"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Saturday, August 18, 2012

PT Exposure: Things Become Extinct

Stream of Consciousness Exercise

Could we at least leave a chalk outline...in the skyline maybe?

0:00 to 0:37
Oh, there is music to this video. The first time I watched it with my computer muted. It's noble music, like you get in a big movie when the heroes are preparing to go out and do the right thing. It just makes me sadder, the music that is. This video made me sad the first time. I can see how this is all cool for Weber State. Change. Progress. Proof that money is flowing in and flowing out. This music makes me want to jog triumphantly...as long as I am typing and not watching the video of destruction, or demolition as they call it. They are destroying a shrine of my memories...

That northeast section of the tower, sticking out like too-big brown LEGOs, the one the crane is nibbling on. That was the, is, was the emergency fire stairwell. It was accessible from each floor, but once inside it was separate and all concrete and metal handrails and a great place to sing. Oh, the reverb in that stairwell!

When I was on rounds, and pretty sure I was the only one in that stairwell, I used to sing at the top of my lungs. Showtunes mostly. Maybe Mormon hymns too. Can't remember. It was back when I used to sing anyway. Before the...well that's another story. Anyway, it was a fun stairwell to jaunt down and peer out of through the metal grating onto the campus far below. I can see why the crane wants to nibble at it first. It's the demolition equivalent of an appetizer, isn't it?

I'm glad I'm watching the video muted again. That music isn't for me, not in this context. I'm watching one of my most important homes ever get torn down. I never thought it would be my home. But I ended up there for several years, stayed way too long, but also just long enough to make some of the few friends from college I've actually stayed in touch with...the friends that, like Promontory Tower, took me as I was in all seasons.

I can't remember if the 11th floor was boys' or girls'. But there it goes. In any case, the girls I became attached to, the friends, the crushes. That one PG-rated fling when we made out in the alcove, sitting on the carpet with her in my arms looking up at me. I actually asked permission for the first kiss. Didn't have to ask permission for the many kisses that followed. She was a wonderful kisser. (She wasn't the girl I would become engaged to, but she would prove a lasting friend.) Anyways, what I was trying to say is the girls I remember were mostly from the 9th and 7th floors, the ones not yet demolished by this point in the video. Leaving college just as alone as when I showed up notwithstanding, I did alright in the girl department. Lots of good memories. Good friends and fun acquaintances. I wasn't the best at it, the social stuff, but I definitely experienced college. So it aches to watch this building go.

The cafeteria is gone. It didn't even occur to me until just this moment. Not surprising. Very few profound moments from the cafeteria. Except that's where I first started really watching the girl who became my fiancee but not my wife. That's where I started picking my moment with her. She always ate a very dainty breakfast. (Her first year at WSU was my first year on staff as a Resident Assistant.)

She was a good sport when I started teasing her every time she came to the counter in the main lobby and asked for the key to the practice room. Music majors. Eventually we were in the practice room together. Nothing inappropriate. We were good students. We actually practiced. In the end she was much too Mormon for me, and I not Mormon enough for her...even if I'd stayed.

But getting back to the cafeteria, I had a great guy moment in there. Me and two other male RAs were having dinner. One of the other two was starting to date a resident in a different hall. Off the cuff I said to him, "You're whooped." He took a bite of food and said, "No, I'm not whooped yet." So I turned to the other RA, Sammy, and I said, "Of course he is. He's at that stage where he thinks he's not whooped." Sammy started chuckling in his bassoon-like voice. And it quickly swelled into a loud belly laugh. Ah, great moments in guy talk!

Dear God, they are really gutting it now. But they haven't gotten to my rooms yet. Over the years I lived too long in Promontory Tower, I lived in at least three different rooms. Two were on the still visible east-facing side that the crane hasn't quite gotten to.

The RAs all lived in the middle rooms on this side, opposite the side with the lounges and elevators. The RAs lived as deep as possible into the layout of each floor. So even shitty RAs had to pass by at least half the rooms to get to the elevator. I wasn't a shitty RA. I wasn't a great one either, mostly because my personality wasn't conducive to the job. I bonded well with other RAs and got leadership opportunities, but it was a staff dynamic where I got opportunities cuz I stayed too long and never had any major screw ups. I can't think of any triumphs I had as an RA. Damn.

The crane may or may not have gotten to the floor where Stasha, a fellow RA, found a bumper sticker in an alcove that said, "Vaginas are way cool!" True. Tacky but true. I keep talking about girls. Maybe because Promontory Tower was the last place I lived where I dated a lot...

Now two of the three rooms I lived in are gone. The room where my eventual fiance knocked on my door to respond to the Valentine I placed in her mailbox. She walked in and she asked me to be her date to a dance. She was very composed, calm, and rather formal about it. And then we started our journey toward tragedy. Oh well. It all ended up feeling meant-to-be. And I guess in hindsight it was all okay...I have regrets. And when I see this building going down, this place I lived too long in, but just long enough to meet some very important friends I've kept to this day...my main emotion is sadness at how irrevocably over it all is. That time. The building. My being a college student. I really did experience college.

For a moment there the building looks like a pig on a spit getting flayed and shoved onto plates for hungry people, people hungry for the future at the expense of my past. I know it's not personal...to them. And today's students deserve the best buildings. But my building was good too.

I remember making beds for the Olympics with fellow RA Keith. But I can't remember for sure now if that was in PT. I think it was. And the Olympics of 2002, I spent those living in PT for sure. I buddied up with a couple of the curling judges who were staying on my floor. I interviewed them for a story I did for the school paper.

(As the video continues) So little left now. And I can't avoid pointing out that the tower has now become two towers. It's just a visual observation...mostly anyway and at any rate. All the important stuff is gone now, except that emergency stairwell I used to sing in. Oh the reverb!

There was this girl that I never knew really well. But I would watch her come and go in a 1950s style outfit through the lobby. Going to and from her job at the nearby Galaxy Diner. She was very short. Very pretty. And I would come to be wonderful friends with her roommate.

I never had an urge to approach this girl. I was already going after my future fiance. But this short redhead girl in the Galaxy Diner outfit...she seemed quiet and about her business. A friendly face. A nice presence passing through the main lobby as I worked the front desk. She was a good resident. And then she was gone. Heart stopped in the orthodontist's chair while she was having her wisdom teeth removed.

She had been engaged and wanted the wisdom teeth out before her wedding. I didn't really know her. But I was good friends with her best friend and went to the viewing and the funeral. And then, a couple of weeks after the funeral, my friend was having a hard time coping. We left Promontory Tower behind us that evening and drove all the way past Salt Lake City to the cemetery and sat on the grass by the recently-covered grave. We cuddled next to a grave after dark in the cold air. It was not flirtatious cuddling. It was friends staving off the cold wind...and coping.

When I think back to Promontory Tower, I think about the girls. And then I watch this video and think about how I can't get back to the place or the time. No way to tie off this line of thought I guess. I'll leave that to nature.

Goodbye, PT.

 *The title of this post is an homage to an episode from one of my all-time favorite shows: Northern Exposure.


  1. Very well said. It is really sad to me that Promontory is gone. There are so many memories and so many great friends that I made there and still have to this day! That room Mandy and I shared on the ninth floor just to the right of the RA room became a very important place to me. Daphne's room that looked out on the football practice field was another special room. Mandy used to watch Brian Blanchard (her crush that year)practice from that room. Thanks for sharing this! I think you are the greatest!


    1. Thanks for reading and for sharing some of your memories from that time. I never realized some of the details you shared about the rooms. It sure makes me nostalgic.