My journey started with a scenic eight-hour trip across the Midwest on I-70 from Kansas City, Mo. to Indianapolis. And by “scenic,” I mean one major city and thousands of cornfields. But my mom rode along and kept me company on the highway to my new life, so eye-popping scenery really wasn’t important. We had a great time talking.
After I got moved in and had a day to make my furnished apartment feel like home, I dropped my mom off at the airport and I was ready to learn how to live downtown in a city.
1. It will take you twice as long to get anywhere!
Luckily I didn’t learn this the hard way. Don’t worry, Brooke, I wasn’t late on my first day, but I will admit I was just barely on time. I live literally two miles from the campus at IUPUI. Normally it would take me five minutes to get two miles…wrong! When you live with downtown traffic, the drive takes 30 minutes! So, leave early!
2. One-way streets
I think I finally have this one down, but it has taken a few weeks. I have learned that you have to go in a square to get anywhere. No matter how close my destination might be, I will probably have to take a minimum of four different streets to get there. As I’m still learning which streets are one-way and which ones are not, I pay VERY close attention to the Do Not Enter signs.
It is NOT free anywhere! And I have to parallel park– oh no! Once I tell you what I drive, you are going to make fun of my struggles with parallel parking. A reasonably competent driver should be able to parallel park a VW Bug. Well, my version of parallel parking is praying the spot is big enough for my small car to be able to pull in and back up a little. Lucky for me, that is how most of the spots in downtown Indy are. I have also found that I need to keep a stash of coins in my car for the meters. I almost learned that the hard way when I was picking up dinner to go, but fortunately found a dime on the floorboard.
4. The grocery store is small
Since I live downtown and there isn’t a whole lot of room this means the grocery store is not the typical suburban super-size. However, the same number of people shop there on Sunday afternoon. Sunday — the busiest time anywhere for grocery shopping– and I was there with everyone else who lives downtown. Because the store was so small, it was nearly impossible to navigate without running into someone with the cart. Oops! I may have hit the back of someone’s ankles. After several apologies, I have decided I’m not going back to the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon.
5. Gas prices
It only took one fill up to learn never to buy gas downtown. I figured gas prices would be higher downtown, but I was on empty and didn’t think it would be that much more expensive. I filled up at $4/gallon and then drove about 10 minutes outside of the downtown area to go to Target. Gas was 20-30 cents cheaper! From now on, I’m going to make that drive a few miles outside downtown to get gas. Interesting detail: the gas pumps are decorated with “Go Colts” slogans. Kind of disconcerting for a lifelong Chiefs fan like myself.
These are just a few of the lessons I have learned about downtown living. A special thanks to the women of Kappa Psi who are also sharing some tips and tricks of downtown Indy. I wouldn’t change this experience for anything, and am ready to conquer more this year!