in one way or another, for better or for worse — in the 70 miles from airport terminal to home. vast South Chicago — its enclaves and its midways. then depending on your route, the Nation of Islam mosque, the Chicago Skyway, abandoned industry, and casino boat gambling. or a massive landfill, oil refineries, the US Steel yard, Gary city hall, and then past the spaghetti bowl of the 65 terminal, and then off the Interstate and past the landmark, the big cement hobo clown in front of the Vienna Beef stand in Lake Station, and then farther on the town of Wheeler, where mom used to count out loud as we cruised the main drag, past the post office and grain elevator on our way to church: 30 seconds, at 30 miles an hour.
the highway’s character is a testament to the region, to its economy and its demographic, to what it once was and to what it is, and to where it’s going. maybe it’s doomed. maybe not. I’ve got no idea.
it’s a  long way from here. where the grass is always greener, but I love it anyway.

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