I was safely in lowered gear and heightened alert; it's a heavy pedestrian area with a couple little street crossings that can be dangerous, and one--the Old Town Main Drag--which can be dangerous and infuriating, so I watch out. This did not prevent me from the loud proclamation of a curse word still considered ill-mannered among the Uppers, and both she and some Carmel-homeless guy (over 19, still living with parents, possibly in or out of college, possibly walking to a local restaurant job, hipster mien; believe me, there are no real homeless people in Carmel. Not for two days running there aren't) replied with shouts, but I couldn't make either of 'em out since I had the iPod on, and was past before they finished their thoughts.
Pardon the digression. It's not like I routinely abuse the privilege. When Mitch "Turns Out Freedom Is Free" Daniels first got hold of the state's infrastructure, he named as BMV director some guy with a retail background, most recently having helmed Galyan's Sporting Goods Empire as Dick's Sporting Goods Empire came into its home market and pushed it off the monkey bars, and made it cry. Within weeks he closed branches (surprise!), removed the clocks from those that remained, and thunk up that dress code. (Asked whether he'd be wearing it, too, he replied that he would, whenever he was working in a Branch.) He also oversaw the utterly incompetent switch to a major computer program overhaul, which had been in the works for several years. It got so bad he was cashiered. These days, truth be told, it's the best it's ever been in my memory, except way back in the day when you could just pick one, wherever it was located, and a quick trip to farm country more than made up for the extra drive. They seem to've done something with all the small-time car dealers who used to clog the system first thing in the morning. Like putting them on the Honor system.
Anyway, with the tardy sunrise I've been watching the local morning teleprompter readers out of some latent masochistic streak, and yesterday, swear to God, there was a story on how Wendy's/Burger King/Waste Management was going to put more meat in their burgers. And today came news--it made me pine for a teletype chattering in the background--that Coca-Cola™ would be offering its flagship product in somewhere between two and five new sizes; the announcer was so excited I never quite got the actual count.
Just tell me where this comes from. Yes, indeedy, it's traceable to the contagion of Happy Talk News, circa 1972, when it was decided that news coverage should not neglect the National Morale and the tonic effects of an adorable dog who fought a fire or traveled a long and mysterious road to return to the house and the family which had secretly dumped him while on vacation 1500 miles away and now had to clench the bowels of self-loathing and never, ever, admit having done so. But the switch to Coupon News and Arby's New Sauce Selections features is of more recent vintage.
Of course, chatter of any sort clenches the bowels in the day's first spasm of Potential Pre-Cancer at that hour. (Or does so for those over, say, 15, which, assuming this is in fact the target audience, explains everything.) But I'm mystified by the process that decides this is the sort of thing The Masses wanna know about before they brush their teeth.
The effect on the unwashed brain at that hour I leave to the Sociology Department, but the signs do not augur well. A commenter on the story at the Star writes:
Many realize that Carmel is a Republican stronghold with many entrepreneurs. When you have a city of this caliber, people come to expect the best. Insurance was offered to the city council members which as Mayor Brainerd pointed out is an option not out of the ordinary in the United States. People who complain about these type of options seem to want the nation to deteriorate to the point where no one is offered benefits. The small minded, if I don't get that then they don't get that, simply overlooks all the factors involved in maintaining competent individuals.
Now first, I'd like to fully endorse Entrepreneur as the Official Republican PC Code for "White". Second, it is perhaps our duty, again, to remind the reader innocent of Central Indiana geography that the Sleepy Burg of Carmel owes its growth beyond the charming two-block area of Old Town to the Interstate Highway System venturing a little too close for its own good. Or ours. Supplemented by the Second White Flight, post-Nixon, the one in the mid-late 70s, the one that jumped the Marion county line in three directions, outside the Eisenhower Circle around the big, Africanizing city, the way one can trace the migration of the Iroquois by the bulge their neighbors made in getting as far away from them as practicable. That's Carmel, Indiana, Entrepreneurial Heaven. It's done a better job than its bucolic neighbors, Fishers and Westfield, of avoiding turning every square inch of fertile loam over to strip malls.
I like Entrepreneur. And Grifter's even better.
* They're actually quite nice, and genuine, practically without exception, at least in these parts.
** Car-mel, accent on the final syllable as with Carmel-by-the-Sea, and not the locally acknowledged first syllable, is 1) one favored way to determine whether the recorded announcer is from out of town, and/or 2) the way the rest of us pronounce it sometimes, with either an implied distain or mock superciliousness, for some reason. I'm not sure why. It's one of those things like "Dead as a doornail" that you just say.