Default Modes

Very few Las Vegas commercial enterprises move at the speed of business.

Life in this part of the Mojave Desert is utterly geared towards leisure. The kind that seemingly becomes easy indolence.

Unless it a pleasure profession, why establish or relocate a business within the Big Mayberry? All that stuff about speed and efficiency and customer satisfaction drummed into students learning commerce? Here? Ha! Forget it!

In these Covid conditions, one might believe working people would value having jobs more so than ever. After all, for most of us employment provides health insurance. Therefore, until the situation eases and opens new job search possibilities, those positions currently occupying us offering vital benefits should be highly valued.

Yet don’t we live an age where there are some hourly and salaried types who not only throw work decorum to the wind, but get running starts before flinging what sustains them? When I see these instances, I wonder had they ever read, had read to them, or heard of Aesop’s Fables.

Allegories and parables as the fables are, they retain abilities to instill prudence, humility, and foresight into our 21st century lives. Aesop’s Fables also teach pride and arrogance may sometimes demand costlier prices than just high.

At my go-to sports book, there is a black woman clerk. Let’s call her Whirlaway Girl. Yup. That’s how much bile she’s raised. She’s curt and tart when not snippy. While Whirlaway Girl splashes her insolence on all bettors, she slimes black bettors the heaviest.

Her colleagues must notice. But as anyone who’s worked among difficult co-workers knows, many engage in self-protective measures that insist upon proceeding head down and ignoring what otherwise could affect them.

Don’t mistake it for cowardliness. See it as looking out for No. 1.

It is not for any of us to wonder why Whirlaway Girl is so spiteful. Even the most degenerate gamblers among us are in the book to gain some pleasure – and certainly collect winnings when possible! Nothing less!

Weekend racing sessions draw increased player traffic on the book’s floor and heavier volumes of wagering at the windows than workweek ones. On such days, I’m one of many attendees who maneuvers to avoid Whirlaway Girl’s window. Those who know and loathe her perform this same footwork in order to let casual or novice bettors sample what she’s spewing.

Let me say, though, I manage to have a little fun with the situation nonetheless. On those too infrequent occasions that my picks win, I purposely collect at her window. If what’s won has some heft, it’s custom to toke the clerk.

Not Whirlaway Girl. Never her.

The only words passing between us? Whirlaway Girl’s angry voice as she counts out my winnings. No. I don’t bother thanking her.

Or sometimes if I’m feeling more malicious than usual and hold a nice ticket, I’ll pull up before one of her fellow clerks. These men and women don’t cop attitude. If the day is light enough, they’re opposites of the bitter harpy. They conduct themselves quite cordially.

After collecting from them, and again only if the sum paid out is big enough, I’ll slide over a little something in thanks. Although tips aren’t expected, like any other service profession in Las Vegas they are appreciated.

I make sure to perform this act in ways Whirlaway Girl can’t miss.

Though I don’t want to jam up the job of any working man or woman – unless either is just flat-out incompetent or abjectly abrasive – several weeks ago Whirlaway Girl, as my mother would’ve said, “ran into the wrong one.”

A black bettor unfamiliar with Whirlaway Girl’s cruelty went to her window to cash his winning ticket. His prize wasn’t a whole dollar amount. She counted out the bills then piled coins beside them. The winner said he had enough pocket change to turn those coins into a full dollar.

Whirlaway Girl rebuffed him. She told him it was “too late.”

Doubtlessly the new guy thought she pulled his leg. No, brother, if Whirlaway Girl had been joshing she would’ve ripped that limb off. And if she’d been in a lousy enough mood then might’ve beaten him over the head with it, too.

Once the winner understood hers was no joking matter, as well as letting his astonishment subside, he raised his hand and voice. Gesturing and speaking imperiously, he summoned a supervisor. From then on it was just declarative sentences (the bettor) and mollifying simpering (the manager).

On my way out, I saw Whirlaway Girl in a fashion I’d never seen before. Absorbent.

There must be something other than alkaline in the Mojave atmosphere which inspires the above indifference that permits risking a well-paying job with a good benefits package. Or, as follows, mistakes hustle and sharpness for incivility.

