Friday, December 08, 2006

Utah Oddities

There are a lot of random things about Utah. Some of them I like, some of them just perplex me.

For instance, in Utah it is the habit of all of the Universities and many of the high schools, to put large white letters on the sides of the mountain. BYU has a big Y, The University of Utah has a U, and a little place like Viewmont High has a V. It is a grand old tradition to don your hiking shoes and climb the mountain to these letters. When I was a kid we used to take a picnic with us to the V and hang out and eat our sandwiches. In college, at midnight one night, a group of us hiked up to the Y. I thought I would pass out. I hadn't been back in Utah long and wasn't used to the altitude, and my asthma threatened to kick my butt right there on the trail. I only made the rest of the hike because there was a cute boy with us & I didn't want to look like a wimp.

It wasn't worth it.

I get why people (especially college students who don't drink and have nothing better to do) hike to these landmarks. But I'm not sure I understand why they are there in the first place. School pride? It confuses me.

But more confusing by far is another tradition of the Utah public.

There are overpasses here with sidewalks for those souls who would like to cross the overpass on foot. In order to keep said souls from jumping to their death, purposely or accidentally, chain link fences are erected on either side. For some reason, there is a group of people who thinks of these fences as a blank canvas. How, you may ask, would one use a chain link fence as a blank canvas?

"Simple", I answer, "use Solo Cups".

Every day on my drive home I see messages spelled out in solo cups in a chain link fence. They usually say "Welcome Home Elder Jones", or "Welcome home Sister Stevens", or something equally personal.

It's not as if I can't appreciate the need to welcome your missionaries home. Honestly. But why not ask your local restaurant or gas station, or anyone with one of those special signs with movable letters to spell it out for you? Who was the first one to stick Solo cups in a fence? And while we're on the subject, what do you figure? Does each group that comes to spell things in the fence bring their own bag of cups? Or do they just rearrange the ones that are there?

So many questions. . . none of them important, but i still wonder about it. . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a couple of comments. 1st of all, Utah isn't unique in having school letters on the mountainsides. A few years ago schools across the nation were encouraged to paint their letters red, white, and blue to welcome home troops returning from Iraq. Anywhere there are mountains you can expect there to be a few mountainside letters.
2ndly - The chainlink fences on the overpass arent' there for pedestrian safety, but rather for the safety of motorists on the freeway. They prevent said pedestrians from dropping things such as bowling balls, etc. from the overpasses onto unsuspecting vehicles traveling below.