Laying it on the line
Sometimes people just want to be heard
By Royal Hopper
The man holding the sign that read 17 years on the job. I had a stroke, looked resolute, angry and purposeful as he strode down his back and forth path holding his sign at chest level stomping up and down Tropicana Avenue last Tuesday. It was clear he had something to say.
Now and then the resolute man held the sign up a bit. As he lowered it again to step out of the way of a hurrying passerby or onrushing Pinto that had strayed a little to far of the road he brushed back the salt and pepper bangs of his old fashioned Buddy Holly style hair do and scowled at an unseen enemy.
In the few seconds I was able to watch him work his corner of the street he didnt seem to want anything . He didn’t look desperate or hungry ..As far as I could tell He just wanted to be heard. He wants the injustice committed against him to be known…He wants to not be invisible ..to not be another casualty in the war between the dual gremlins of hard times and bad haircuts ….Some of the time people surprise you…sometimes they just want you to watch and listen.
Not far down the street another younger less desperate looking Sin City denizen holds a sign that urges passerby to help the homeless, and a donation bucket for the help to collect money for the unfortunate in.
Perhaps understandably he smiles sedately when a bikini clad sidewalk princess walks up to ask directions and change for the payphone because her cell phone is dead. Perhaps it is forgivable when he absent mindedly reaches into his donation bucket and hands the sidewalk princess a token of his affection for her phone call.
Sometimes people here need to be noticed ..Its in their blood to draw attention to themselves, like the people who periodically appear on Las Vegas roads throughout the year holding huge yellow sign proclaiming Zionism owns the world media or the man who periodically drives down many Las Vegas streets on a bicycle honking his horn, ringing his bell and blowing a whistle the flag of a third world country, Palestine perhaps, waving in the wind and a sign taped to both his back and front. Some people just need to be noticed they need to be listened too even if most people driving down the road that day probably think Zionism is a Greek Polka band and couldn’t spell the words on their sign even if they were paid to carry them.
Some people need to be listened to.
In the same place in the same city on a different day an older person in a wheelchair strays off sidewalk into the traffic lane of a Sin City road late afternoon after the first round of free drinks for gamblers has evolved into the fourth and the fourteenth and the drivers on the boulevard barely seem to know they are on a road rather than a parking lot.
A man who has seen his better days long ago steps out in front of her and stares down an angry motorist bleeping their horn at her for several seconds before changing lanes and moving on. The wheelchair is safe on the side walk and the brave man who has seen his better days doesn’t seem to have any regrets as he walks on ignored by the person he helped. It’s not often that people in this jaded angry city will surprise you but sometimes they will. ….
I suppose not everyone needs to be heard. The quick acting savior of of the weaving wheelchair bound lady left the scene the way he found it..slinking, unnoticed, finally vanishing into the neon vista of Sin City concrete, asphalt steel and brightly colored glass.
He seemed to get satisfaction from saving his fellow ner do well in the wheel chair and forcing the BMW bothering her to back off and go its merry way.
Or maybe he did need to be noticed. Maybe his need is so intense he was willing to face down 1200 pounds of German engineered master piece just so people would see he was worth listening to.
The light turned at that intersection on Tropicana with the man holding sign proclaiming 17 years of loyalty had gotten him nothing. Realizing the line my car was in was leaving he turned to a line held captive by the turn only light which was red and held his sign up to them. He needed to be heard so badly he barely notice when someone threw a spare bill at his feet. He kept walking, holding the sign up for the contributor to make sure he read it…”The sign is the thing,” he seemed to say. I want to be heard.. And seen. I m here….or maybe he just forgot his glasses.
We are passionate people, born drama queens and performers eager to show people the truth of who we are. We are also some of the best BSers ie the best liars in the face of the planet. We can be heroes (David Bowie) or we can be villains with equal facility and we are good at both.
The thing about Vegas is its Vegas. You can never tell if someone is laying it on the line or just feeding you a line. You can never tell is someone is completely full of neon inspired crap or if they are the real thing
Whatever you say about the strangeness of Sin City. The people here have an odd earnestness about them. When they are angry, when they are sad, when they are hungry ..they tell you why. Of course the reverse is also true…Nobody spins a line like us Sinners
We can blurt out the truth like it’s the end of the world and we have nothing to lose and we can lie to your face for the price of a sandwich and cup of coffee.
Such is life in the City of Sin
take care fellow Sinners