Lost in America


Looking Up in Antelope Canyon

Anne and I convoyed to Lafayette and returned Dave’s car. We should have texted him, because he wasn’t at his apartment like we thought, but at work instead. He gave us the building’s address and we each plugged it into our respective phones. We’ve been traveling a lot this last year and have become quite reliant on Google maps for navigating. So much so that we have often remarked, “How did we ever get anywhere before without it?” We soon were about to find out. Purdue is undergoing massive road repair this summer. In particular, State Street, the main drag through campus has been totally torn up. It just so happened that our planned Google route ran right down State. Anne started off ahead of me, with me right behind her. Traffic soon caused me to lose her and then I ran into the construction. Google or Siri or whoever she is, kept trying to reroute me on to State, but every time she tried, there was more construction, “Turn right onto State Street!” “Turn left onto State Street!!” “Turn left, then turn right, then turn on to State Street!!!” You get the idea. Eventually, I recognized a landmark from two-weeks earlier and by dead reckoning and with Siri still yammering in the background, I was able to get to Dave’s office building. Dave appeared almost immediately. I called Anne and she was able to tell Dave where she was. He told her to just sit tight and we drove to where she was. She was pretty angry with and flummoxed with Siri, by the time we got there, but with Dave in the lead and the two of us now following him, he led us to a very nice Thai restaurant for lunch.  

At lunch, Dave explained some about the research he will be doing at Harvard, starting next month. He’ll still be doing research in hearing and still be using many of the same surgical techniques that he mastered at Purdue. He’ll be working with rabbits, instead of chinchillas. The rabbits will be deaf and will have two cochlear implants. When cochlear implants were first installed in humans, typically only one implant was installed. Now, it is more common to install implants in both ears. One problem though is that even though two are better than one, people with two implants never get the same sense of auditory directionality that hearing people have. His research will be devoted to a better understanding of why that is. It sounds like exciting work!

Based upon our experiences with State Street in downtown Purdue, Dave chose the Thai restaurant with an eye towards our escape from Lafayette. We easily left town and were soon motoring along on a new, four-lane divided highway called the Hoosier Heartland Highway and were on our way to Fort Wayne. We were out in the country, when I noticed that we should have gassed up back in town, but we found a station, before we ran out. This station seemed primarily devoted to serving semis, but there was one row of pumps that didn’t dispense diesel. You know how most gas stations smell of gasoline? Well, there were so many livestock trucks around that there was a decidedly farm-fresh odor, which led us to starting to refer to the road as the Hoosier Fart-land Highway, but we eventually settled upon Hoosier Daddy Highway. 

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