There are times when I crave peace and quiet, when my mind screams at me: STAHP!! Slow down!! Relax!! Times when even in my extroverted nature I want to be completely alone and just sit with a latte in a random no name coffee place and watch the world go by.
My favorite place to go used to be the Arts Garden in downtown Indianapolis. It’s a large two story glass enclosure spanning an intersection in the heart of downtown. It connects the shopping mall with various other businesses. Hotels, restaurants, and it used to connect all the way to the convention center, but it’s been so long and there have been so many recent changes I’m not sure if that’s still the case.
There I had the ability to sit with a Birdseye view and people watch without giving off the massive creeper vibes I would in a crowded coffee house. Lol. It was perfection. I spent a whole lot of time there when I first moved to Indiana, but then the landscape changed. The mall became over run with bored, aimless teens looking for trouble. With those teens came neighborhood rivalries, and eventually gang violence. It’s rare that you don’t hear about gang fights, stabbings, and shootings at least once a month.
It’s infuriating and sad at the same time. These aren’t young adults I’m talking about. Not the kids in high school or old enough to have a legitimate job to support their families. These are KIDS. Twelve, thirteen years old trying to prove their merit and stake their claim in the local gangland hierarchy. Kids who should be hanging out at the mall wasting allowance on clothes, stupid trends, movies, food and fun. Not waiting at the mall to fight with kids from a rivaling neighborhood.
I haven’t been back to the Arts Garden since Hubs and I had our engagement photos shot downtown in 2011. Not particularly because I feel that I would be in danger, but because I don’t want to watch the next generation slowly self destruct. My quiet place for introspection and reflection has suddenly become the front lines of society’s next great struggle.
So I’m left seeking a new place to recharge my mental batteries. Craving solace, with no foreseeable end in sight. It’s not the first time I’ve been uprooted from my place of peace, and I know with enough exploration I’ll be able to find somewhere else, it’s just a matter of taking the time to do so.