Friday, June 10, 2011

The Plex: In Memoriam

I did the math today and I didn't like it.

The five Plex residents are moved out. Seidle left right after graduation. Evan left last week. Steve left Wednesday. Scott is in DC for the summer. Sean has been off galavanting who knows where.

From five to zero.

There are signs of life there. A loaf of bread on the table. An unlocked back door. Couches still in place. But the computer/tv is gone. Many pots and pans are missing. The coffee table moved out. Posters taken down and moved. It changed. The residents I know are gone. The time of the Plex has ended. Part of me wants to claim that it won't ever end, at least not as long as there are Navs guys living in it.

My time at the Plex, at least as it has been for me the last two years, has ended: I no longer feel like I can stop by anytime for no reason at all.

I regret never filling the living room with newspapers. It would have been a great prank. I never pulled it off because the house always had people in it. Morning noon and night.

What is The Plex? This was the right side of a duplex on I Alley in State College. Two years ago, several of my friends from Navigators moved in and began an exciting two years as residents of the somehow chosen "central location" for any and all social activity. Whenever we wanted to have an event, the answer was, "Oh, well we could go to the Plex." Theo Thursday to post Nav Night hang outs to movies to dinners. Everything. It was a place that I began to stop by randomly just to see what was happening, sure that if I just stuck my head in the door I would find friends who were also hanging out in the living room, introduce me to "Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog" and feed me whatever was being messily made in the tiny kitchen.
It was a place of home. I went there to hide from my residence hall when it became too stressful. Last summer, I went there everyday after work even if no one else was home. I was found many times asleep in a nap on the couch. My mail even went there since I spent more time there than at my apartment. I went there for theological discussions and debates. I went there to offer hospitality (strange because I didn't actually live there) and to receive it. I went because... well, that's just where everyone went.

I know it wasn't so easy being a full time resident of the Plex. Having an "open door" culture be sprung on you over time had to have driven the guys crazy. The place was always messy, ranging from slightly disheveled to unmentionable. There were several people (not residents) who developed an hardwired feeling that they had to clean it when they came in the door: dishes, floors, vacuuming, bathroom. It was somehow all of our spaces.

And when dynamite was found in the neighborhood and houses evacuated, where did we all go? The Plex front porch to watch the action as the bomb squads came.

All of this is basically to say: thank you. Thank you to the guys who have lived there and made it a place to be a home to far too many people too many times. And also thank you to the people who made it their homes and offered its shelter and food to others, who were part of a strange community.

I am holding the memories dear.

Some favorite memories:
  •  Theo Thursday nights. The early ones where I would consistently eat half of a Cheese It bag. I still owe Steve Sylvia many Cheese It bags.
  • Last summer and the many dinners there.
  • Sleeping on the couch after it rained on us when we slept in the backyard after the bear chase.
  • The dinner the guys made before the Navs formal Junior year.
  • Brown 'drank.
  • Walking in at 1pm to find Seidle sitting on the couch with the blanket. He had spent the night on the couch, sans pants, and had yet to go get dressed.
  • Stopping by on the way back to Patty's Place after evening classes. Just for the heck of it. One night being introduced to "Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog" when I should have been writing a paper.
  • Going upstairs only once when I broke my toe nail in half and it was bleeding.
  • Loosing many items and finding them again in the couches.
  • Watching the majority of the movies in college in that living room.
  • Hiding there after a Christmas party, tired and emotional, and sleeping on the couch until someone took me home.
  • The walk from Simmons Hall to the Plex. I could have done it blindfolded at one point, all several miles of it.
  • Navigator hang outs and fires in the fire pit.
  • Backrubs given and received.
  • It being, in general, my favorite place in all of State College to be on any given day.

(Please add your own to the comment section if you are one of the many who have been loved through the Plex open door)


Melanie said...

My Top Plex Memories (or the ones I’ve thought of thus far):

•Game nights! Euchre, Settlers of Catan, Acquire, Bang, and San Juan. Especially the night that Steve planned to play games all night and then fell asleep.
•Christmas at the Plex, as symbolized by its heartwarming and REAL (I hate fake plants) Christmas tree.
•Plex family arguments, like the one regarding a certain Easter bunny ornament that was placed on the front of the aforementioned Christmas tree.
•I know Dana already mentioned it, but the dinner the guys made for us junior year before the Navs dance. Me: “What do I owe you guys for this dinner? (they made delicous salmon!)” Evan (paraphrase): “You don’t owe us anything. You just got taken out, Mel.”
•Theo Thursday discussions, including those nights most or all of us just ended up hanging out most or all of the time. Lots of people crowded into the living room for said discussions, preferably including cookies.
•Showing up at the Plex to use their Internet when ours wasn’t working during finals week and awkwardly crashing their Braveheart bible study hangout between bouts of shiver-filled studying in the basement.
•Trying to explain the Plex to other people, “It’s fine that you don’t know anyone who lives there…it’s the Plex, of course you can come over.”
•Many, many late nights walking home from the Plex much later than I’d planned, knowing the time with friends was worth a tired tomorrow.

Plex, I echo Dana’s thanks. You guys are the best.

Dana M. Ray said...

The easter bunny! Definitely a winning moment, especially when I pissed Steve off by actually stealing it. Or how about Ken Anderson being the angel on the tree one year?

Also add: Firefly many repeated times.