Daily, habitually diligent relocated Seaboard Northeasterners or Industrial Swath Midwesterners are reminded of the joke about brooms only having two speeds: slow and stop. Even at paces that might’ve been regarded as half-steppin’ in our old precincts, the BARs (born and raised Nevadans) and long-time residents from elsewhere now barely swaying to the slowest desert rhythms must take us newcomers as dervishes.

An observation present New Yorkers and former Gothamites should fully appreciate and applaud – “We’re not rude. We’re just in a hurry.”

Early on during this Las Vegas tenure of mine I used that verbal shorthand on another transplant, one from less dynamic America. Naturally he found Las Vegas’ tempo, activity, and density eye-opening. Sure. “Eye-opening” if one’s peepers had been half-lidded and life never pursued beyond low velocity.

The country cousin couldn’t conceive of any “hurry” not producing rudeness. His former environment had never demanded anything being completed now. As in “right now!”

The easiest example I could’ve conjured would’ve taken place at almost every Metro Area deli counter. At lunch hour.

Back then, unlike other hours of day there were no spare minutes in which to shoot the breeze. During the lunchtime rushes customers were pressed. They must race back to work. They wanted to enjoy as much of the break as possible. They really didn’t want to bolt their food.

Call it urban courtesy. The kind instilled by harsh recall.

The person standing first in line at the counter knew those on his or her heels measured seconds in ways that condensed them. Because having already been the next customer they’d also done identical unnerving compressions.

Hurry, a proper thing in this instance, was succinctly giving the counterman or woman one’s request so he or she could’ve compiled it quickly then shift onto the next customer. Ideally, this process remains a victual assembly line until that afternoon’s rush concluded.

Rude was an indecisive customer. His or her indecision disrupted the flow. It transformed the neutral countenances of deft counter personnel into pursed-lipped, taut-faced, increasingly irked people ready to snap.

Worse, it also held up the line.

Viewers outside the Metropolitan Area who watched the television sit-com Seinfeld ever think the Soup Nazi an exaggeration? At the wrong moment activated by menu laggards, not by much.

Deli counter hesitancy prompted quick consternation. The kind that built exponentially along the length of line. By the last person, now ravenous, anxious, and resentful, whoever’s delayed forward progress must possess the sort of mental deficiency best expressed by short foul bursts in “neighborhood-accented English.”

True control was refraining from such an expulsion of what surely were common views until recalibration by the lost or wayward customer finally determined a choice which could then be sliced/spooned, garnished, wrapped, and bagged.

And that better not have taken much fucking longer.

Perhaps the above’s the explanation I ought have offered the slow on the uptake transplant whose notion of speed was mired in an alien place’s pacing and politeness. But having evaluated, slotted, and filed him, I already considered this a useless waste of effort. Mine.

Okay. If it only requires half effort to run rings around those long established here to advance against them, I don’t mind. Who with any ambition will want the rest of the field to catch up or purposely fall back to join the pack?

My Rancid Valentine

Valentine’s Day dumped a fine example of why I dissuade any high-tech venture curious about moving itself from a relatively expensive site to Las Vegas. This part of the Mojave suffered a power outage. One starting early Saturday afternoon and lingering in some neighborhoods into late Sunday. Who knows? Reluctant as the power company is to fully inform, the blackouts might straggle into Monday.

All because of high gales, not Hurricane Sandy.

These disruptions occur frequently enough to make them issues to consider. Continue reading My Rancid Valentine

Disunion

The American public would’ve disappointed Joseph Goebbels. Unlike Germans crushed by the Depression’s economic vise as well confounded by massive societal upheavals after the Great War, Americans of the last four years did not swallow the big lies. Continue reading Disunion

Persuasion at 24 Frames a Second

Too bad the ancients never divined movies. That way the celluloid art could take its rightful place among the other nine Muses. Instead if old enough in the eyes and opinions of the young and callow, films of certain vintages do not share wine’s ability to age well. Continue reading Persuasion at 24 Frames a Second

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