NEW YORK — Monday, as I hastily finished packing for my trip to New York, I grabbed my phone to request an Uber to take me to the Indianapolis airport. The confirmation came immediately, showing me my driver’s photo, 4 1/2-star rating, license plate number and car model. I paused at the latter.
Ford F-150. How Indiana.
I climbed into the pickup truck eight minutes later, riding shotgun. My driver said, “I hope you’re going somewhere warm.”
“Nope. New York.”
“Ah,” he said.
Minutes later, he finished his thought. “Never been to New York City. No desire to go.”
I let a beat go by, thinking, OK then. I tried to small talk my way forward (granted, I was hoping the experience would be less chatty and more of an anonymous interaction, so the effort was halfhearted). He said a few more things about his perceived distaste for the city. It was a little odd and off-putting, but then we had a fabulous conversation about his experience as a driver contracted by the NFL for the Indianapolis Super Bowl in 2012, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about his afternoon chauffeuring John Travolta.
About a half hour went by, and I was going through airport security. As one could expect from a Monday morning at IND, it wasn’t crowded. The TSA agent kindly greeted me.
“Where you headed?”
“Gah. On purpose?”
“Yes …” I was having myself quite the little Indiana episode.
This isn’t the sort of thing I encounter regularly. I thoroughly enjoy living in Indy, though I’ll admit to a bit of culture shock when I venture elsewhere in the state, forgetting the somewhat isolated urban experience in the Circle City. But it was an odd slice of Hoosier, what I experienced Monday. There was the typical friendliness as these people initiated conversations, but I thought the attitude was off. Not the way I’d expect such an interaction to go.
I get it — it’s New York versus the rest of the country, or something. (Side note: The RadioLab podcast “Poop Train” hilariously illustrates this perceived prejudice . It’s also educational.) But it was a little odd. Not the Hoosier I think of.
But the F-150 Uber trumped all. That was awesome.