It goes without saying that Las Vegas is a green town …. Not the Green Party kind of green or the Avacado kind of green or the gently rolling hills covered with grass kind of green.
Its about pursuit of the kind of green you keep folded up in your wallet ..The kind you use to buy new Mercedes and trips to Hawaii ..The kind you use to pay your mortgage and buy groceries … Its all about the green baby. Except when it isn’t..
The Intensity of Humanity in the City of Sin or a Drive in the Suburbs
The Mercedes Man and the POS Chevy.. Denim Mom meet in the middle
by Royal Hopper
You can make the most intense of discoveries from the oddest most common of things in this city. Its funny how the patterns start to repeat themselves when you really look. Just the things people do on the way to their cars can tell you a lot about them
For starters you when you see two drivers one approaching a fully decked Mercedes next to a junked out Chevy held together by wires and hope.
You drive by barely noticing ..anything really. It is the way of the city. All things fade into the background as you drive. You focus on the traffic on the lights on the police cars cataloging each thing assessing its significance and then forgetting it as you pass. It is the urban way of life _ a way yo keep the myriad of ordinary sights and sounds from overwhelming your worried mind.
Then a problem causes the traffic to halt and amid the torrent of muffled curses and people staring at watches and calcualting the delay you sigh and huff and look over to your right seeking a way out of the jam… a parking lot short cut to a side street maybw.
You find youself staring at the parking lot with academic intensity hoping for a way around the mass of metal, plastic and humanity stalled on the Sin City street. Theres no real hurry really. There is plenty of time to get where you are going but you dont want to wait. It is the Sin City attitude ..the way of the city. Even if all you are going to do is eat a sandwich in a restaurant you don want to wsit an extra five minutes to do it …screw that.
For some reason as you scan the large parking lot of a way around the jam you notice two cars parked next to each and catch your eye as the drivers approach.
One is a Mercedes spotless and perfect ..brand new and humming with status and disposable income. The other is an old Chevy. You can tell because the company logo is visible but all other signs of the car’s origins are obscured by dust, dirt and past accident damage. The paint has faded and the plastic cracked with visible dings all over its utilitarian get me to the market and the job surface.
The traffic comes to complete stop and every channel on the radio you like is playing crap songs for some reason So You return to staring at the cars. After awhile the Chevy’s driver an attractive in a girl with kind eyes kind of way walks up the the car decked out in last year’s denim and a host of free promotional give aways..You guess she is a Mom by her figure and the assorted worn out stuffed animals in her worn out Chevrolet chariot of domesticity.
You instantly have empathy for her amd realioze few likely would a kindred spirit perhaps a fellew outsiders dealing with the world as best she can.
She spots you staring at her and doesn the oddest thing ..She doent cringe or frown and flip you the bird she smiles and waves at you with a familar smile. Not knowing what elese to do you wave back at her slightly and manage a small smile. She has decided you are not dangerous and apparfently feels flattered that you are staring at her in her Mom jeans and free give away shirt and jacket. She even surprises you by turning her hips a little toward you so you can get a better glimpse and what she figures you are staring at which makes you smile even more. She seems to be happy someone was staring at he behind as she figures you were doing.
You see people desperate for something to do bored by life and plenty and desperate for recognition
Then as if by some divinely ridiculous sitcom script planning the driver of the Mercedes stumbles out to his $100,000 monument to excess and glares at the woman as he fumbles for his keys. Your not sure what his issue is but he looks wierd in that Sin City weird rich guy kind of way.
Denim Mom looks back nervously at Mercedes man breaking the spell between you and the woman clad in Mom denim and give away shirts and jackets…She knows him from somewhere and isnt happy to see him.
Mercedes man stares at her and takes a few steps toward her. It is impossible to tell what he wanted but the glare in his eyes and frown on his face dont speak well for the ending to this tense standoff. The intentions could have been harmless but Denim Mom was not happy about his approach and looks over at you for a moment before beginning to fumble for something in her front seat which she had patially opened. Perhaps it is a can of pepper spray or a pipe or a loud speaker. Who knows in this city. She could have a .45 stuffed under the seat.
While part of you Wants to defuse the situation your Sin City survival instincts are screaming stay out of it.. In a sudden burst of inspiration you pop your horn a little. Not a huge blast just a little hey girl whats up with you kind of thing and you wave again this time big enough for both to see ..and say ..”Hey whats up,.” Neither probably heard your words but they both look up at you.
The man glares at your travel worn pick up truck with the support the troops magnet on the back and then at you like an Doberman or a scrawny looking wolf staring at the sheepdog wondering if the shepherd and his horse is nearby.
With practiced Sin City Security guard style and bluff you just stare back and smile slightly before turning back to the woman and waving your hand again and unbuckling your seat belt a little just in case you have to open the door for her to climb in or grab the pipe behind your seat.
For what seems like 10 minute but was probably a few seconds ..You all stand there staring at each other. Then Mercedes Man gets bored or worried or both rolls his eyes and gets in his car pulling away his $1,000 a piece tires screaming with the effort and leaving a smoke trail of synthetic rubber and expensive Brazilian reefer (I don’t actually know what kind of weed it was but it sounded good)
Denim Mom waves at you again this time with a smile of genuine warmth and gratitude ….then gets back in her tired old proletariat chariot and turns on the ignition of its tired worn out engine.
As the old Chevrolet rumbles to life straining with age and long needed repairs as it pulls away out of the parking lot, as if by the same almost comic B Movie timing the traffic begins to clear up. You replace your seat belt turn your eyes back to the street wondering if you would have actually had the guts to smack the Mercedes man …then you the music up on your favorite Metal Station and move on toward your destination fading back in the neon jungle just as quickly as for that one brief moment you exited it and became a person interacting with another person.
You see many extremes in this city ..You see obscene wealth that spends hundreds on a sandwich and a cup of tea and makes sure everyone knows it . You see hand to mouth poverty where every dollar earned is dedicated to survival or placating whatever demon or angel you have managed to acquire in your travels …You see $500 a pop slot machines and $ 1 beer and hot dogs.
The obsession with that feeling of winning the big hand of filling the inside straight ..of chasing that empty feeling of arbitrary triumph, the false notion that being wealthy or being good at football or hustling somehow makes you more important in the cosmic scheme of reality than the person who is struggling to pay the bills and hold themselves up with some dignity … It is as potent as any drug ever made. It fills the night sky in this city. It is in the air and water and make no mistake about it in the end you are both just specks in the dust storm….Gotta stop watching dystopian sci fi before bed .
That is life, love and karma in the City of Sin.
May the muse bless your waking and dreaming hours and may your demons stay silent and your angels sing like a stack of four story amps at a grand metal reunion.
Love You Sinners