Thursday, June 09, 2011

Rural Decay


In about 1966 or 67 a new office park was developed just east of Atlanta near Decatur named Executive Park. I remember it well because the company I worked for, Sinclair Refining Company, moved their headquarters there from downtown Atlanta.

Sinclair Refining Company, not long after their move, was bought out by BP (British Petroleum). They had one of the largest, if not the largest, building in the park. It stood like a huge castle of Yuppydomland overlooking the I-85 Expressway. The big bright BP sign on top was like a beacon to all wayward people who wanted nice materialistic values with a pastoral backdrop.

The park was a pacesetter of office parks of that kind. It was in a huge park-like nature that had respect for the natural environment. The streets were not straight, the all seem to have natural curves. The lawns, trees, and bushes were all sculptured and kept up. By the way, I was told this, up until the other day I have never been inside Executive Park.

It was a beautiful rural backdrop for a business center that has traditionally had an urban backdrop. The bottom line: No muggings or panhandling and free parking.

That was then. Now is now.

We had reason to go to a branch of Emory the other day, that had an Executive Park address.

The once thriving hub of the business community was mostly vacant. Most of the buildings appear to be vacant. The BP Building, which apparently later became an AT&T building was void of life. The bushes and trees had lost their human pruning touch and went back to the wild- out- of -control nature-look.

One building that looked like it was once a nice inn or motel was empty with grass growing in cracks of the parking lot. It had a chain blocking the drive way as other buildings did.

I saw a cluster of kids walking on the edge of the road. I wondered what they were up to?

The Emory 5-storied medical building we went to was interesting. I bet Emory got it for a good price. It was probably once a plush office building. Now, it is a building with crowded waiting rooms on each floor. One waiting room we spent some time in I noticed a lot of the people waiting were middle age with body-shirts, short-shorts, and tattoos. The whole scene, with what it probably used to be in mind, it reminded me of the movie DOCTOR ZHIVAGO.

As a side note to our visit to this building that has nothing to do with the general theme: I left the examining room and had plans on meeting up in the waiting room by the elevator. Evidently I made the wrong turn into the wrong hall and so far down turned again into another corridor and sensed getting deeper lost. It was like a reoccurring nightmare I have from time to time, getting more lost. Then in one of the rooms I walked by was a little waiting room with a receptionist behind a counter. There were no people waiting. The waiting room was void of people except the receptionist. She gave the directions how to get back to the waiting room by the elevator. I think she thought I was a nut after I told her I didn’t know how I got there. I followed her directions and found the waiting room and the elevator. It was like I just fell off the screen of a badly directed surrealistic B-Movie.

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