Friday, April 09, 2010

The End of a Landmark

It turned out that I was pretty close to the information I wanted conveyed in my verbal smackdown scene, after all. I amped it up a bit, worked in a little additional info, and I think it will do for now, though I may go for one more level of nasty in revisions. And then I got so carried away that I forgot about something else that needed to happen in the scene, but then I couldn't think of where to put it, and I decided to put it somewhere else that I think will work even better. I'm really closing in on the end here -- and I'd better be, as I only have about 12,000 words to work with.

I've got a busy weekend ahead of me, and in spite of the busyness and my general opposition to early mornings, I think I'll be up very early Sunday morning because they're going to destroy Texas Stadium. I don't have that many memories directly associated with the stadium, considering I only went to one game there. But it's been a major landmark for me for most of my life.

When I was very little and we lived in west Texas and had to drive to Louisiana to visit relatives, we could see the stadium from afar from the highway. It was just a whitish blob on the horizon, but I always liked to look for it. Then when we lived in Germany, we'd watch the opening credits of Dallas just for the zoom across the stadium when we were homesick.

I didn't get an up-close look at the stadium until I was a freshman in high school and our church group went to Dallas for the day. We went Christmas shopping and ice skating at a mall that no longer exists, then we went to a restaurant near the stadium (that, surprisingly, does still exist). I have to admit that seeing it up close was a little disappointing because it really is rather ugly.

When I first moved to this area, I lived only a few miles from the stadium, and I drove by it every day on my way to and from work. On the way home, it was my sign that I was almost there. That was also where the worst traffic jams were because it's at a point where several highways come together in an interchange that has to be some kind of demonic symbol (a la the highway in Good Omens). When I was past the stadium, I was home free. It was sometimes a bit of a hassle. When there were Monday-night games, I had to use a roundabout alternate route to get home from work, and I also had to be careful about timing and routes when I came home from church on Sundays. Then I moved, and my route no longer took me directly by the stadium, but I could still see it clearly, and it was still a sign that I was getting close to home. It may be ugly up close, but when there's something going on there at night and all the lights are on in the stadium, it almost looks pretty from a distance.

In recent years, it has remained my landmark that tells me I'm almost home. When I drive to Austin or San Antonio, my route home takes me right by the stadium, so when I can see it, I know that I'll be home in less than half an hour. When I pass it, I can be home in less than twenty minutes.

But they're imploding it Sunday morning, and I won't have my "almost home" landmark anymore. I'm not crazy enough to try to go there in person -- they're closing access to the viewing area at 6 -- but I think I will get up to watch it on TV, and I may open a window to see if I can hear it. I may not, since I live down in a valley and am shielded from that direction, but I want to try anyway. For a landmark at the gateway to our city, it was rather hideous, and the things they're talking about doing with that space are interesting. I don't miss the game-day traffic at all. But I will miss coming home from a long drive and not seeing that white blob on the horizon that tells me I'm almost there.

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