I've spent much of my adult life actively avoiding Las Vegas, Nevada. As someone who doesn't gamble, rarely drinks and doesn't do too well with cigarette smoke, Vegas (or at least the tourist driven part) doesn't hold much for me. To be fair, most of the people I've met from there over the years on tour/in passing have been lovely. But it goes without saying that the community tends to be overshadowed by the sheer excessiveness that is The Strip
All of that said, I found myself in Sin City over the last few days on a little getaway with my wife, father-in-law & his girlfriend. As for my previous feelings on the city, much of those held up pretty well. Watching an elderly man spend his life away at a horribly unlucky Blackjack table while scantily clad wait staff feed him countless drinks isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. Nor is being regularly accosted by horrendously dirty, costumed cartoon characters exchanging photo ops for cash (I’ll stick with Times Square for that, thanks very much).
But I did find myself speaking with a few of the locals – some staff at the hotel and perhaps most notably, Robert, a man from whom I rented a 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia for a couple days (more on my love for that car another time). We spoke about what it's been like over the last month as the city tries to recover from the horrific tragedy that occurred October 1, 2017. I could at this time interject with my personal outlook on firearms and the state of affairs south of the border but it somehow feels a little out of line. Back on topic – he somehow was able to see through it all and find some sense of peace and hope, a feat I found rather astonishing I must admit.
The community of Las Vegas, there is just so much love here that people don’t see. It’s buried behind the neon lights and debauchery, but it’s there.
The above might just be the most important thing heard during our conversation. Through all of the hardship, the financial and emotional tolls paid by so many residents and businesses – Las Vegas still stands tall and proud as a city that continues to defy convention and expectation. The love is real out in the Nevada desert, you might just have to look a little harder to find it.