Episode 12: Indianapolis and Love at First Sight
Approach. Listener's support W N Y C studios. Hello. And welcome to the anthroposophic reviewed podcast reviewing different facets human centered planet on a five star scale. I'm John green and today will be reviewing my hometown of Indianapolis, and the concept of love at first sight phenomenon that I don't believe in and yet have experienced. Let's begin with the city of Indianapolis. The sixteenth largest city in the US by both population and land area, my wife, Sarah, and I moved here in the summer of two thousand seven we drove a U haul with all our worldly belongings from the corner of eight and Columbus in New York City to the corner of eighty six and ditch road in Indianapolis an incredibly stressful sixteen hour drive when we finally arrived in Indianapolis, we unpacked on our stuff and slept on an air mattress. In our new home. The first place we'd ever owned. We were in our late twenties. And we bought this house a few weeks earlier after spending may be a half hour inside of it. The house had three bedrooms, two and a half, baths and a half finished basement. And our mortgage payment was a third of what our New York rented, Ben. I couldn't get over. How quiet and dark the house? Was that first night? I kept telling Sarah that someone could be standing right outside our bedroom window, and we wouldn't even know, and then Sarah would say, well, but probably not, and I'm just not the sort of person who is effectively comforted by probably's. So several times through the night. I got up from the air mattress. And pressed my face against the glass of the bedroom window expecting to see is staring back at me. But instead finding only darkness. The next morning. I insisted we buy some curtains. But first we had to drop off that you hall at the U haul return place guy handed us some paperwork to fill out and asked us where we were coming from Sarah explained that we'd moved from New York for job at the Indianapolis museum of art. And the guy said he'd been to the museum once as a kid, and then Sarah said, so what do you think of Indianapolis? And then the guy's standing behind the counter at the U homeplace paused for a moment and said, well, you gotta live somewhere. Indianapolis has tried on a lot of models and catch phrases over the years. Indianapolis is raising the game. You put the I in Indy honest to goodness, Indiana. But I'd propose different motto. Indianapolis, you gotta live somewhere. There's no getting around Indianapolis as many imperfections. We are situated on the white river a non navigable waterway, which is endlessly resonant as metaphor, but problematic as geography Furthermore that river is filthy because our aging water treatment system, frequently overflows and dumps raw sewage directly into the river. The city sprawls in every direction, endless, mini, malls and parking lots and nondescript office buildings we don't invest enough in the arts or public transportation. One of our major thoroughfares is named ditch road for God's sakes, ditch road, we could name it anything Kurt Vonnegut, Dr CJ Walker way Rhody MC road face. But we don't we accept ditch. Someone once told me that Indianapolis is among the nation's leading test markets for new restaurant chains because the city is. So thoroughly average indeed it ranks among the top so-called microcosm cities because Indianapolis is more averagely American than almost any other place. We are spectacular in our ordinariness. The city's nicknames include Nath town because it's boring and India, no place. When we first moved here. I would often right in the mornings at my neighborhood. Starbucks at the corner of eighty six ditch, and I would marvel at the fact that all four corners of that intersection contained strip malls. It was all so horrifying to me. Even though I lived less than a half mile from that Starbucks. I had to drive because there were no sidewalks all the land had been given over to cars to sprawl to the flat roof Solis -ness of the American mini mall. I was disgusted by it. Living in a tiny apartment in New York City where we could never quite eradicate the mice. I'd ra- Manta Cise ownership. But now that we actually had house. I hated it. Indianapolis is favorite literary son Kurt Vonnegut wrote that one of the flaws in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. Homeownership was all maintenance there were always window treatments to install and doorknobs to change the water heater kept breaking and most of all there was the lawn. God, I hated mowing the lawn. My next door neighbor came over once while I was mowing and said, you know, when the Kaufmann's lived here, this was the nicest one in the neighborhood. I hated that long. I hated that. I wasn't good at mowing the lawn. And I hated that. I wasn't like the Kaufman's. And I also hated the Kaufman's for being like they were the lawn and the mini malls of Eighty-six ditch became the two poles of my resentment couldn't wait for Sarah to get a job somewhere else. Vanni? Get one said what people like about me is Indianapolis he said that in Indianapolis, of course, to a crowd full of people from Indianapolis, but curtain and get really did hold the city in high esteem toward the end of his life. He answered an interviewer's question by saying I've wondered where home is. And I realized it's not Mars or someplace like that. It's Indianapolis when I was nine years old. I had a brother and sister, a cat and a dog and a mother and father and uncles and aunts. And there's no way I can get there again von against greatest novel slaughterhouse five is about a man who becomes unstuck in time. And how time conspires with consciousness it's about war and trauma. But it's also about not being able to get back to before before the. Firebombing of Dresden before his mother's suicide before his sister's early death. I really do believe that Vonnegut loved Indianapolis. But it's telling that from the time he