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Duration:03:30
Uploaded:2020-06-16
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In which John takes you to Wallet Island.

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Good morning, Hank, it's Tuesday.  Greetings from the White River here in Indianapolis.  I am headed to a cool place in my kayak that almost nobody knows about and I would like to show it to you.  

So one of the things that fascinates me about river islands is that they don't really belong to anyone and they aren't of much human utility because they're only land part of the time.  

(water splashing sounds)

But one of the many paradoxes of the White River is that the island's uselessness to others is precisely what makes it useful to me.  Like, I love it because nobody goes there.  Another of the river's great paradoxes is that it appears pristine and beautiful in part because it is so filthy.  Like, raw sewage dumps into the White River many times a year, which is one of the main reasons why nobody comes down here, but I find it's not that bad, as long as you don't swim in the water or expose it to open wounds, you're mostly fine.  Like, in five years of being on the White River, I've only gotten (?~0:55) twice.

We are finally getting close to Wallet Island.  Of course, I've been going downstream this whole time, so the way back is gonna take about three times as long and it's gonna be about one fifth as much fun, but that's okay, it will still be some fun.  Welcome to Wallet Island.  

So welcome to Wallet Island, my favorite place.  It's both very loud and very quiet, very private, nobody else is here, and also very public, it's in the center of the 12th largest city in the United States.  The island feels natural but it isn't.  Most of these are invasive plants and also, the island is deeply shaped by the phenomenally dirty water that rolls over it with every flood.  

I named it Wallet Island, by the way, because I once found a wallet here.  That's not its official name.  In fact, I don't even know if it has an official name.  As you can see, there's lots of trees on Wallet Island, mostly sycamore trees, but also some oak trees.  There's tons of plant life, but the thing about this island is that it floods like, every few weeks and then it becomes a completely new island.  

There's a completely new set of driftwood lying around, a different set of trash.  There's always a lot of trash!  And so every time I come here, I feel like I'm discovering a new place.  I can sit here for hours if I bring my computer here.  I can write, but critically, I can't get online, so it's a place of contradictions, but I also think it's a place of beauty.  

Alright, come on, I'll show you around.  In case you're wondering if dandelions can even make their way here, yes, they can.  Aw man, it's bad enough to drink Bud Light Seltzer, but to throw it in the river is just classless.  

When the water is flooding and coming down stream, all this stuff gets pressed up against the trees and so you get these weird beaver-dam looking things that are half natural and--is that a bench??  It was a bench!  It's actually a really good bench.  I'm gonna have a seat.  

Wallet Island now has a seating area!  

But anyway, some of these collections of fallen wood can just be wildly beautiful.  I'm also very fond of this chair, which has been here for a year.  This is a chair called a monoblock chair, which is one of the most common chairs in the world.  Like, you've sat in a chair like this, and you see them all over the world including, apparently, Wallet Island.

If you're wondering what happens when you leave your straw by the side of the road, it ends up in the river!  Hank, I just discovered an opened can of Budweiser beer that is good until June 5th, 2020, which is two days ago.  I went to pick up that bottle, but it had pee in it, so I think I'm going to leave it where it is.

Okay, I'm gonna pack up some trash and begin my two hour paddle upstream.  Hank, I'll see you on Friday.