Thursday, December 23, 2010
Viva Las Vegas Vs Leaving Las Vegas pt.2 Vegas Strikes Back
You know, I thought I had you sussed out Vegas. And for the most part I did. You thrive on income mistakenly designated as disposable and the willingness of tourists who are obliged to sit and watch Wayne Newton gurgle Danke Schoen long after he has surrendered his ability to change facial expressions as a result of one too many trips under the knife. Yours is a haven of Ed Hardy movers and tiny dog in purse shakers. My love for you reminds me of those Don Henley songs I liked when I was 12 and didn't realize that Mr.Henley was just a yuppie who drummed for a band largely responsible for the proliferation of country rock. Yes he wrote songs about hotels in California. But he also wrote songs about the demise of relationships, the losing of oneself and I think he wrote a song about Tequila Sunrises too.
So I got to thinking about you when I found myself in one of your more unsavory locales performing community service to obtain some much needed extra credit as a result of my predilection for not reading any chapters assigned to me by an instructor teaching a course that encourages people to run into buildings on fire. I tried to explain to the instructor that I did in fact perform charitable deeds throughout the year by way of dressing up as a storm trooper, while raising funds for a local women's shelter. I do this while wincing underneath the helmet from verbal shrapnel sounding something like "Holy crap, that's a lot of nerds." Then there was the time someone sucker punched Vader, which isn't nice despite how you might feel about his actions in the Star Wars franchise (remember though, he did save Luke so he too deserves a break) but to compound the galactic bitch slapping, the attacker brought along an accomplice to help jump Vader. Vader clotheslined one, and punched the other guy in the face. True story.
When the teacher explained to me he couldn't award me any extra points for dressing up like a Star Wars character in my free time, I was forced to seek out alter options for charitable deeds. I stumbled across a program where volunteers fed the homeless at 8 a.m., every Saturday. I must admit, I was purely in it for the extra credit as I'm a chronic slacker who wants only a C but somehow manages a constant B or A. But I needed those 15 points, so Main Street and Bonanza on an early Saturday morning it was for me. The program is a relatively bare bones one, consisting of sandwiches and coffee in addition to donated odds and ends. All of the donated items are sorted through and organized over a series of tables. And I just stood there and watched as the people shuffled by, picking out various items of varying degrees of necessity. A jacket for the man riding a serious wave of crystal meth addiction, or shoes for a man that goes by the alias Mr. Miyagi. Even still, I wasn't affected till the women and children started filing in.
And that's when you surprised me Vegas. Like any other person you have or will, or need to break up with in your life, its the undeniably awesome, cute, sexy, hip streak or attribute that complicates the complications. Maybe she liked Sonic Youth, or maybe he had a great laugh that contained no snorts. Or maybe she was there for a death, or he was there for a birth. And you Vegas? I thought I had you pegged in all your superficial velvet rope glory or your ability to import the magic of other cities only to dilute it in a dizzying display of a neon lit skid row. And you know Vegas, I was right to an extent. But I was wrong in another sense.
For all that you exude on the surface, you harbor the antithesis underneath. For all that I knew that was rotten about you, somewhere in you someone is countering that odiousness. Yes, you are a transient town where everybody comes from somewhere, just not from you. But I realize now that you have heart, and soul and are not merely what you are illustrated as in ad campaigns and movies with dead hookers in the plot line. i realize you have people who care about and act to counter the despondency of others and that alone convinces me that you have potential Vegas.
So where does that leave us, Vegas? Well, I still think we should see other people. I still think I'd be happier with someone who likes public transportation. Someone that doesn't get as hot as you in the summer. Someone who enjoys a little bit of rustic character in their buildings. But I love you Vegas, I really do. And one day, you'll rise above the din of nay saying and prove them wrong. And by then, I'll be elsewhere but I'll know i can come back and what I'll do will stay with you.