This is how perception has re-formed amid the Mojave and the Southern Nevada mountains – bands like the Eagles and the Pure Prairie League sound more appropriate here than they ever did down in Arizona’s Sonora Desert and certainly back East in New York. Those guitars and keening voices cut through the Mojave’s harshness.
Although the poignancy of the bands’ ballads further emphasize the region’s emptiness, each offers relief to the barren horizon and the few figures populating it. Hmmm. Figure that out.
People often ask whether I miss New York, and if so what do I particularly miss. My pat reply is usually, “Whatever I miss was already gone before I left.”
Until recently that response sufficed because it was the only truth. Continue reading Saloons Instead of Salons
During the summer, beneath the droning rooftop HVAC machines and the soft lapping of the swimming pool, a curious tableau played out on the periphery of my Las Vegas residence complex’ patio. Continue reading Curious Escapades
New Las Vegas residents need accustoming themselves to the local incongruities. Living in Nevada, a state on the fringes of the mind or amid the spatial void, the usual standards seldom seem to jibe.
Las Vegas is a community where those of us passing as solid citizenry mesh daily among what others elsewhere would regard as unconventional, unhinged, unmoored, and uninhibited.
Easy as it might be to ascribe the behaviors to weirdness or eccentricities, indifference is the apt word. Remoteness and the regional disposition conspire for perfect conditions which allow a good many individuals to flout or ignore recognized forms of comportment altogether.
Probably explains the locals’ mania to mar and disfigure themselves with tats and piercings as well as dye their hair in colors unseen in nature. On the upside, though, these deviations help tell the bags of shit apart. Continue reading Dissolute Figures
Suffered my first real pang of homesickness recently.
While New York offers plenty, or Nevada lacks a lot, I knew what I was leaving behind and venturing into three years ago.
In the 30-plus years before resettling West, I’d frequently visited the Southwest. And while visiting is never the same as living, these stays informed me. I wasn’t that tenderfoot or greenhorn who showed up in February who so beguiled by the gorgeous weather believed the Mojave Desert paradise only to discover it hell June through August.
Nor was I that New Yorker who bemoaned the region’s paucity of good pizzerias.
A woman tugged the old home heartstrings. One who wasn’t even from Metropolitan New York. She hailed from Boston. And unlike some longtime New York transplants who continue playing up their old neighborhood roots decades into living here, hers wasn’t some vocal caricature that should’ve been misheard as some kind of distaff Vaughn Meader. Continue reading Graceless Nevada
Who thought it a wonderful idea that ours becomes a “cashless society”? So much can go wrong without the fungible stuff on hand. Greenbacks in pocket are reliable.
The myriad of ways we can buy items, make payments, and settle debts is astounding. Twenty years ago, the methods and devices we today take for granted to purchase and relieve would’ve smacked of science fiction.
At the rate we’re going, how soon until credit cards join currency in targeted obsolescence? If and when we become so advanced won’t we be opening ourselves to even more insidious financial mischief? Continue reading Modern Money Malady
Morning breaks bright, mild, and brilliant across Las Vegas. Through hustle, Lewy turned what could’ve been a nothing night into a worthwhile one. An Italian couple he drove out into the city’s farther eastern precincts certainly boosted his bottom line. Unaware he understood their baroque conversation, that Lewy also found them entertaining further improved his mood.
Lewy’s just climbed back into his taxi after stretching. Coupled with a series of isometrics that gets blood pumping and clears his mind. Unlike too many other drivers he remains somewhat fit and retains a good deal of flexibility. Image and presentation are vital components to his job.
It’s a basic human response: looks matter. First impressions bear outsized weight. Continue reading Las Vegas Candy
Through eloquence the couple riding in the taxi’s darkened backseat elevates their smut into an elegance unusual to Las Vegas.
Most of what the driver Lewy hears during his night-into-day shift is worse than repetitive. It’s boring, demonstrating a lack of inventiveness as well as class.
Lewy considers himself doubly fortunate. Not only is the fare lengthy, but the pair seated behind him mark early morning miles with intricate rather than mundane or raunchy conversation. To put a cherry atop all this they also converse in Italian.
Before the ride commences, Lewy gauges his passengers. Under hotel valet lights he appraised them, then once they climbed inside from the rearview mirror. Somewhere in their 50s, he intuits that while together they aren’t an established couple. His workweeks consist of seeing many pairs who’ve used the “anything goes!” behind Las Vegas to temporarily sidestep propriety and fidelity.
Fortunately, he never put much stock in morality. Especially others’ morality. Continue reading Just Listen/The Jane and Her Whore
Inside the lounge of a swank Las Vegas hotel sits a couple. Pier Paolo and Virna, both are on first glance unremarkable. Not invisible or undeserving of attention, but so absolutely placid neither grabs the eye instantly.
How unlike so many visitors to Vice City. And these are visitors.
The place, time of evening, marks them as out-of-towners. Rendering them conspicuous is their comportment. Neither revels. In fact ennui almost squeezes their compact table.
Night has deepened. Clubbing glad rags nor any increasingly acceptable casual into slovenly styles mar them. Although casually attired, their garment labels are high-end. These they wear with elegance equal to their bearing.
Observers could assume Pier Paolo and Virna a married couple. Around each other they exhibit almost a certain lassitude, an indifference, towards one another. Isn’t that common of long-settled pairs? Besides, wedding rings encircle the proper fingers.
It’s hard to determine who looks the most bored. Perhaps they are distracted or seek distraction. Continue reading Annual Discretion
Not only does Las Vegas facilitate transience, the city also encourages wading into life’s wild sides. Some visitors plunge in yet escape unscathed. A few who get in over their heads drown.
The adventurous, the curious, those thwarted elsewhere visit Vice City to conduct themselves in manners frowned upon at home. Here, they escape prying eyes and those judgmental acquaintances who squint through them. Since the city caters to inhibitions like few others, visitors can indulge among the similarly-minded and not fret about earning much, if any, opprobrium.
After all, everybody being immersed in some hip-deep misbehavior by choice should limit hypocrisy. Continue reading Black Tail
Stumbled upon the most cynically affirming tableau just before Christmas. Coming home from work, about a block from my address, four Scripture screamers had clogged a corner of a major Las Vegas intersection. Continue reading Neither Merry nor Bright