Thursday, August 27, 2009
Check off gambling, flesh, free buffets, alcohol, adventure, crime, Donny & Marie. Check them off as excesses inappropriate back home in American Dream subdivisions where the horizon is dotted with church spires stabbing sky high. Home is where the lasciviously pious remind us in titillating terms of our baser instincts making them the object not of revulsion but of sublime curiosity. In Vegas, the wanderer gets a waiver from chaste behavior, a bye on boredom. God just looks away.
Snap snap snap! The sound of the silent Mexican men and women who stand in long oompa-loompa lines thrusting business cards out toward sweaty hands. This small brown wall of people wear t-shirts boasting: Sexy girls want to meet you now! Meet you anywhere in 20 minutes! They slap and flip the cards against the palms of their hands. That snapping aggressively penetrates the deliberate fog of walking by them.
Don’t want to see them.
This disturbing alien receiving line is willed to be invisible.
On the cards the pink and purple visages of young girls depicted in varying degrees of undress and invitation. Who are they? Where are they now? Has a mother or father found their missing darling on the Strip by accidentally spotting her corn-fed Midwest image smiling seductively from the two-dimensional world of these cards? Some who actually take the cards from the earnestly motivated Mexicans pocket them furtively like collectable souvenirs for review later. Most realize too late what is in their hand and fling them down violently like a bad beat poker hand. Dropped cards, photos of beautiful fallen angels with shining hair, nails, lips and skin trampled to grey pulp beneath hurrying feet, dapple the ground, float in the gutter, sail casually on puddles of precious water, twisting and turning in the hellish heat.
The cab driver said, “Just drop your bags in your hotel room, put your watch and Blackberry in the safe, and lose track of time.” That done, it is easy to melt into this smoky dusty convection oven cacophony of a place. It is easy to catch out of the corner of your eye the echoing romantic images of the Rat Pack boys, Dean, Jerry, Sammy, and Frank, leaning on the wall at the Sahara, grinning. It’s not so easy to reconcile the stark contrasts brought to this crusty cancerous spot on the face of the earth by a failing national economy.
The searing laser sun and the stark enveloping shadows cut the days sharply. Beige gritty dust devils shimmy in front of half-built pleasure palaces with names like Trump and Fontainebleau. Cranes, in suspended states, trace paralyzed etch-a-sketch angles against the purple backdrop of distant peaks. Even the moguls stand and wait in Vegas.
Vegas. Baby. It all stays in Vegas