Helping The Community

Certain social media sites are so lame with their overreaching analytics. A suggestion popped up on my feed last week, noting I had checked in at the Indiana State Line on December 26, 2014. I did. Mostly just to let interested friends and family members know of our progress as we traveled home from Pennsylvania on a Christmas road trip. Facebook wants me to “Help the Community by Writing a Review.”

A review of my trip to (it was more like over) the Indiana State Line? Seriously. I noticed there are no current reviews of the Indiana State Line, and actually only 6 other people have even checked in. What would that review even look like? I wonder…

Rhoda T.

Sad to say that the Indiana State Line just doesn’t measure up to the other State Lines in the area. The trees were way less scenic than in Pennsylvania. The roads barely felt paved.

Zena H.
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Ended up here because the queue at the Michigan State Line was ridiculously long. Indiana has the same rating yet there was no queue. We were sceptical at first but it was not bad. Pleasant overpasses. Signage there when needed but not overwhelming. You pay about 10 dollars more in tolls for Ohio, so this was overall a decent place with pleasant experience.

Vincent L.
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If you have a predilection for Midwestern State Lines like me, look no further than the Indiana State Line. I come here weekly on business and only really ever stay on the Interstate – comprised of a fine gray Valero asphalt, sometimes topped with a delicate dusting of snowfall, four lanes for just the right amount of comoditá (comfort). So wonderful! There’s nothing quite like rolling into the Petro in Richmond after you’ve finished your amazing crossing. I haven’t been stopped yet, but the speed limit will be the death of me.

My only gripe would be that it is an expensive State Line. Current tolls are over $12.

Kalee J.
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Where do I begin? Shall I start with the bumper to bumper traffic because of a trooper pulling over a pick-up on the side of the road? Or maybe the painfully awkward billboards advertising Tom Raper RV? Um, hello? Trigger warnings please. There are a lot of people that that could effect them very much seeing that. There is no craft or thought put into this State Line. Extremely mediocre for the prices, they don’t even have a median, just a slab of cement so youd be better off going to the gross county line a few miles away.

My main issue here is that they’re sign out front is extremely misleading. It led my party to believe that Indiana was the “Crossroads of America,” which was the main reason we decided to go here in the first place. Turns out when we got into Indiana there were no other American states at all, just Indiana. Not what we expected. UMMMMM… try again.

The manager at the visitor center was extremely rude and uncooperative when we raised our concern. It was clearly a miscommunication on both of our parts. The advertisement/sign was so unclear, but we could have asked more questions to clarify. However, she wasn’t about to budge on the toll. Until we made it perfectly clear that we weren’t about to pay for something we didn’t sign up for, at which point she gave us some coupons for free coffee. Atta girl. She didn’t want us getting ratchet up in her state. And believe me, we were on the verge. Her sarcastic and condesending mannerisms were completely off-putting.

PLEASE SAVE YOURSELF FROM THIS DEVASTATING ATROCITY.

Kevin L.

so disappointed as a resident of evansville. two bad state lines on both sides, and i dont know which is worse, kentucky or indiana. at least indiana has good gas stations but theyre not very close to the interstate! thats THE ONLY good thing about indiana.. is the gas stations… lets move on from there…

the scenery was some of the worst I have ever seen… the place was DIRTY…I.E. your first clue… you dont want to know whats going on back off the road. the litter, roadkill, piled up snow, fencing… all dirty …

went for a “road trip” i suppose… they give you this idea that its some kind of destination.. oh my god, one look and we all turned around.. and went back.. didn’t even want to be in the state.. raining the whole time … wow.. this was beyond BAD…

a friend got the map which was DROWNING in red stateness, couldn’t even finish looking at it.

and the whole time all we wanted was to look around, and we couldn’t even see anything until we were almost done and ready to leave… the visibility was INCREDIBLY bad…

NEVER go here. save your time and money.

it’s awful, there’s no good state lines to go to around evansville 😦 if someone can prove me wrong, please do. but in the mean time, someone needs to save evansville from bad trips.

Jessalyn R.
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My boyfriend took me here for my birthday, and I was very impressed. I rode in the passenger side, and it was soooo good! I got to see the viaduct and the welcome signs! Their “visitor information center” is wonderful as well!

Ada K.
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This place was recommended to me by 2 of my friends from Baltimore, where we are from.

I haven’t been to Indiana in awhile, so it was nice to have a place that was given the thumbs up in advance, as well as all of the wonderful reviews on social media.

I have now been twice to the Indiana State Line, and each time was fantastic. The first trip, for a Black Crowes concert. Perfection! The second trip, to see a specialist in Indianapolis for my strabismus. Awesome! My husband drove both times as I couldn’t resist seeing everything again. It wasn’t too crowded, so you could probably end up driving in at 7pm on a Saturday night with no problem, but we always check the GPS just in case. We will be back!

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2015

Did Someone Have A Bowl Of Stupid For Breakfast?

