Vegas and Our Base Instincts

Las Vegas is a very odd city. It is the only city, that I know of, which is designed explicitly to address the baser aspects of the human character. Greed, gluttony, materialism, all are catered to with such skill and are marketed in such a way that these aspects seem nutritional to our nature.

Or, to put it another way, Las Vegas is a land-locked cruise line.

Not surprisingly, I love it. I love the city. There, I said it. I find it adorable that CarrotTop and Chris Angel are given the same level of respect in Vegas that Robert DeNiro or Meryl Streep receive in Hollywood, all without a hint of irony. I am tickled that Las Vegas is the only place that I know of that you can purchase an all-day pass to buffets. Not surprisingly, I adore the multitude of four-star restaurants that one can find, and the seriousness in which the restaurant community goes to in order to provide their customers, not just a good meal, but a great one. Las Vegas is an urban candy store for adults. It’s a city where, for a price (and everything comes with a price in Vegas), one can ride a zip line through the downtown corridor, or race high end luxury automobiles at the local track. Vegas is proud of their conspicuous consumption, to the point where they would shout it from the rooftops if they could.

But, as I said before, everything comes with a price in Vegas. One need to look no further than the streets immediately behind the Strip, peppered with Pawn shops, adult dance clubs, and auto graveyards. Vegas doesn’t reward anyone who comes here. Vegas only parties. And many people cannot realize that the party has to be held responsibly, for devastating results can and will occur if one is reckless and loose.

The Hotels would prefer for us not to see this side of Vegas, for it is a major bummer for the party. It is a stark example of the aphorism “actions have consequences”. Play with fire long enough, and you will get burned.

So for me, Las Vegas is the loudest, most obnoxious friend you have, the one who is the life of the party, and will be there for you if you need to have a good time. But you do not hang out with this friend on a regular basis. Too much can go wrong, and responsibilities will go unmet if you stay out too long with this friend. Vegas will not tell you to stop, and doesn’t care about your budget, let alone your health.

Vegas wants to party. That’s okay, to a point. But by day three or four, Vegas quickly can become too much of a good thing. I have to leave the city. Hanging out there will eventually show me the worst aspects of myself, ground to which I have no desire to cover anymore. Being there becomes a chore. And when a place requires a certain amount of work simply to be there, it is no longer fun. It’s the sign that it’s time to move on.