Category Archives: Dim Neon

The Flotsam Society

What am I thankful for? Two years residing here in Transient City and some personal circumstances have improved.

When I settled in Las Vegas the housing market had bottomed out. The city sat poised for a rebound. Fortunately, I bought just before the spring sprung.

My address sits on the fringe of downtown. Unlike the Strip’s clamor, bustle, and crowds, to a lesser extent Downtown as well, this neighborhood, much of Vegas is quiet. Regard these environs as an expanded Mayberry.

I slipped the Mayberry reference onto a young woman with whom I’d been chatting and it zoomed over her pretty, vacant head. Doesn’t it just spoil the shorthand reference when relevance must be explained? Like who Mel Tormé was and his meaning to this city and the American songbook? That’s always somewhat disheartening. Younger audiences only know of Tony Bennett from his duets with Lady Gaga.

As my conversant blithely answered, “It must be a generational thing.” Continue reading The Flotsam Society

Chumps & Busters

The first two weekends of September were prime times to observe a Las Vegas peculiarity.

During workweeks the city hosts conventions which attract the expense account crowd. There will be other visitors as well, of course, however business people predominate.

Weekends, though, the focus shifts away from serious travelers. Las Vegas becomes the purview and playground of “Vegas for Vegas!” types. Young coastal Californians account for the greatest portion of these hordes.

No doubt the overwhelming majority of these youthful adults comport themselves inconspicuously. But this isn’t about them. This is about the oblivious boobs and braying cheapskates jamming Las Vegas Boulevard when they’re not cutting the fool inside the thoroughfare’s establishments.

I don’t know what service personnel and hoteliers call them, but I see them as chumps and busters. Continue reading Chumps & Busters

Niggling and Nettlesome

What visitor doesn’t arrive in Las Vegas believing its “What happens here, stays here!”© slogan? O.J. Simpson did. Where’s he now?

Those weighty limiting inhibitions out-of-towners have dragged along from Boise, Iowa City or Little Rock get stored at McCarran International upon arrival and are barely, or in some cases gratefully, retrieved just in time for the return trip to real life.

In between seeing slot machines and liquor stores at the airport, and later regretting busting the holiday budget at casino table games while developing monstrous hangovers through overpriced Strip drinks, the sober comportment which defined them at home dissolves. That probity probably winds up somewhere in the Mojave.

Likely in one of those San Berdoo meth oases across the border in California. Continue reading Niggling and Nettlesome

Neither Shaken nor Stirred

Las Vegas may be the last true union town in America. Not a great union town, though perhaps one of the last. The locals are too polite. Forget about breaking any heads or a persuasive fire bomb smashing through a window. Hell, it would be tough here to find any natives who’d roll a car.

Chicago, Detroit or Cleveland Las Vegas isn’t. Continue reading Neither Shaken nor Stirred

A Poor Devil’s Pang

After exhausting themselves through Strip shenanigans, many visitors swear they could never live in Las Vegas. They imagine the rest of the city, if it possible for them to grasp precincts beyond the neon, noise, and lures, just as draining.

Worse yet, a good number of these mildest of mild hedonists also must compare the narrow band of Las Vegas Boulevard to the enormity of New York City. Sigh! Never fails. This always from revelers who desire someday but have yet to set foot in civilization. Continue reading A Poor Devil’s Pang

Refined Painted Ladies

Night improves Las Vegas.

Hot neon, sharp jumbo LEDs, and happy drunks loudly snaking along sidewalks and across the Strip present running tableaux of infectious merriment. This is a much preferable image to what morning reveals. Despite rosy fingers of dawn heralding the day, sunrise skies above the Strip are iron gray.

The vault above matches the streets below.

Crowds have vanished. Traffic has evaporated. Evening’s dazzling illuminations have faded into visual irritants.

Derelicts who’ve been shooed to Las Vegas’ darkest peripheries return to beg, maunder or impose their schizoid existences on daytime visitors strolling Las Vegas Boulevard. After the previous night’s glad-rag promenade and procession of gaiety, hollow-eyed, matted haired, filth encrusted, flesh and blood specters are the gaudy way’s jarring contrast.

During this transition from night into day, a less acknowledged though certainly more alluring segment of the Las Vegas mosaic begins crossing other thresholds. Continue reading Refined Painted Ladies

Within Reach, Beyond Grasp

Happy New Year!

At the airport, ran into a woman who confided in me about the obscene amounts of ready cash coursing around Las Vegas. She didn’t bother swearing me to double-dog secrecy either. Guess I must wear an honest face.

Indeed the promiscuous currency swirling here between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City causes loss of senses, self-esteem and propriety. Not that any of those attributes were firmly tethered in the first place.

Better than watching them make water run uphill is seeing how plentiful dollars in every denomination can torque human bodies and the consciences into cartoon shapes. Forget 5 o’clock. The possibility of a worthwhile tip rouses the dead quicker. Continue reading Within Reach, Beyond Grasp

Reentry

After a year of aimlessness, nearly two of mourning, and seething daily for three because of gross negligence and utter imbecility, the restoration of lucrative, less emotionally burdened life may have begun. Exam results bring on this optimism.

Between crazy events beyond my control and life’s inescapable occurrences, I left my hollowed out Quarropas, New York, home for Las Vegas. Nevada, not New Mexico. I don’t gamble, but I’ve always been willing to take a chance.

Whys and wherefores are threaded throughout Green Venom. Read them. They’re terrific.

About two months ago I finally shook off the lethargy weighing me and started aggressively pushing my resume. Naturally most positions which fit me never gave in to at least cursory responses. On those rare few that did and interviewed, the HR knob seemed intimidated that I possessed a work record longer than he or she had been alive.

The decline of American labor in a nutshell. Dumb young managers who settle for hiring inexperienced employees. What better example of the stupid leading the blind? Continue reading Reentry

Shoulder to the Wheel

Three Augusts ago I resided at ease in suburban splendor. So much so I took several vacation days to visit Kewpie in Miami. She’d been laboring on film shoot. Warren joined us.

When she wasn’t eye-rolling on-set shenanigans or prima dona outbursts, we treacherous three gamboled along South Beach. Had I known my carefree days were short, I would’ve behaved way more carelessly.

Hmmm. Just might suggest that as my epitaph.

Two years ago, Quarropas, the old hometown, remained somewhat recognizable. That was if a long-time resident squinted. By this time last year, it was less splendiferous since every soul making that loaded word “home” a desirable refuge had died away.

August 2014 marks my first year in Las Vegas. Continue reading Shoulder to the Wheel