Have you ever sat on a ledge by a statue at the Indiana State Fair for four hours?
My professor made me do it. She told me to sit somewhere and find a story by listening to random conversations and find an interesting story. I didn’t really want to do that … at all.
But let me tell you, it’s not as boring as you think. Amidst the cotton candy and the screaming children, there is a gem of glorious magnitude among the creepy corn cups you can purchase at a sweet corn stand and the smelly trashcans filled with bees.
This gem is the Ndy statue that is right outside of the Gazebo Gift Shop. It’s a statue of the letters n-d-y in cursive. The letters are white and the whole statue is about four feet high.
So I know some of you are thinking, what in the heck is an ndy? Well I have the answer for you my friends. It’s supposed to represent Indy. Where’s the “I” you ask?
It’s in the line for elephant ears. It’s in a seat on the Ferris Wheel. It’s sitting on a bench outside of the swine barn. It’s whoever wants to be the “I.”
It is something that lets people have a picture, a moment in time. They can celebrate their home, or their family, or their whatever.
It’s also an interesting place to sit and people watch.
People watching is one of my favorite things to do. Anywhere. I could do it for hours. There are so many interactions and different moments you can notice.
You can catch someone being insecure, or a funny situation, or something you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
For example, I was sitting on my little ledge (which is between some fuzzy caterpillar bushes and the gift shop) and I was watching this family and their friends take a picture.
The mom of the family wanted to take a picture with her friend. The friend was hesitant and went up there anyway. Through clenched teeth, the friend said, “Don’t get too close, my pits stink.” The mom of the family then replied, “It’s okay, mine do too.”
I laughed, and they kind of looked at me funny. They didn’t notice I was sitting there and listening. That’s the funny thing about people watching. You don’t get to experience other people’s experiences if you try to be part of the moment or try to make it about yourself.
People nowadays (I say this as if I’m not a part of this generation) seem super self-absorbed. Not in a selfish way, but in sort of a living-in-a-bubble way.
One of my professors brought up a good point in class one day. She said, now, whenever students come into class, they have headphones in or they’re on their phone. No one ever interacts with each other anymore.
If you don’t step out of your bubble and into someone else’s, you can’t see or witness something really cool.
Yeah, you see the funny people, or the stupid people, or the creepy people, but you also see the beautiful people.
The people who offer to take someone else’s picture, or the people who compliment someone else without expecting one in return, or the people who will share a laugh with you just because.
I saw people just being people, not putting up a façade or trying to act cool. Their guards were dropped, and that’s when you get to see people for who they really are.
That is what I saw while sitting on a ledge at a statue at the Indiana State Fair for four hours.
And I don’t regret a single minute.
Megan Melton is a writer for BSU Journalism at the Fair, a group of 30 students telling Indiana’s stories from a trailer somewhere between the cheese sculpture and the state’s biggest sow. This Ball State University immersive-learning project works for elephant ears.