Looking back at Nostalgia and bumping your head

By Royal Hopper

I saw an old green Cutlass on a road in Las Vegas recently as I drove past a tour bus, an Elvi in a convertible and a grandma wearing a fur coat and thought of a song, a road in Kansas and the glories of 1986.
As I dove past the usual suspects hanging out on Sin City Boulevard ..the cast of cartoon characters posing for pictures, street musicians living up a crowd on the foot bridge with bad jazz, Elvi imitators grabbing a smoke between shows and a street person holding a sign that boasted his family had been kidnapped by alien ninjas I thought of The orange /beast.

There is nothing more classically Vegas than hocking your jewelry for spending money _ Photo Royal Hopper

The Orange beast or B****as some friends called it was the bright orange 1972 Cutlass.
that I drove for awhile in the mid 80s when I was in the army. I thought of the Orange beast as I drove past the forest green Cutlass that a fellow Sinner had restored to working order and got sentimental for those halcyon days of yore I dove that Orange Beast of an Oldsmobile.
The funny thing about Las Vegas (and as this is my second time coming back to Sin City I consider myself an honorary local.) Sin City is one of the most culturally schizophrenic  places on earth, at the same time remarkably unsentimental and obsessed with the romantic glories of the past.

On one hand we will tear down or blow up a historical landmark like it was broken down chicken coop and make a party out of it in the process.
Drive past the empty lot where the old Landmark Hotel once you will see neon sign that once graced the Landmark’s Paradise Road entryway still blinking off an on shouting its neon message to all passersby and behind it an empty lot where the groundbreaking post modern architecture of the Golden Age once stood. It was a party when the old property bit the dust in a town where every day someone pretends to be a pop star that has been dead for more than 30 years.

Even the things that replaced the cliches of old are cliches now. Same song second verse _ Photo by Royal Hopper

It just seemed to fit _ Photo by Royal Hopper

“Don’t look back,” I thought as the wave of nostalgia hit me like a brick so of course I began looking back with a brief but sudden intensity. I mean looking back literally because the driver of the car behind me in some cliché mid life crisis classic SUV was angry that I was blocking their illegal lane change was honking their horn and cursing in a language I didn’t understand.
I do remember that bright orange Oldsmobile bomb had purple tinting to go with its bright orange body and was perhaps the ugliest car in the lower 48 states.
It shook like jackhammer at any speed faster than 60 mph and its oversized Oldsmobile engine sucked gas like a crack addict sucking on his last pipe or a coffee addict right before the inevitable Coffee Prohibition predicted by the random drunken psychic that was walking down the street that day

It was an ugly, impractical car and hard to drive. “Damn I miss that car,” I thought as some mindless idiot ran across the Las Vegas street in front of me narrowly dodging a unpleasant impromptu head on meeting with a Beamer, two Nissans, a bicyclist and a purple Smart Car.

“I do miss it…”

I waved at the driver and proceeded at the proper speed to the intersection. Traffic was heavy. The light at the next intersection had turned red by the time the honker who had traveled in the turn lane for quite a while trying to break in line caught up with me in my old travel worn pewter GMC pick up _ the dull, practical vehicle I now drive.

The man cursed in some accent I didn’t understand New Jerseyite or Alabaman maybe and instead of waiting 20 seconds for the light to change so I could move forward hit the gas from the turn lane and burned rubber through the red light past the black and white Police car conveniently taking in the city sights nearby who immediately turned on his flashing police lights. I must admit I giggled a bit as the cop stepped out of his car ticket book in hand.

It hurt ….mostly because as traffic drew to a halt I threw a sidelong glance at the illegal lane changing honker getting a ticket and nearly bit my lip suppressing a laugh.

The classic car was getting a classic ticket …….
Some people just cant let go of the past….

Like the 40-year-old chorus with plastic surgery and transplant scars and the old car boasting mismatched bumpers and car doors from three different shades of green we are all built of spare parts and old stuff. We are all built from the building blocks of past experience.
Like ghost of Elvis and Bugsy that seem to float over every Vegas street corner sometimes quite literally people just cant seem to let go and move on..  I guess I’m in good company..

That is life in the City of Sin

Til Next time

So long Sinners

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