A Nice Soft Spot

The title to this post is what I sought and found in Las Vegas. Many ask why I relocated to Nevada from New York. Too many surmise taxes, the weather, or crime chased me out of civilization. Not at all.

Of course, the tax rate is higher back East but services are extensive. Taxes are low out West but just looking around informs of a deficient society compared to what was left.

It’s amazing that people who’ve never shoveled snow or scraped ice can speak knowingly about either. Each region has its season of anguish. Three months of winter back East, three months of summer in the Mojave. Frigid conditions or torrid circumstances. Residents may needlessly complain about either, but endure nonetheless.

As far as crime, more people mean more crime. The figure to gauge is percentage. Although there are fewer incidents, one is likelier to be a crime victim in Las Vegas than Metropolitan New York.

Naturally the best way to reduce being a mark is avoiding situations inviting criminality or hanging among that sort of element. People will read the last sentence and claim I’m judging. Yes, I am. As our society embraces more segments we’re becoming more accepting of untoward behaviors and habits at the expense of propriety and common sense.

Common sense can keep you out of a lot of trouble. Carrying 20 foldable dollars can also get you out of a lot of jams. Twenty dollars should be regarded as the duct tape of life.

Why did I leave the Metropolitan New York Area? Insanely incompetent management at my former employer forced my move. It was a family business that fell victim to the Curse of the Third Generation.

The first generation establishes the enterprise. The second refines and expands it by being better educated. The third squats down and shits all over the horn of plenty because they only know how to spend money but not make it.

Had the calamity occurred when I was in my late thirties or early forties, no way I’d have forsaken the East. I still would’ve had plenty to climb that mountain again. Instead, it happened in my early fifties. And even if I’d tried summiting the height once more, who doesn’t know prospective employers overwhelmingly disdain older experienced applicants?

Indeed, they do.

Besides, had I stayed I only would’ve been tending ghosts. Almost everything I missed was already gone. There was no reason to remain.

Anyway, the original Plan A was to have toiled into my sixties then retire to that Desert Margaritaville of Tucson, Arizona. At 54, this couldn’t have been accomplished. The economics were disadvantageous. The project needed at least 10 more years to mature. Besides, as a guy I met in Chicago, a native Tucsonan at that, opined, “There’s no money in Tucson.”

He was right. Tucson is the sort of place where one brings in a cash pile from elsewhere in order to sit on a fluffy tuft or finds satisfaction in living a less demanding yet comfortable life.

Both work in one’s sixties. Considering I had at least 10 more years of vibrancy, the idea of jaking my brake prematurely didn’t appeal at all. Hence, Las Vegas.

In 2013, this city still bowed under the Great Recession. Real estate sold for chump change here. Prices were so low I bought my home out of pocket. Since I arrived in the Mojave with wherewithal, I could idle a year on the couch. And did. Stretched out on those cushions, I drank beer, watched DVDs, and streamed programs. Had I remained in New York no way I could’ve lolled and lazed in such a manner.

My lack of industry in New York would’ve made me feel guilty.

I took off that first year in Las Vegas to reassess. Hard-working and diligent an employee as I’d been only awarded me the same empty bag I’d walked in with on my first day at my ex-job. Twenty-four years of nothing.

Clearly there would be no repeat of this. All I sought was a job to sustain me until 65. Which is what I found after a year of cooling jets. And this being Las Vegas, no need to demonstrate the same hustle as in New York. Just being sharp would be enough.

“Look sharp” and “moving at the speed of business” are two unknown concepts in Las Vegas. Two great reasons why Mob Rule should be restored here.

Another reason why the Big Mayberry suits me is my requirements are minimal. Unless you’re wealthy, Nevada doesn’t provide its citizens much. Yes, plenty abounds. so much so it drives people crazy. But acquiring doesn’t transfix me as it does so many others. A level-headed upbringing has kept me from going into hock in order to exhibit any superficiality. I mustn’t have all those new things everybody else clamors for.

If apocrypha means anything, then the debt load of working Las Vegans approaches that of postwar World War I Germany. It’s not robbing Peter to pay Paul here. More like either outrunning or hiding from them to avoid paying both.

Pawn shops, repo men, and payday lenders. Certainly, all operate back East, though nowhere near the same extent as here. And in Las Vegas there’s no stigma. I can’t imagine budgeting so horribly that I must resort to a payday loan shark, or yo-yoing pawned goods (reducing their value with every exchange), or forfeiting my vehicle because I utterly failed prioritizing absolutely necessary expenditures from discretionary ones.

Before moving Southwest, I performed due diligence. I also had an advantage of having been in and out of the region during the prior 35-plus years. I knew into what and where I was immersing myself.

Moreover, I rolled into town with a stake. This can’t be discounted.

In recent years, Californians have inundated Nevada. Much to the chagrin of Nevadans who’d become cave dwellers. Generally more affluent, new arrivals have driven up costs on this side of the Mojave. Of course, merchants love these newcomers. This new clientele can bear what locals see as higher prices because amounts asked for remain below what ex-Californians are accustomed.

Yet disgruntled Nevadans aside, the state greatly benefits from the influx of new money. Better Nevada than Utah.

What is little contemplated, though, are the new arrivals who bear insufficient funds for an assured Silver State launch. People living on the margins or who are perceived as marginal receive meager attention in Nevada.

A good percentage of those crossing the Mojave east should never have moved to Las Vegas. Those who have and regret it now ought to dissuade any hoping to follow their treks from the Coast.

California’s uniqueness aside, it’s also nurturing. In a sense like Northeast and Industrial Midwest cities. Nevada does not nurture. Only when these former Californians declare themselves Nevada residents does this become quite apparent.

In some municipalities of our nation, there are social mechanisms which make efforts to assist those who’ve found themselves floundering. Some provide more than ample services for any determined to raise themselves. The public does not learn of such successes. Instead, we hear of welfare cheats and others who’ve jobbed the system blind. Outrage sells. What interest is there in knowing the system worked as designed? That only weakens skepticism and cynicism, and without both the sourness of people who find them mother’s milk is diluted.

Nevada is not a nurturing state. Not in the least. Little impedes ambition in this segment of the Intermountain. Fine. Although it’s not explicitly stated, one enters this part of the Mojave to find fortune. Either one succeeds or fails. Of course, definitions of success or failure vary but those who’ve achieved against any who’ve fallen short is plain.

The former is lauded. There are scant opportunities of uplift for the latter. Unlike California, there’s no Deus to intervene for the luckless in Nevada.

A lot of the people forsaking California these days will stumble in Nevada. Some badly. Many are the same who took advantage of the fire sales Strip properties offered after reopening from Covid closures. Frankly the only instance when they’d have such a chance to luxuriate for relative pennies.

They spent terrific immediate post-Covid times in Las Vegas. The city offered much, and they availed themselves to as much of it as possible thanks to businesses biting bullets in order to spark the casino/hospitality economy rendered dormant by the epidemic. A once in a lifetime opportunity only brain-dead fools would’ve missed.

Yet too few recognized this special circumstance. Somehow, they got the fixed on the notion Las Vegas might always be such. They looked at their lives in Southern California, weighed some rough hopeful assessments. Miscalculations have driven them to Nevada.

Admittedly compared against California expenses it costs less to live in Nevada. But only if prospective wages are lateral to those earned on the Coast. Otherwise, one should expect salaries commensurate to Silver State pay levels. In essence little to no advantage for too many who misread the lay of the land then relocated. Add to that also living in strange surroundings with hardly, if any, support.

Some landed softly in Nevada. A good many others may crash here.