Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Sliding Your Life Away!

I did not draw this picture, it was found and used for demonstration purposes, and it works.

It may or may not freak you out to know that there are alternative methods of getting out of burning buildings - the galvanized steel, spiralling slide may not be your first choice - the staircase looks pretty good when you think about a burning hot building and the steel slide's surface heating up with every spinning, twisting, curve - then again, it is enclosed - what am I talking about? Oh, I should have told you up front. I spent five years of my life in a building in downtown Oklahoma City with the distinction of having the ONLY sliding fire escape in the entire Southwest. I think St. Louis has a slide in a building as well - gotta tell you - freakish things happen inside the slide!

The Ramsey Tower was built in the year 1935, right along side the First National Center both vying for the position of being the tallest and first, skyscraper in the city of Oklahoma City. Remember, Oklahoma only became a state in 1907, so to have a few skyscrapers going up only 28 years later - well, that says something - it says we're incredibly slow at more than just giving our employees raises, we also take our time at building them places to work. The Ramsey tower, located at 204 N. Robinson, did win! It finished off just shy of 3400 feet, but add a little spiral thingy-majig and you got the winner! I read a historical article about Mr. Ramsey, he was the architect for the Empire State Building - so he at least had experience. He also cheated a bit, cutting off several rooms, offices, and space that he had originally intended to be attached to the building, but he wanted to win the race - He did it too!

The Ramsey Tower became the Liberty Tower, the City Tower, City National Tower, it was called the Pencil Building for a long time, but now I think it's just City Place - or more locally referred to as the "brownish building just across the street from Leadership Square, the one with the Interurban Restaurant". That was MY building for five years and I loved it. Getting out of it wasn't a problem for me. I took the elevator - my children, however, chose the more entertaining method - they took the slide as often as they could get away with it.

The slide itself is not dangerous - it makes you puke your guts out when you're finished, yes, but it is not dangerous. The slide slopes just so in order to give you the dignity you need upon finishing your 31 story flight, to stand up, brush off the dust from your bum, and exit the pseudo elevator doors that do actually open up onto the ground floor - for everyone to see you! They do see everyone who exits, because they stand around waiting for it. The security rarely watches, they've grown tired of the hassle of writing up everyone who rides the slide - and they can't write you up if you have a valid excuse. We used to tell people to say "I dropped my glasses and had to go after them", or "I lost my dog, have you seen him?" Anything will work as long as you don't stand there with that look of dumbfounded barfy-ness on your face - but if you do lose your cookies on a security guard - you will get written up! (word to the wise, exit to the East, there's a trash can outside the main door.)

While teaching I used to give credit to any of my willing students if they would experience the slide, bring a video back, and let the class watch! I've seen over 50 videos from my own students, and an equal amount from their friends - it's just a great deal of fun to break the law and tape yourself doing it I guess - I always told the kids NOT to rat me out - but to say they lost their glasses, their dog, their homework - and of course to carry that object on their person so they could produce it when questioned. A good sized brown paper bag is good, not only to sit on during the ride -but you know, to catch your guts when you land.

In case you're wondering, it takes about 4 minutes and is over 70 resolutions from top to bottom and yes, you're spinning in the dark, barely catching a glimpse of light from time to time as you pass a floor that may have forgotten to turn out the exit-closet interior light - which you thank GOD for when you see it....I left ours on, but we were on the 28th floor, not much of an answered prayer since it starts just 3 stories above us. There you go - a cheap way to thrill yourself, your lover, your friend, your teacher - the best time of day to do this is after 7 p.m. if you can get in, do the restaurant/bar thing - it's the best excuse...but I warned you about the need for the fast exit. Don't say I didn't.

Have fun! (Oh, and to you Mr. Edward H. Moler - THANK YOU for the 5 years of perfection!)

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