Five years ago this week, I started the process which sped me to Las Vegas. Mine wasn’t a calculated move but one performed more through necessity. Instinctively I knew it time to leave New York because other than inertia were there any reasons to stay?
In 2013, the Quarropas I’d known, had spent my lifetime, the locale which had created me, had vanished completely. Or as I could glibly tell any Nevadans who asked, “Whatever I miss was already gone before I left.”
The people treasured, the places we proclaimed ours, even my career, each gone. Reluctantly, I recognized the opening to start anew. With little remorse I walked through that door. After all who or what was around to keep me in the Northeast, to dissuade me from leaving?
Turning my back was less painful than I imagined. Of course all the ties had already been cut. Like Viking colonizers, I figuratively burned my boat upon beaching in Nevada. Down the road I may decide to leave Las Vegas, but returning to New York exceptionally unlikely.
I much would’ve preferred resettling in Tucson. The Sonora Desert city hadn’t provided nearly as many formative experiences as mined throughout Gotham, but these for the most part were further involved. As if all the life components collected in New York were finally assembled in Arizona.
Unfortunately or fortuitously for me, though, Arizona failed embracing this son. Any adoration was one-sided. Odd how Las Vegas, an absolute stranger, opened up completely to me, while Tucson, a place with which I sat on intimate terms, reserved its acceptance.
Put plainly, Las Vegas welcomed me. Inexpensive as Arizona was compared to New York was Nevada even less expensive. Given its transient nature, one I’m not yet fully comfortable with though have adapted, gaining Silver State employment had none of Arizona’s procrastination.
Despite the background I presented prospective Tucson, and yes, Phoenix, employers, they dithered. Was time of the essence? No. Was I desperate for work? Not at all. Thankfully I’ve come West debt-free. Also I’ve never been one of those wage slaves whose profession defined him.
I carry this from my parents and all the people I esteemed growing up: one works to live; not lives to work. Nonetheless I wanted to embark on new adventures and the Sonoran powers who could’ve feathered my financial future used glacial speed to contemplate it.
What wasn’t quicker in Nevada? Cash on hand eased buying property. After several wrong jobs I found a suitable one and have stuck with it. Is it what I saw myself doing at this hour? Nope. But had I ever believed my Eastern former employers dumb enough, indifferent enough to succumb to the curse of the third generation? Really, whoever could’ve seen that?
It helped I’m at a mature stage of life. My needs now are basic on the way to vanilla and my self-image less complicated.
Just as well Arizona gave me the cold shoulder. To a lesser degree than Gotham, I’d still have been tempted to place transparencies over present Tucson and tried summoning previous aspects. That would’ve mired me today. With no past, zero attachments in Las Vegas, I can proceed minus hindrance and care.
Troublesome, though, is the knowledge I’ll likely never find or make the sort of associations in Nevada which built and sustained me as in New York or Arizona. Again that transient factor. If anyone ever asks the main difference, the most discernable difference between the Silver State, and the Northeast and Southern Arizona, that’s it.
Las Vegas residents, they come and they go. Relations are facile here. Despite having met plenty of people throughout almost five years of residence, not a one has gotten close or remained close. I doubt these connections will improve. Then again, though, knowing the material available, have I met anyone in Nevada I’d willingly want to take into any confidence?
Here’s the tradeoff: an easier financial existence in lieu of meaningful human contact.
I won’t make and keep any buddies in this Big Mayberry in the Mojave. I don’t gamble or smoke, the local addictions.
There are few, if any, bars in the traditional refuge sense. What bar in the Mojave excludes video poker machines? Nicotine stokes the gambling habit and cigarettes must accompany onscreen games of chance. Both feed one another and devour locals.
Therefore, cocktails as social grease as they’d be regarded beyond Nevada simply complement joker poker and cancer sticks here. Engrossed in such leisure vices as the habitués are, there’s scant opportunity for strangers immune to these diversions to narrow the distance.
Six months ago in Tucson for a respite weekend, through random chance I met two women whose simple charms reminded of conviviality seldom enjoyed since departing the East. Or the last time I visited Tucson.
Wasn’t it pleasant just to chat, and, yes, flirt innocently? Perhaps owing to Las Vegas’ inherent rootlessness, but after almost five years in this city nonetheless, too many of the same kind of casual exchanges begin with lassitude then careen into typical transactional prattle.
There have been several Las Vegas women with whom I’ve shared intimacies, most notably “Shadow.” Her stripper name was “Shadow.” By the way, isn’t the title for such arm candy “stripper-girlfriend”?
Elsewhere in America earning scratch as a stripper or even a “working girl” might be the sort of professions that should launch countless noses into the air. Here in less judgmental and libertarian Nevada, how one pursues the lucre necessary to live may be less a deciding factor than the fact of having attained it to flash.
Where does money perfume what “decent” society elsewhere deems vulgar better than in Las Vegas?
In real messy life “Shadow” went by Anne, a much younger woman with children and maybe a husband, a fellow distinguished by ambivalence. She was a rail thin, cinnamon-shaded Eurasian streak of dark sex.
The brunette’s unconventional look had attracted and inspired Klanger, a metal sculptor from Oceania. With Haley’s Comet infrequency he visited Las Vegas. Like the presence Anne presented, an observer either instantly grasped what Klanger fashioned or never did. Perhaps he eventually rendered her as an object; a mesmerizing figure now on display in a collector’s vitrine.
Between us we knew her as “the Modigliani Girl.”
Anne made me chuck a lifetime of accepting wedding vows as inviolable. Neither she nor that fellow she claimed her husband adhered to them. Untroubled by their own liquid fidelity, I also stopped bothering with my part of the charade.
Other than peeling her clothes Anne possessed certain tolerances that attracted a peculiar clientele. For what their indulgences cost her one hopes they paid her well.
Maybe if Anne had met me at a contemporary age and that man’s energy still mine to spare towards her effort, yeah, we might’ve surmounted all she brought to the party. But then he was a shallower male. Still learning, less bold and more thoughtless as that New Yorker was, could he have seen the woman beyond her encumbrances as had the new Nevadan?
Unlikely. Wouldn’t he have just fucked her and after tiring of Anne and her circus, have abandoned the particular pleasures “Shadow” offered?
Yet that guy wouldn’t have been living in Las Vegas.