the station's prepay nowadays, so i went inside and as i made my $10 transaction, the guy said something about "regular" that i couldn't make out. i figured he was just making some comment about how little regular gas $10 would buy me, so i went about my way. but when i got back to the pump, i realized that he had tried to tell me that they were out of regular! i was somewhat troubled by that, and not only because i had to pay $2.65 for "silver"... could this be a sign of looming gas shortages, rather than just ballooning prices? scary to think about.
anyway, i cut over to meridian and continued my way downtown. when i started approaching 52nd street, however, traffic slowed to a crawl: the kind of extremely slow traffic you expect when there's been an accident or something.
before i continue, some background info for non-naptowners: meridian st (also known as US-31 on the north side) is arguably the heaviest-trafficked non-freeway street in indianapolis. it runs all the way from downtown deep into the bowels of the northside suburbs. thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people drive it every day. and as is typical for commuter traffic, the bulk of the traffic heads to downtown in the morning and away from downtown in the evening. so while there are still plenty cars on the road going both ways, going toward downtown in the evening is usually pretty much a straight shot.
ranging from north of 38th st pretty much all the way to 86th st, meridian has lots of fancy, fancy houses. if you want to live in indy (rather than a suburb like geist or fishers), this is the fanciest, highest-priced, most prestigious real estate you can get. huge houses with massive yards span the street for miles. in fact, the "governor's mansion", a piece of public property ostensibly for the governor to live in (though mitch daniels is apparently too good to live there, preferring to stay at his mansion in geist), is along this stretch at 4750 n meridian.
perhaps related to this, the lanes get pretty narrow for a couple miles from 46th st or so on northward to maybe kessler (i don't recall exactly). this stretch of the road is a little more dangerous to drive, a little more scary, than anywhere else on meridian during heavy traffic. and i don't foresee the lanes ever getting widened because, like i said, some really rich bastards live there and would probably not be happy to have even inches of land taken by imminent domain.
after several minutes of not really moving, i finally made it close enough to 46th st to see what was causing the traffic jam. it wasn't a traffic accident; it was anti-abortion protesters!
by this point, with all the typical road rage of commuting added onto being stuck in gridlock for 10 minutes, this probably would've pissed me off no matter what they were protesting. even if i felt strongly in favor of the protesters, the inconvenience of them holding up commuter traffic was enough to piss me off. this isn't like protesting downtown at the circle, where smart drivers would never go during rush hour anyway. this was a major inconvenience. so the fact that i disagree with them, and that their protest was so utterly ridiculous, just pissed me off more.
the protesters held up various signs decrying how evil (oh god, how horribly evil) planned parenthood is. yawnsville. but i did see one protester holding a sign so outrageous, so fantastically absurd, that i had to write this long-ass blog entry. this is what the sign said:
PLANNED PARENTHOOD STEALS SOULS!
i desperately wished that i had my camera with me so i could photograph this woman and her sign... but then, if i took her picture, maybe i would have stolen her soul!
what the hell does that even mean? they "steal souls"? and why didn't one of the other protesters say to this woman: "hey, i may be a far-right religious conservative activist, but goddamn your sign makes you sound crazy!"?
it was completely impossible to tell why these protesters were protesting on that particular day, or why they were in front of the governor's mansion (when the gov doesn't even live there): the sign of a badly organized protest is when nobody can discern why in the hell you are protesting. i had to look it up online; lucky for them, they got coverage in the indy star:
Anti-abortion protesters picketed the Indiana governor's residence Thursday, objecting to a party for Planned Parenthood they said was an inappropriate use of the Meridian Street property.
State Sen. Jeff Drozda, R-Westfield, speaking for the 50 sign-carrying protesters, said the state attorney general's office has questioned whether Planned Parenthood has followed Indiana law in cases involving reproductive health care for young people.
"It is public property, and no one can dispute that," Drozda said of the governor's residence. "However, when you have the Medicaid Fraud Unit of the state of Indiana investigating possible criminal activity, those are very, very severe issues."
The senator is a former executive vice president of Indiana Right to Life.
In a case yet to be decided in court, Attorney General Steve Carter's office has sought records for young patients of Planned Parenthood. The law considers those younger than 14 who have sex to be victims of molestation, and a goal of the investigation is to see if the group followed state law and reported cases of suspected child abuse.
okay, that settles why they picked the gov mansion. but...
first off, this law is bullshit. when i was 13 years old, i would have fucked half the girls in my school if i'd had a chance. in fact, that half is only the girls that i actively wanted to bone: if the girls from the other half had propositioned me, i would've gladly pounced on most of them, too. fighting child molestation is a laudable goal, but these kinds of laws that declare "over this age, fuck away, but any younger is illegal" ignore the fact that young teens are overflowing with hormones and most of them would love any opportunity to ejaculate some of those hormones into or onto someone else... if only they knew how. these kinds of laws are set up primarily to make it harder to obtain abortions.
second off, this protest is not about illegaal activities or anything of the sort. quite simply, these folks hate, hate, hate abortion, and they associate planned parenthood with abortion. jesus himself could be president of planned parenthood, and these nutjobs would still be out there blocking traffic on meridian street.
Thursday's party was intended to honor Planned Parenthood's volunteers and supporters, Chief Executive Officer Betty Cockrum said.
She called Drozda's emphasis on the attorney general's investigation "clever" and invited him to "join with us in our efforts to help Hoosiers plan their families."
Gov. Mitch Daniels hasn't waded far into the abortion debate but has said he opposes abortion rights.
Brad Rateike, a spokesman for the governor, said Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization "and therefore has a right to use the residence."
Cockrum said Planned Parenthood followed the state's list of 17 policy guidelines for using the residence. Guidelines include paying a $200 fee, getting the group's invitation and agenda pre-approved by the residence director, and providing a guest list 48 hours in advance.
"It is up to the governor and the residence staff to set policy for how that facility is used," Cockrum said. "It is the people's living room."¶