Believe it or not, I used to be a very walled off and private person. I still am pretty guarded with anything but the superficial. When Facebook came along I had a lot of fun with it, reconnecting with old friends, family I don’t often have the opportunity to see. I still like it, it’s a great way to stay connected when you have friends and family strewn out all over the place. Until today I’d never really been part of its evil underbelly, mostly because I steer clear of debate or controversial topics.

I find it has a lot of teachable moments for my 12-year-old. When he first got an account he once openly said derogatory things about a specific person. I immediately made him delete it. It’s one thing to get into an argument with someone on-line, quite another to start slandering them. So in addition to avoiding spam and hoaxes, we’ve had some good conversations about what is and isn’t appropriate to post.

Unfortunately this lesson has yet to resonate with some adult Facebook users. Yesterday I found myself reading a very uncomfortable thread where several people were bashing a school official who is on a medical leave, by name, blindly speculating about his family and health status, criticizing his job performance, and delighting in kicking someone whose disposition is entirely unknown. I thought it was pretty bush league, and even though it was all going down on someone else’s page, I decided to chime in with my two cents, which was, have some empathy, show some respect, and don’t have such a catty discussion in view of 500 people. I went as far to say that parents expect kids to be accountable for bullying behavior, and that it’s not difficult to see how it starts.

Wow. Did I ever strike a nerve.

Within an hour, replies poured in. People I’ve never met started hurling third-grade insults at me.

High and Mighty Jennifer.
Miss Pissy Pants.
This idiot would have made a great Nazi.
Shut the hell up.
Did someone have a bowl of stupid for breakfast?
Up on her soap box.

I didn’t reply further. You can’t make a point with someone whose best intellectual contribution was to play the Nazi card. That’s pretty much the bellweather of an irrational argument.

But what I did learn from their continued conversation was enlightening. See if you can follow this logic.

  • When limited information is provided, wild and open speculation is justified.
  • Parents are entitled to the “truth,” even if that is federally protected private information.
  • Because someone doesn’t live up to our expectations, it’s okay to not give a flying fuck if he has a problem.
  • It’s called freedom of speech. (That one killed me. I never said they didn’t have the right to say these things, just that maybe they should think about whether they should be saying them. Yes, I have the right to stand up in the middle of a graduation ceremony and call the superintendent an ignorant douchebag. But would anyone other than a sociopath consider that a proper forum for such an indictment?)
  • It’s not bullying if the person you’re tearing down doesn’t see what people are saying about him.

Ooooooh. Kaaaay. You stay classy, ladies.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012

Twist And Shout

Pam’s ankle. I don’t have photographic evidence of my injury. No camera phones in those days.

One of the things that I love about Facebook is that if someone who was in your fifth grade class a few (ahem) years back goes into a clothing store to return a few things, twists her ankle, runs head-first into a jeans display, and knocks over two torso mannequins and a large pile of jeans, the next day I get to see her post with a picture of the aftermath, along with the full story. And then join her other friends in offering both sympathy and mockery.

I do hope Pam is recuperating nicely. At least she’s being a good sport about it. I do kind of wish she had some video of it, though. I wonder if it was caught on any security cameras. Ankle injuries are a bitch. In high school, my brother slid into third base and badly sprained his ankle, and usually all it took was a little alcohol and some stupidity for him to reaggravate it.

Until she got home and took off her boot, Pam didn’t realize how swollen hers was. I know how that works.

One summer in college, a group of friends and I were Friday night regulars at a bar called Charlie’s. It wasn’t in the heart of Aggieville, the main party place in Manhattan, Kansas, but adjacent to campus on kind of a quiet corner. The usual crowd was my roommate, Terri, and our friends Tina, Joe, Yui, and some other people I can’t remember. We met Tina because Terri didn’t like her and threatened to rip her head off one night. (Terri was about 5’3″ and 100 pounds.) Joe, an architecture student recently retired from the Navy, was old and wise at age 24, and smoothed things over between them, and Tina became part of our crowd. Yui was Joe’s roommate from Japan. Joe called him “Dave” because he couldn’t pronounce his full name. In retrospect, that may have been somewhat inappropriate.

One Friday night we were having a lot of fun. Later in the night I was dancing with someone. The dance floor was raised, which isn’t a particularly good idea. Thinking about it, I wonder if it’s too late to sue? Anyway, when you’ve had a drink or two, and it’s dark, and you forget that you have to step DOWN to get off the dance floor, you can do quite a number on your ankle. I recall that it hurt, but I don’t think I realized how much. I had a little alcohol-induced anesthetic going on.

After I sat down at our table it started to throb. I think someone made the decision that I needed to go home. I don’t know how I got out to the car. I don’t think I could walk. I do know that Yui drove me home because he asked an awkward question about whether “nationality” mattered to me when it came to dating someone. I don’t remember what I said. I do know that I woke up with a wicked hangover and my ankle was swollen to twice its normal size and varying colors of black, blue and green. It was grotesque.

