Reemergence Maybe

Perhaps this last weekend of May 2022 is the one that finally returns the visiting hordes who once flooded Las Vegas. After all, Memorial Day, or as it should’ve remained, Decoration Day, is seen as the unofficial start of summer.

According to hopeful leisure industry analysts, Americans are busting with all sorts of pent-up desire to getaway. Two years of Covid conditions have made us stir crazy. Where better to let everything hang out and fly the freakiest freak flags than Las Vegas? A city where even if strangers knew your name, they’d be too involved in their own personal deviances to notice others.

Anyone working directly in the hospitality industry or its adjuncts is counting on such participants who contribute to Las Vegas’ “What happens here, stays here” tall tales.

No matter what sort of happy faces the tourist bureau sketches, the numbers just haven’t been there. It’s fine that conventions and spectacles have returned to the city, yet post-Covid attendance has been generally woeful.

Since the easing of restrictions and gradual resumption of the city’s main livelihoods – entertainments and amusements – every event has been looked upon expectantly. Too few events have lived up to their anticipations.

Maybe this is the weekend whence at least one drought in the Mojave ends.

Since relocating to Las Vegas nearly nine years ago, there’s one peculiarity that’s become quite apparent. Conspicuous mention. Not consumption so much, as declaring. A phenomenon which has become pronounced in the last two years.

Before, there was some restraint in promoting one’s self-worth. Yes, visitors backed by corporate expense accounts and sources which provided the sort of discretionary income working people know as good salaries weren’t modest about the amounts they’d spent on tomfoolery and mischief. After all, in Las Vegas it’s not enough to flaunt it if you got it – flout that and more, too, baby!

To some the immodesty of the last two years might appear to have precedents in the decline of the Roman Empire.

The amount of money floating around Southern Nevada is enough to drive the wrong people insane. As is, unless one is thoroughly grounded it’s certainly enough to turn heads and disrupt whatever passes for good sense these days.

Although my family never had a pile anyone would mistake as “wealth,” living in Suburban Splendor allowed me to grow up around affluence. The observant, the smart benefited from proximity. No so much materially, though surely in outlook. Prestige, esteem, and respect cannot be bought. Received, displayed, and awarded, yes. Purchased at a high-end store’s counter, wrapped in gaudy packaging, then its opening celebrated? No.

I doubt people elsewhere glory themselves in consumption in the manner as they do while visiting Las Vegas. And, yes, it’s the out-of-towners who bray. There’s no shortage of shops selling luxury goods here. Amidst them as locals are, it’s likely residents’ heads have mostly become immune to being turned and twisted.

But visitors!? The products they admire in glossy magazines, the fashions touted by influencers they somehow unnaturally idolize, the items the famous or notorious casually buy, infrequently use, then carelessly discard, the renowned fabulous sites to be gawked at, all those – and more! – are here within strolling distance of swank hotel/casinos after taxi rides.

Before our Covid conditions, the idlest chatter consisted of night- and day clubs. Usually about the amount splurged on bottle service at the former and recoveries from the previous nights’ excesses while trawling poolside for the next potential hookup. In nearly every overheard description of the prior evening, “fun” was seldom referred. If the topics hadn’t already been revealed, casual listeners might’ve mistaken any participation as arduous.

Of course it helps realizing the clubs are geared towards young adults. Or moneyed patrons past that threshold. Trying to decide which looks more untoward, a middle to senior age man letting his wealth erase obvious years or the sweet young thing he’s trying to snare putting aside distaste while convincing herself the satisfaction and reward prospects are worth her own loathing.

In the depths of loosened restrictive Covid circumstances, the hospitality industry was desperate to fill rooms. Businesses dependent on hotel/casinos sought to earn cash from any kind of trade. Therefore, enterprises reduced rates and prices in order to gin whatever sort of money churn possible.

An earlier post described the chumps and busters who deluged luxury Strip properties. The industry learned from its greed. That enticing bodies, any bodies, to town ultimately didn’t pay. Worse, the videos on social media from said visitors vandalizing and rampaging tarnished Las Vegas’ image.

Learning from its errors, better, correcting them, the industry raised prices just enough to substantially lessen the chaff without scaring away budget conscious visiting opportunists. Until business understood what the severe discounts attracted, those marring the city’s image consisted of that deadbeat element. They only found themselves staying on the Strip because stimulus checks covered transportation, lodging, and maybe a half decent meal among fast-food refills.

Amazing how jacking up rack rates $50 a night improved the clientele. Improved as in having wherewithal, not attitudinally necessarily.

After Business 101 vanquished faces familiar on rogue’s galleries, more desirable – i.e.: bearers of more disposable cash – travelers filtered into the city afterwards. Were they here to take advantage of Covid induced bargains? Certainly.

Costs above summer season discounts would’ve dissuaded them from alighting onto this Mojave pavement during favorable blocs of year. Although then-necessary restrictions limited what was accessible and available, they were grateful to be inside Las Vegas properties once thought beyond their means. Moreover, several days and nights of leisure in Southern Nevada provided a welcome respite from freezing, shoveling, and scraping in four seasons America.

Yet this same portal also permitted entry for higher earning though more temperamental guests. Too many of them came seemingly bearing grudges rather than seeking enjoyment. Predominant among them, foot soldiers in the urban entertainment industry. While not the instigators, creators, or innovators of our influencer riven pop culture, they perform the scut work that make performers and celebrities fabulous. Aspire as they do to equal or exceed talented bold-faced names, proximity, and even that tenuous, must suffice.

A listener wouldn’t have needed been close enough to eavesdrop because said functionaries blared while name-dropping personalities for whom they toiled. “For,” never “with.”

What instance of reference wasn’t an attempt to surpass the previous figure mentioned by another or rachet up the importance some menial production task or fulfilling a star’s whim? It didn’t take great clarity to understand the eminences spoken of probably regarded these underlings slightly, if at all; nor deep vision unnecessary to see in them thwarted hopes to be recognized on higher levels than the curbside ones measured against.

Resentful as one presumes they were of their low stature, ensconced in Las Vegas accommodations better than ever hoped must’ve validated them immensely. Didn’t their behavior reflect this? Particularly towards service and mid-level supervisory personnel.

Bad as the earlier wave’s chumps and busters acted, the second’s tightwads were bigger pikers and stiffs. The first group practiced parsimony because, admittedly, they traveled on the narrowest margins. The latter group arrived with thicker rolls. Familiar with famous personages as claimed, then surely shouldn’t they have absorbed how those renowned – well, the worthwhile ones – conducted themselves?

Las Vegas residents drawing employment through the hospitality industry or one adjacent to it, should’ve cringed while observing how an indecent percentage of the above guests mistreated service, housekeeping, and desk staffs. Perhaps those visitors feeling themselves tormented actually believed shit flowed down. Having been squatted over and dumped on, then disregarded, or ignored, felt the city re-emerging from Covid an advantageous moment to spoon back what had been ladled.

If one is small enough that certainly makes sense.