Have you ever felt this way – the emphasis on the “absurdly?”
I flew to Vegas today. On the flight from San Francisco, a group of college students (ended up revealing their Stanford identity later) were mocking the conservative wave. Afro style humangous wigs, bell bottoms, 70’s hippie op art and batique attire – reminding you of Ringo Star after the India tour – flaming orange, and lime and purple and blinding color shirts and dresses, and these god forsaken imitation, cheap, dark mirror Ray Bans. Was I really like that at their age – and these were my high school years!!!!?
One of them – he must not have been older than 20 -looked at me and smiled apologetically. I waved and winked. He was Elvis: fake dark sideburns, lots of sparkle, the white Elvis gettup.
Come on, man! What do you care who will judge you, who will think you are nuts, who will not find this funny.
I knew my trip was off to a fantastic start! These kids were taking off – determined to make the trip to la-la land, an affair to remember. So was I. I loved these kids; they had courage; determination; craziness; fun spirit; they were a team, a crazy cohort, a bunch of playmates going off to live their own personal Hangover (no, not the movie).
We landed; the kids were already drunk with the magic. The sun had just set and the sky was greyish dark and the flatland of the desert all lit up, gold-chain necklace on black velvet. The city that never sleeps; the place where people think their dreams may come true; the disneyland for grown ups.
Intellectuals tend to dislike this place. Vegas and Dubai, both representing the excesses, the fakeness, the dreamland, the pathos of the addicted ones, the bottomless pit of the unconsolable human soul.
I like Vegas (and no, I don’t hate Dubai either). I don’t like gambling and this is why I can take Vegas in. I can be undistracted to rejoice in being the grown up kid in Vegas. The lights. The laughter. The richness. The kitsch and then the spot of elegance and class in the middle of the absurdity of the utmost bizarre. I love the contrasts. The human sea of the strangest of the strange, the richest of the rich and the poorer of the poor – all mingled in a dance of oblivion.
I don’t mind. I like it actually. It is the epitomy of life – and the possibility of what it would be like if people were not ashamed to show their true colors. What’s wrong with laughing and playing and being a kid once in a while? What’s wrong with having a city dedicated to being the place “where everything that’s done there, stays there?” And what would the world be like if our cities were like this one?
So, as I watched the crowds rolling through the lights, and the music and the laughter, being hypnotized by lady luck naked on the black jack tables, I felt this absurd happiness of being here. I smiled, I toasted the city and cheered silently for all those playing the crap tables all night.
I guess there are two kinds of people: Those who hate Las Vegas and those who love Las Vegas. And then, it dawned on me: The majority have not even visited Vegas…