I was scheduled to work the afternoon shift as a hostess at Bonanza, one of those family style steak joints with a massive salad bar. I hated that job, but had never called in sick before. But seeing as I couldn’t walk, I had no choice. I know I was on crutches for a few days, though I can’t remember how I acquired them. I think I skipped the dance floor the next weekend.

Charlie’s has the distinction of being the only bar I’ve ever been both carried out of and thrown out of. The latter happened a couple of years later in drunken episode fueled by pre-partying with cheap rum. All I did was lay down on a table. The spaz of a bartender acted as if I was passed out or something. I was just tired.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012

Drawing A Blank

I seriously have nothing tonight. A completely empty brain. I actually have a couple of things, but it would take me more than the two minutes I feel like spending on writing this evening to get it all down and refine it to a point where it would be coherent. So right now I guess I’m content to just ramble.

David has a baseball tournament on the other side of the Twin Cities tomorrow morning. An 8:00 game. That’s a.m. He needs to be there at 7:15. With a 45 minute drive, that means leaving at 6:45. Fighting to get everyone dressed and a cooler packed, means I have to get up at 5:45. That’s not what I want to do on a Saturday morning.

But the good news is, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some stuff to throw into the cooler so we could save on concessions and eating out this weekend. $ 94.05 later I’m thinking the decision was definitely the right one. I mean, for $ 94.05 I could have only bought like 31 hot dog combos at the concession stand.

Where’s that Sarcasm True Type font when I need it?

Also there is a debate brewing on my Facebook page about roundabouts. I asserted that they are, quote, “stupid,” and have some support. My friend, who is a traffic planner, says she often recommends them. So if I find out she was behind one of them that I have to drive through, I know where she lives and I will hunt her down.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011

Nanu Nanu

When my mom “friended” me on Facebook, I thought, “Really?”

I thought she might cramp my style a little and I’d have to tone it down a bit, but she pretty much just lurked in the shadows and didn’t do anything to embarrass me or anything. Then my dad suddenly started popping up on my mom’s account, commenting on posts with the tag, “Dad” or “Papa.” That went on for a bit, and became sort of a running joke between my sister and me.

We implored him to get his own account instead of piggybacking on Mom’s all the time. We just really didn’t think that through. A perfect storm happened when my brother-in-law took matters into his own hands and set up Brian Windholz with an account of his own, listing his interests as “Naps, Swearing, and Bacon.” At the same time, it was February in Kansas so golf was off the table, and my mom went out of town for a week and left him on his own with the dog.

Soon he was popping up on Facebook Chat to tell me what he had for dinner, what the dog was doing, that he had a chat going with my mom or my aunt at the same time. Then suddenly he was friends with my friends, including my neighbor, my priest, a co-worker from college. And he’d ask questions like, “How do you know Dana Hale?” And I’d be all, “No, the question is, how do YOU know Dana Hale and why are you bothering her?”

He started taking offense to people popping off Chat as soon as he showed up, thinking they were avoiding him. He didn’t get that most of the time I’m in and out of Facebook on my phone, or have it up in the background when I’m doing something else. I’m too much of a multi-tasker to just sit and watch what goes by on Facebook all the time. Typically I’m editing photos, writing, sometimes watching TV, sometimes reading, sometimes not even in the same room. In most cases if I happened to log off when he came on, it was pure coincidence.

Finally I think my mom told him to step off, and some normalcy returned. But stuff Dad throws out there is always a source of amusement. One of my favorite chats was the following that took place on Thanksgiving night, 9:37 pm.

Brian:  teri , sgurke—-==00099 ti tii tii too an nabmany
Jennifer:  huh?
Brian:  lock up
Jennifer:  What?
Brian:  shirley teri & rian just went to old navy to shop
Jennifer:  now? lol  Justin’s beating on his bed with a drumstick, so that’s fun.
Brian:  yep  this fucking lap to p doesn;’t work half the time
Jennifer:  lmao, mom’s?
Brian:  yes
Jennifer:  I need to get crazy Alex to bed. I’ll catch you guys in the morning.
Brian:  have to clsoe ckise l[[ close chat ^ reebter reeber ti reenter ti ti to naje maje na l make it work
Jennifer:  Ok, good talking Martian with you tonight.

There is just so much in that short exchange that is mind-boggling. From the first gibberish sentence out of the gate, and then the second post, which said only, “Lock up,” and was not followed up immediately with a response. Lock up? What did that mean? Had the zombie apocalypse started and he’d jumped onto the laptop to try to warn me? Did the aliens who were abducting him freeze his fingers in place, thus preventing him from typing a coherent sentence?

The next thing that struck me as downright hilarious, especially if you know my dad, is that the word that came through most loudly and clearly was “fucking.” Right there it was, amidst the rest of the Martian text. As my brother-in-law put it, “That really is sweet.”

Ah, Facebook, ye art a fun ride.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011