I’m in Utah right now. Provo, at the moment. Provo, Utah. I lived here once. (Well, more than once, actually.) And the summer here has a “feel” to it, for me. It feels interminable. Sticky. Hard to bear. And boring. I think it’s a leftover from when I lived here with no air conditioning and no money. I was often too hot and bored.
I got here yesterday, and it was actually cloudy and sprinkling when I arrived. THAT felt good. But this morning, there’s not a cloud in the sky, and so when I woke up, there was the “feeling” of Provo summer, waiting for me.
It’s such an odd little place. A mix of students, little families, immigrants, and the poor unfortunate souls who got “stuck” here somehow. It has a great Indian restaurant, for a reason I don’t totally understand, and the best gelato I’ve had yet is at this little place that popped up on Center Street a year or two ago. Also, it doesn’t feel as immaculately clean as Salt Lake City. Some things are broken and some things are dirty. The old buildings that have actually been taken care of are some of my favorite things, though. The Provo Library, housed in the renovated Brigham Young Academy building, is a brilliant triumph of the spirit of history and community over the developers who would have knocked it down and turned it into condos. I wish BYU itself had spent more time & money figuring out how to preserve the character of their old buildings, rather than knocking them to the ground and rebuilding in the new, “shopping mall” style they’ve got going on. It’s weird to watch things change. The dorm room I spent my freshman year in is just . . . gone. Not there anymore. Open sky where there were towers of students. I was a custodian in a building on campus . . . gone. Renovated to the point of being unrecognizable.
I actually worry sometimes about the day they will turn their attention to the fine arts building. There are these lovely granite staircases, with grooves worn in them by the decades of students walking up & down. The whole building is acoustic. There is always some strange music floating through the atrium, echoing down the halls. I wouldn’t mind if they re-carpeted the classrooms, or fixed the lighting or the electrical problems. I just worry that they’ll “renovate” by tearing it down and rebuilding in the same, bland, shopping-mall-generic-office-building style that they’re using now. And for the fine arts building, that would be a tragedy.