could choose to live somewhere. He did not choose to live here. Late in that first Indianapolis year, Sarah, and I became friends with our neighbors. Marina and Chris waters. Chris was a former peace corps, volunteer and marina was a human rights lawyer and like us they'd just gotten married and like us they were living in their first home. But unlike us Chris in marina, really loved Indianapolis. We'd often go to together at Smit's a little family owned restaurant in one of the eighty-sixth, ditch mini malls. And I would complain about the lawn care and the lack of sidewalks. And I remember once Chris said to me, you know, this is one of the most economically and racially diverse zip codes in the United States. And I said what? And he said it is you can Google it. I did Google it. And he was right. The median home price near eighty sixth and ditch is two hundred thousand dollars, but there are million dollar houses and eight hundred dollars a month apartments at that corner. There are tie and Chinese and Greek and Mexican restaurants all independently owned. There's a bookstore of Fairtrade gift shop to pharmacies of Bank a Salvation Army and a liquor store named after the constitutional amendment that repealed prohibition. Sit outside of sneeze for an afternoon and you'll hear English and Spanish, Karen and Burmese Russian and talion. The problem was never eighty-sixth ditch which turns out to be a great American intersection. The problem was me, and after Kris called my assumptions into question, I began to think differently about the city of began to see it as a place where big moments in human lives. Take place the climactic scenes in my two most recent novels the fault in our stars. And turtles all the way down both take place at the corner of eighty six ditch. And I think what people like about those books is Indianapolis. As with all the best scifi writers, Kurt Vonnegut was really good at seeing into the future way back in nineteen seventy four he wrote what should young people do with their lives today. Many things obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured that seems to me an even more important and more daring endeavor than it was forty years ago. And when people ask me why I live in Indianapolis when I could live anywhere. That's what I want to tell them. I am trying to create a stable community in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured. And you gotta do that somewhere. When I am sick with the disease of loneliness. Good, weather and shimmering skyscrapers do me. No good whatsoever. As a writer or as a person, I must be home to do the work. I need to do. And. Yes, home is that house where you no longer with home is before and you live in after. But home is also what you were building and maintaining today, and I feel rather lucky in the end to be making my home just off of ditch road. I give Indianapolis four stars. After the break Turner attention to love, but I nearly nine. Nineteen twenties fee, American novelist. William Faulkner worked in the post office and Oxford Mississippi, and he was by all accounts, terrible, postal, service employees. He played cards on the job and wrote combs and possibly drank alcohol. He finally resigned in nineteen twenty four with one of the greatest resignation letters in history. As long as I live under the capitalistic system. He wrote I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of money people, but I will be damned if I propose to be at the Beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp. This sir is my resignation with ZipRecruiter such a terrible employer. Employee match might never have happened some job boards overwhelm you with tons of the wrong resumes. Not smart but ZipRecruiter finds the right people for you. An actively invites them to apply. Smart. Try it for free at ZipRecruiter dot com slash anthro. Once again. That's ZipRecruiter dot com slash anthro. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. Don't hire William Faulkner to be your postmaster now back to the show. If I've learned anything in my life. It's never to argue with linguist there too smart. And also, they never stopped talking. So I want to be careful here not to say that language creates or structures thought. And I also want to be careful not to say that language does not create or structure thought because I have a nice life. And I don't want it to be ruined by linguists. Does love at first sight exist, because we know the phrase or does the phrase exist because we know the experience is a question. I'm too scared of linguists to address as for whether cultural constructs create experiences of it I site. Well, the only people I fear more than linguists are anthropologists. But if we are to review of it first sight, it must be noted that the word love is an unmitigated disaster. I mean, I love reading detective novels, and I also love my children. And yet the feeling of reading detective novel has almost no kinship with the feeling of building Legos with my kids. I love my friends, but not like, I love my wife. There are so many loves and only just the one word in English effect brilliantly expressed in one of the best sentences in Ulysses. Gloves to love love. But when we talk about love it for site. Of course, we're almost always talking about romantic love and the near immediate attraction human sometimes experience. Indeed studies have shown that people make conclusions about attractiveness almost instantaneously in less than a second. But attraction isn't love love. Requires and demands an intimacy you simply cannot achieve within the first few minutes of encountering a new person. Just after her husband died, the novelist. Dawn Powell wrote in her diary, someone asked me about the long marriage to Joe forty two years, and I reflected that he was the only person in the world, I found it always a kick to run into on the street as for his death. This is a curious thing to say, but after forty two