Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Antique" Shopping 1--Las Vegas

Here is something we found at a nearby antique market and couldn't quite pass up.  Aside from reminding me of Oceans 11 (which I recently watched on TV), this brought back my own memories of Las Vegas.

     When I was in college, I hung out with this guy from L.A. for awhile.  At spring break, he decided we should drive across several states to his house in California and meet up with his sister and some of our other friends.  It was evening when we finally got on the road, and his car a big, long American type--maybe a Lincoln or an Eldorado--shimmied on the snow.  After hours of driving in the dark and lonesome desert, we began to see a glowing light far, far out in the distance.
     "That's Vegas," my friend said.
     The car engine hummed and my eyes were drawn to the glittering light out there in the miles of flat nothing.  The closer we got, the more the light glittered, until finally we could make out distinct shapes of buildings.
     "Have you ever been to Vegas?  Never?  Well, get ready because we're gonna drive the strip!"  My friend laughed and started imitating Elvis singing "Viva Las Vegas!"
     And we did drive the strip--or whatever it was--long crazy streets lit up and pulsing with flashing neon and row upon row of light bulbs zinging on! on! on!  We passed get married quick one-couple chapels, and cheap steak dinners, and slot machine gas stations, and famous casinos and casino men, walking importantly in suits with their hands behind their backs or else calling to you to step right in with their arms outstretched. And girls teetering on heels, all glitz and bangles with their eyes made up, laughing. And the lights!  The lights! They were like nothing else.
     Soon enough, after several (now annoying) rounds of "Viva Las Vegas"and reckless swerving, we rolled out through the other side of town and were back in the dark flat nowhere desert, the glow of Vegas behind us.
     Eventually, I drove and experienced the terror of just almost dozing off behind the wheel in spite of pinching myself to stay awake somewhere in the California deserts, and we made it to LA.  But that, of course, is another story for another day.
     Las Vegas then, in the 1980's was still the old Vegas.  Before it became a sort of false move set monument amusement park sort of place.  Before so many tourist destinations became homogenous false amusement park sort of places.  (Don't I sound like an old crank?)
     I'm glad I saw it then.  That old Vegas.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed you Las Vegas story. I visited it on holiday with my family when I was about 19, maybe in 98 or 99, and I though it was a surreal place. The casinos were massive, like mini-cities, with their own shopping malls. And that dry, desert heat - I'd never felt anything like it before. I was too young to drink or gamble there so I think the whole Las Vegas experience was kind of wasted on me! x