"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Urban Decay and Recreational Trespassing

Last night, while I was doing my catch up reading and commenting, I made the fatal error of clicking on a link. When is clicking on a link a fatal error? It's a fatal error (or maybe not so fatal error since it led to a post) when it leads to MORE blogs being added to my blogroll.

The link that lead to my not so apparent demise was the link to EPBOT. EPBOT is the other blog of Jen, the brilliance behind Cake Wrecks. Jen describes EPBOT as Geekery, Girliness & General Goofing Off and the post that sucked me in was her post about her fascination with urban decay. She has some brilliant pictures of an abandoned drive in movie theater that she took. Jen also linked to *a post by Shane Perez, a self-professed recreational trespasser, who went on a jaunt to an abandoned Disney site, Discovery Island) and took some amazing pictures of urban decay. Of course, I had to click over. It was so cool and I couldn't help imagining myself doing something as daring and adventurous.

The closest I got to that level of adventure was in college. See, at Duke, like at many universities, there is a list of things you are suppose to try and complete before you graduate. It's a pretty short list...
  1. Go tunneling
  2. Drive backward around the traffic circle
  3. Have sex in the stacks of the library
and I sort of completed it. Of course, I drove backwards around the traffic circle...and, to make sure I had it covered, I not only drove counter-clockwise around the circle but I also drove around the circle in reverse. Now, the fun story is tunneling. It involved breaking and entering and could get you into deep shit with the school administration if you got caught. Duke is set up with 2 main campuses, East and West, that are separated by a couple of miles of Campus Drive. All the buildings on Duke's East Campus are connected by underground maintenance tunnels and school legend suggests these tunnels stretch at least half the way down Campus Drive. The whole point of tunneling is to gain access to the tunnels and to travel as far as you can through them. Of course, tunneling had to be done at night when you were less likely to be caught but also when the access to the tunnels was locked. You could gain access to the locked basements of the dorms or class buildings of East Campus through jimmied windows, doors accidentally left unlocked (or rigged not to lock), or picked locks. Once you made it into the tunnels, you still had to contend with locked gates and other obstacles. Tales were told of people being able to kick open gates or pick the locks but sadly, our our breaking and entering skills were not that developed. Tales were also told of people making it into the basement storage area of the formal dining area, the Magnolia Room, on East Campus and helping themselves to souvenirs such as cups and saucers or making it halfway down Campus Drive. Sadly, my little group couldn't claim either of those feats either. We did however, make it into the tunnels and spent about an hour down there. We definitely made it into more than one basement. We squeezed ourselves through, over, and under spaces that human bodies were not meant to fit through. I remember going over one gate that had such a small amount of space over it that every part of me had to be forced through (and I was a small fraction of the size I am now back them). Since none of us had the foresight to bring cameras, the only souvenirs we brought out were bumps, bruises, and scrapes. Sadly, my bruises were all along the inside of my thighs (from squeezing over that gate) and you can just imagine the looks I got as I walked around campus for the next week or so. Well, I guess I did come out with one other souvenir. I have a great story to tell.

So my friends, do any of y'all have a good story about recreational trespassing or some cool pictures of urban decay? Do you think you would ever have the guts to do something like Shane Perez or would you even want to do it?

* his other photos are well worth looking at but can NOT be considered safe for work as there are nude models in some of them

** Here are a couple of cool links that tie into the Shane Perez story...



Bean said...

I grew up surrounded by urban decay in Detroit, MI...


it makes me sad more than anything...

The Lynchs said...

I love your Duke story! Makes me wish that I was more daring ;)

AnotherDreamer said...

How freaking cool!

And no cool pictures here, just some random ghetto pics from where I used to live. There is a bridge I want to take a picture of over the river... the only thing left is the cement support pillars. And in the summer they get swallowed by the vegetation, it's beautiful.

I don't think I'd have the guts to do something like that- I would be too afraid of the repercussions if I were caught.

Colette S said...

I didn't go to college...as yet so I missed all that fun :)

Your adventures sounds quite interesting! Makes me smile and wished I had experienced college as a teen.

I think if I had a friend to travel with I'd have the guts to do that. It's easier with a companion I think.

Arlette said...

I don't have any daring stories to tell. I am such a wuss. I did enjoy hearing about yours, though.