years of life together much of it precarious, and crushing we have been through worst disasters together. And I'm sure Joe would feel the same way about me. I think that is true of the kind that not only can survive death. But must you can't love like that in a minute or an hour. And yet, I think it's a mistake to dismiss love at first sight as merely make believe are most common contemporary metaphor holds that. We fall in love falling usually being quick and surprising and also scary and disorienting older images for include being pierced by an arrow or overcome by fever. These are all sudden and overwhelming experiences and not entirely pleasant ones instantaneous. Love is also a very old idea half a sentence after Jacob. I sees Rebecca in the book of Genesis, he's kissing her and lifting up his voice and weeping in the second century achilles Tachi throat as soon as I had seen her. I was lost for beauty's wound is sharper than any weapon. Christopher Marlowe famously wrote whoever loved that loved not at first sight. Which like anything written in? I am victim Tamador. At least sounds true. But I have to confess that my own worldview is closer to that of the great romance, novelist. Danielle Steele who once said while being interviewed in her beachfront villa. I believe in love at first sight for houses, but not for people. The closest I've ever come to seeing romantic love it for site happened. My junior year at Kenyon college. So much of the school year was so cold that spring and Ohio always felt like an actual revelation the miracle of spring to me is that it happens every year, and yet somehow I never see it coming. So it was spring, and I was astonished by by the reemergence of birkenstocks and t shirts and green grass and final exams. It was the day before I had a final in this biology class. And I was sitting alone on a half wall outside the library smoking a cigarette when a friend I'll call James walked up to me and announced in song. I am in love. He proceeded to tell me that two days earlier he'd been studying in one of the student lounges when a girl call Ellen happened to enter the same lounge they exchanged some pleasantries, and then started to talk a bit. And then started to talk a lot and then fell in love, and then kissed and then stayed up all night. And then spent the entire next day being in love, and then stayed up all night again. And then James had to take a final in Buddhist thought and practice, and then it was now, and she was going to meet him at the library shortly. And he was so tired. But he was also he sang again. So in love. I asked him how the final had gone, and he told me that it went great considering that he'd been up for two and a half days, and that the only potential problem with the final was that he had not answered any of the essay questions but had instead written an essay about falling in love with Ellen. And how perfect infinite instantaneous love really did exist because he had experienced it. And I asked him if he'd tried to you know, tie the essay Vaqta, Buddhist thought and practice at all. And James said, no, not really except. Now, he understood how Buddhist non attachment really works, and then Ellen showed up and they embraced like long separated lovers reuniting at the airport. And I finished my cigarette and went back to studying my Osas. Needless to say James failed his Buddhist thought and practice exam in the end, the love did not prove infinite he Ellen broke up a year later, but every time I saw them together through that year. I was struck by the irrational profundity of their connection. It was real love, and it happened more or less instantly, and it rendered them. Both absolutely insane. I think the mistake is when we conflict the kind of love that makes us fail. Buddhists thought and practice exams with the kind of love that can share the great upheavals of a human life. The one is a fever or a fall, the other sees you through fevers and falls. When love at first sight becomes overtime deeply rooted love, we can view it as a continuum. But I think it only looks that way in retrospect, but maybe that's too cold. And unfeeling of me love is a chemical experience in the human brain. But of course, it's also something else there may not be anything supernatural about Love's magic. But it is magic. And the spells. It puts us under do often last a lifetime. And I don't just mean romantic love, in fact, while I was immediately attracted to the person I ended up marrying and while I fell for her heart and quickly. I've only felt love at first sight twice in my life. When I saw my children for the first time. Those maddening difficult intense. First few months of parenting. Dizzy exhausted overwhelmed in love. I give of it. I site for stars. Thanks for listening to the NFC and reviewed which was written by me. Edited by STAN Muller and produced by Roseana Halse row Haas Jenny Lawton Hannah's Brown made the music Joep. Lord is our technical director. Thanks also to Jesse who suggested I review Indianapolis, and THEO who suggested a review of love it for site. And also asked could you be like a little less somber Alassio? I regret to inform you that this voice only plays one note. If you'd like to suggest a topic for review or just say, hi, please Email us at anthroposophic reviewed at gmaiLcom. My favorite fact that didn't make it into today's reviews is the story of Kurt von gets. I Indianapolis ancestor who wanted to sell silk to the people of this fine city, but found business only in hardware will leave you today with Vanek telling that story himself. Thanks again for listening. I ancestor named Vanek it arrived in Indianapolis slightly before the civil war eighteen fifty five perhaps in he was a much in and proposed to sell silk. The believe everything he wore accepted shoes was made of silk when he arrived in showing how many believed in substance, but he soon started a general store selling shovels pickaxes in rifles online.