Pride, Preservation and the Holidays in Sin City

By Royal Hopper 

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Cell Phone image of Sin City back roads this Monday _ Royal….sue me I had to use the batteries in my camera for Christmas gifts ….So cell phone photos will have to do

A lone woman in a Sin City café searches in her painfully preserved, much used change purse, her arms shaking a bit with the effort.
On a Sin City sidewalk a man jogs down the street dressed in blue jeans with no shoes …his black sock clad feet hitting the pavement with determination.
In a nearby arcade a middle aged man wandered into arcade arena realizes people are watching him walk toward a video game with a handful of tokens and pretends to be looking for someone else to give the tokens to before striding toward his favorite video game. “No I’m not actually here to play video games I really walking through the a room
Across the café another woman proudly shows off her fancy broad brimmed lace hat last popular before prohibition took hold of the country.

Pride and the attempt to preserve it may be the one constant in the universe. It is a paradigm constantly at war with our better nature our sometimes justified sense of self preservation and need for attention. We all strive to meet the bar of our chosen environment and seek some approval from the denizens in it.
Maybe the man jogging down the street lost his jogging suit and was so desperate for a run he left his Nikes sitting on the curb and just started running. Maybe he was just so drunk he wandered into the street sans shoes and was desperate to convince everyone some homeless guy hadn’t stolen his shoes while he was passed out _ he started to jog.
Back in the café…

After a few painful seconds the well worn white haired diner seems to realize all she has to tip the hard working server is a hand full of coins mostly pennies. After a very pregnant pause in time she finally manages to fish out a handful of coins; mostly pennies takes what is for her a deep breath and starts to hand them to the waitress. Perhaps she doesn’t want the senior discount or is fishing for exact change or more likely a tip, because you always tip something in Vegas. …
On the street the shoeless black socks guy starts to slow down then suddenly realizes its cold and people are watching ….he resumes jogging_ hurtling down the street with a runners stride anyone would be proud of.
“I’m just jogging in my socks …really…”

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Vegas street scene

At the café mustering what pride she has left the elder diner attempts to give the pennies she has to the waitress who is leaning over the table smiling the way many people do when presented with an uncomfortable choice. What is the right thing to do you take the tip with a smile ??? Or tell her it was your pleasure and put the white haired diner’s pennies back in her worn change purse.
“No honey it’s all right,” she says smiling the smile of those who have struggled with a difficult decision and are certain they have made the right choice_ like an actor who knew she had hit her mark and didn’t need to wait for the director to yell cut to walk off the set with a smile.

After a week in the relative banal safety of the suburbs I ventured back into the city to once more punch a clock and earn my keep. A week hadn’t changed the City of Sin one bit. Everything was in its place. Men who should know better still invited strangers to their room and woke up broke, a wealthy retiree won $14,000 playing penny slots.. Right down the aisle from a retiree who got a job so he could bet on the horses.

The last two shopping days before Christmas were more crowded and dangerous than some of the casinos on the strip. It was more like a mosh pit in LA than a suburban shopping mall I visited this week in the City of Sin.

That’s Christmas in the City of Sin
Rock on Sinners
I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a New Years full of fun

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contributing photographer Matt S.

Girls with bizarre nicknames still prowled the brightly lit neon hallways and Elvis still popped up from time to time looking for that two for one buffet and a buddy name Snowball. Perhaps the one constant in the universe isn’t pride after all Perhaps in the end we all are just playing a roll and we want to make sure we get our lines right.

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