Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Las Vegas in the Rear View Mirror.

My friend Angela is out in Vegas and responded to an email with tales of swimming pools in the desert and weddings in the sun.

From my reply to her reply:

Ah, my very favorite drive in the world is from Vegas to LA at about 3 in the morning. Nothing compares to ascending out of the desert bowl that Vegas slumps and primps in, albeit brightly, and climbing into the high desert. All those lights and glitz in the rear view mirror?! And then just straight empty dry dark desert for miles and miles until you hit Joshua Tree where the climbing is good and the ground is covered with granite kitty litter. And then Palm Springs where the architecture is good and the sprinklers keep every lawn artificially emerald. Ah, then you pass the dinosaurs on your right and the outlets on all sides and then the crazy 10 drops your disoriented ass into the belly of LA. Or rather, incorporates you into one of her vital arteries. It's a trip I will always love!

Vegas has been an oasis to me at times. Even while living here and visiting LA, I've flown to Vegas for the cheap flight and rental car - and the drive. I was in Vegas - at the Flamingo actually! - when Frank Sinatra died. And more than once I've skipped out of life and dropped into a Motel 6 there. Air conditioning, take out, TV. Better than anywhere else I have yet found, you can contemplate your own loneliness when holed up in Vegas without being lonely. All those people around you, filling up that desert bowl, even when your shades are drawn and you can't see them, having a glorious time or a shitty time, losing money, winning money, getting married, hustling, getting hustled. Artificial lights 24 hours a day. It's a microcosm of all human drama. And then when you've learned something about yourself or run out of money for the hotel room, or just tired of trying to make sense of anything, you hop back into your car and head back over the mountains to the edge, the Pacific, the sprawling city with red air and broad thoroughfares.

It's no secret that I've been west coast home sick all spring, summer and now fall. Maybe I need to check fares to Vegas? I do have a birthday coming up (think Marfa, TX last year). Anybody else in?

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