at one in the morning i found myself walking past circus circus on the las vegas strip finishing a tecate tall boy. saturday evening after the flight to vegas and dinner and beer and finally finding our hotel, my uncle after his long flight from okinawa, japan retired for the night. i turned to my cousin vince and said, “hey, do you want to go for a walk?” and he said sure.
i bought a tallboy at the corner store. in vegas no one cares about your open container and i thought, well, if nothing else this town has that. vince, a las vegas veteran, led me down las vegas boulevard, charon down the river stix. this is what i remember:
throngs of people walk down the streets, fascinated and aimless. just walking to another destination. constantly walking. visitors do a lot of walking, which actually works in their favor, walking off all that liquor and the calories and the mindlessness of putting bills in a slot machine. throngs of people: trashy southerners and californians and latinos and australians and the brits and euro trash speaking german and spanish and dutch. i cannot comprehend what brought them to the desert and to las vegas.
my uncle and i walked out of the venetian on the las vegas strip and i said, “okay, well, i guess we should buy a tall boy and walk home.” that’s what i like best about vegas i guess: one, you can drink anywhere and no one cares about your open container, and two, no one cares how trashy you look. class in vegas seems to be non-existent, because everyone there believes they’re living like royalty for a weekend.
it’s no monaco. and one doesn’t need to read jean baudrillard’s america to predict exactly what that crazy old coot has to say about vegas. the bellagio amazes the crowd on the street with a huge fountain display, louis vuitton and prada and gucci and couture outlets strung about its entrances. the venetian holds a canal with neon lined gondolas, replicas of gilt baroque paintings. everything here is fake. and nothing works together.
las vegas is the ugliest city i’ve ever seen. the casinos do not work together to create a manicured landscape. vacant lots sit next to flashy buildings. half the city is under construction. the streets need to be cleaned, the buses need to be more efficient, everything needs a facelift.
when my uncle and i pass a slot machine, he asks if i want to gamble a little before we leave vegas. he does not gamble himself. i said, “no thanks. i’ll just take this five bucks and buy another tall boy of tecate.”