Observationally, A Bluff in Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada

I love high-rise buildings.  It feels like you see the sun rise earlier.  The higher the story, the more grounded I feel with the experience of being in a space only proper engineering can take me.

I wandered down early, as I usually do while traveling, to, well, just wander.  My life on the road is devoid of advertising.  No ad can take you places you want to go.  Is that good enough to be in an ad?

I’ve spent 14 months traveling around the world.  My early morning walks are some of my favorite memories.  A beach in Thailand.  A village in Nepal.  A shopping center in Colombia.  A fish market in Tokyo.

Las Vegas at 4:30 this morning provided one of the more interesting walks.  They still deal cards at that hour, somehow, with a mix of drunks, addicts and people looking to experience something different from what they have programmed their lives to be.  Buck the norm.  A smoke-filled room smelling of Red Bull and perfume was refreshing, oddly. It feels like a train wreck made for sport.  The lights sparked outside, waiting for the sun to rise on a desert town known for making your designed experience feel independent and fresh.  In one direction, the strip – an amazing pollution of light and faux dreams. The other direction lies an economically depressed sprawl of housing purchased by those that enable the hopes in the distance.

The commonality of a dream warms the soul.  “What can we do together?” is the battle cry of humanity.  Indifference kills that.  Economic inequality feeds that.

Mush that all up, put it in your high-tech blender, and you get the craps table at an off-strip casino pre-sunrise on a Wednesday.

Whatever your observations, let’s gamble together.

This wasn’t the high life we were promised.  This, in all the dream-like states, isn’t really connecting with life.  This is a dream cycling on an unexpected turn, rather than something you work toward.  For some, it is cycling out of control.  The ATM isn’t working.  So are the four others that an elderly woman has tried.

It can’t be the lack of funding.  The machine is broken.

I share a moment with this lady.  We both look down on each other and are content.  What am I doing there, after all?  I was there, and she saw me there, looking at her.  Judging.  Experiencing.  Not helping.  I was a solo kid not participating in the environment I shared.  A passerby.  A kid without a dream or team.  As drunk and broke as she was, she had a goal.  She had a purpose and someone to share that with, which is far from failure. To her.

I have plenty of money in the bank, a beautiful place to stay and an extended friend network eclipsing what I thought was possible growing up.  This lady sized up my observations of her and spat them back at me.  She had gambled at many things that put us in that space together and called out my bluff.  I’m not there to see, I’m part of the cycle.  Once achieved, the dreams of the past seem childish.  What we work on, together, is what the books remember.  The achievement of a stable and modern society is a processed food, the gamification of the observer’s life.

It can’t be the lack of dreaming.  This machine is broken.

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