It’s okay to know your limits
by Royal Hopper
You see a fair skinned couple stumbling down a sidewalk to where their friends are sun bathing tipsy from the alcohol they have consumed …pink from the ultra violet rays of the sun pounding their exposed skin and in danger from both the passing cars and the pedestrians who step over their sidewalk party as they pass making faces and giving stern glares as the partiers offer them a drink.
What do you call these people bold party animals who will drink alcohol and sun bath anywhere and consume illegal substances in plain view of _ well everybody ..
Do you call them rebels who just don’t care what you think of them? Do you see them in your dreams like fellow rebels partying til the end or do you foresee them one day waiting in the lobby of an oncologist to have those blotches on their skin looked at or in the emergency room after a drunk driver picks them off the sidewalk???
One of the sidewalk partiers, a young dark haired female rolls over giggling and tugging at her bikini top as it threatens to fall off and pulls her friend’s sun hat over her face apparently asleep. She has a bottle in a bag of brown crinkled paper in her hand. As she dozes off a male companion laughs and grabs the bottle out of her hand.
It is amazing what you will see just driving from place to place here if you pay attention as the cliche goes there are a million stories in the naked city ( a paraphrase of quotes used in The 50s cop show Dragnet and many more ) and a million people who think they can do things they can’t. Why do they think that?
Are they stupid ? Bold? Rebels? Are they annoying tourists about the be arrested or future oncology patients waiting to get skin lesions removed from their sun damaged skin.
One mans rebel is another’s tragedy waiting to happen. Whatever your verdict the thing to remember is every person is both things and we see what we want to see and Vegas, It doesn’t matter to the city _ the City of Sin embraces them both.
As you idle your faithful vehicle _ your foot on the brake pedal while your car is caught in a Sin City traffic jam _ one of the sidewalk partiers stands up looks at her watch and then her pinkening skin and starts to pull her shirt off her waist and slip it around her shoulders and put her sun drenched hair in a pony tail, slip her sandals on and walk away.
The friends she has partied with on the sidewalk with snicker at her and hand her a bottle gesturing for her to sit and party some more. What is in the bottle? You cant tell but it makes her pause and as she buttons up her blue and white plaid shirt. As she puts her hat and sunglasses on and pulls absentmindedly at her sun bleached pony tail she looks questioningly down the busy Vegas sidewalk toward whatever sanctuary her means can afford. She starts to walk toward it then she stops and sits back down handing the bottle back to the friend that gave it to her.
The traffic jam starts to move and you shift your focus to the car ahead of you thinking….
Vegas is a place of both fantasy and of hard reality you think looking down the street toward fake volcanoes and tropical islands and people holding signs asking for money and a woman strutting like a working girl which she obviously is.
If you listen to the the city it it will tell you the hard reality, the hard truth, even as it bathes you in fantasy that will blow your mind _ all the while trying to take your money and make you happy about it. These are some of the things I have learned about reality in the City of Sin since the day I arrived here in 1989 just out of Uncle Sam’s service.
The light turns red before you can make it across the intersection and you shuffle uncomfortably in your seat flipping the radio dial off the NPR segment on overpopulation in the Canadian wolf packs cruising all your saved stations finally settling on a hard rock party song that was popular when you were still skinny and young at heart ignoring the fact you were a nerd and didn’t drink all night and pass out not even once and that you drank a diet coke at your first Rock concert.
You look back at the corner where the party is. One of the boys in the group (maybe 40 from the look of him so not a boy) stands up and begins a little dance annoying pedestrians even more as he tried to pull one of the girls to her feet for a dance annoying one of the pedestrians enough that she pulls her cell phone put and begins to dial furiously. The boy discovers to his dismay that he cannot get the girl up to dance and grabs the bottle from her had to take a swig and then starts to stare down at the dark haired girl.
The light changes green finally and you move on your way as flashing blue red lights fill your rear view mirror as Las Vegas finest arrive to police the situation. Two blocks or so ahead you see the source of the traffic problem _ construction has blocked all but one lane and you don’t have time to wait.
With the traffic it takes you awhile to flip a u turn and start looking for a way to next street over. As you near the street where the party was you see a blue and white ambulance loading one of them into the back one of them is in cuffs and the blonde that looked at her watch ???You catch a glimpse of her watching the scene from a distance hat pulled down around her pink face sunglasses on long sleeved plaid shirt buttoned up all the way to the collar and wrist.
She stares and then as you turn toward your destination she turns away and walks to who knows where…….There are a million stories in the naked city (paraphrase Dragnet 1951 to 59)
Vegas is a lot of things. It is a haven for personal injury attorneys ….for hustlers, bad boys, players, predators and outlaws, prey and spectators. It is a place where regular people can pretend to be all of those things and where regular people sometimes run afoul of those people or become one of them either out of design, mistake or accident .
Running into another light you turn your head just able to see the piece of sidewalk the girl was standing on _ but she is gone and time is short as it always is … It is okay to know your limits and to obey them …..
That is life in the City of Sin fellow Sinners
Take Care …Love You