Some Observations from Vegas
So, hey there. Again, it’s been a LONG time. I won’t float any excuses your way. Life happened in a big way, but rather than dig too deeply into it, I’ll leave it at, “Mea culpa.” But not really. It’s been a great year and a half.
It’s good to be back, back writing and back blogging. In the past, though, I’ve used these pages more as overt advertisements – Hey, did you hear about this Book? – than as invitations into my life and experiences. If my writing comes from anywhere, it comes from my life. Not that the characters are people I know. But the abiding themes – suburban alienation, the distracting weight of the modern world, the reality of sin and all that it entails – these themes do emerge from a life lived…fully? I’d like to think so, at times. Often it’s more about the moments lost than the moments seized, though. And so it goes…
And so, a new direction. I’d like to use this space simply to observe and comment. If my writing has any merit, then I think it’s in the perspective it takes. An honest one, I hope, and true in important ways. But, as Mr. Darcy says, I am not to judge my own performance.
Oh, yeah. Vegas.
I’m vacationing with my lovely fiancée, Mia, and while she finishes up some work, I’ll take some time to register…
Parallel universes exist, and in plain sight of one another. Walk into the posh, almost Gilded Age lobby of Mandalay Bay and you see the chic couple gliding along side-by-side, he in his shear dress shirt, tasteful jacket and polished shoes, she in her little black dress with hair that evokes from my dated imagination images from Alberto VO5 commercials form the 90s. Crossing behind them is the lost and lumpy mid-western man in t-shirt, cargo shorts, striped socks and running shoes. Three twentysomethings in jeans and concert tees sip frozen drinks from half-yard long plastic cups. Mia and I buzz past, variously in beach wear, nightclub duds or Strip-walking comfort clothes.
In this dessert oasis there is a dearth of water fountains. It is an oasis without respite, unless you can pay for it. We buy water by the case.
I wonder how many MGM movies are set in Las Vegas, given that MGM owns, like, half the Strip. Some quick research reveals: Aria, Bellagio, Vdara, MGM Grand, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Delano, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Excalibur, Circus Circus and Luxor. Are you kidding?! So, how about the movies? Brief research was unproductive, but I’d love to know, so please share.
I can see why celebrities fall prey to drugs in these precincts. There is so much to do and to see. The first night we arrived, we were up until 1, as in 4 by our East Coast bodies’ clocks. And up again at 6:15, as in working hours back East. Then the gym, the pool, the sights, dinner, a show, more sights, another antemeridian bedtime and up again before the sun. Day 2. Or is it Day 3? You get the point. Imagine the added draw of fame- and fortune-driven parties, adoring fans clamoring to see you at your best, and the paparazzi always in tow. Now imagine the pressure to Keep Up. Need a boost? It’s the red ones, right? Or is it the blue? Wired from that latest rooftop rave? That’s what those Xannies are for. Bored despite – or because of – the intense, insistent distractions? Try a little E. “Isn’t this thrilling? This is thrilling, right? It’s SO thrilling!” Yup, I can see how some mistakes are made.
Vegas is immense, both in size and imagination. The tram and bus system are a must, even for (moderately) young and quite fit folks like us. The Strip proper, from Mandalay Bay to Encore, is over three miles. Add another to get to Stratosphere and another two to make it all the way north to seedy-kitschy-fun Fremont Street. From my Strip-view hotel room, I see a pyramid and Sphinx, Eiffel Tower (half-scale, but still massive and very cool), the tops of the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, the Statue of Liberty (again half scale and again cool) and the turrets of a cartoon-like medieval castle. And tower after tower of hotels space. Mia read the other day that it would take a person over 400 years to sleep one night in each room.
That’s it for now. More to come later..