I’ve lived in Las Vegas, NV for just shy of ten years now (Shannon and I came here in September of 2004, I’m pretty sure… or was it 03? I dunno. It was a long time aqgo, anyway) and, while it’s certainly not the most perfect place to live or raise kids (which we did. Cody and Nathan pretty much grew up here and went to Vegas schools… sorry, boys), I absolutely love it. I’m not much of a gambler (sure, I’ll throw five bucks in a machine once in a while, but that’s about it) or a really heavy drinker (I have been doing a lot more of that lately. Thank you, Lisa, for introducing me to Crown and Anchor [an adorable nearby British pub] and the Dive [a local dive bar… it lives up to its name]), but I really enjoy the things this town has to offer. And it really does go far beyond what Vegas is traditionally known for… well some of it is exactly what Vegas is known for, but that’s okay.
So, what’s so great about living in Las Vegas? I’ll tell you.
No one gives a fuck.
“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” they say, and it’s pretty much true. We have our share of weirdos and crazies like any city does, but here it just seems kind of par for the course and no one really cares what you do. If you’re not firing automatic weapons into a school or publically defecating in a McDonald’s, there’s a good chance no one will say a damn word to you about your particular idiosyncracies. People mind their business here, for the most part. Now that can be a good thing and a bad thing, I suppose. I like that I can have a party full of hookers and booze if I want to and as long as it doesn’t get too loud, the neighbors probably won’t complain, but a few years back Shannon and I had our apartment broken into and burglarized not once, but twice, in the space of about two months. On the second occasion, our 60″ television was stolen. Of course, none of the neighbors heard or saw anything, right? A little personal investigation (discussions with neighbor kids, friends of our sons’) revealed to one “eyewitness report” of “a guy pushing a shopping cart with a big TV in it at about 2:00 in the morning.” Really? And that didn’t seem odd? In that neighborhood? Fuck it all. We were insured, at least, and there’s some run down apartment in Northtown full of crack heads watching a pretty nice television. We moved not long after that. Live and learn.
Okay, Vegas is kind of known for this one. We have a lot of pretty good food here; from five star gourmet restaurants to awesome greasy spoon holes in the wall, pretty much anything you have a hankering for (even a hunk of cheese) can be found here. The days of the two dollar buffet may be long gone, but plenty of casino hotels still have damn good buffets and two-for-one deals are not uncommon. Lisa and I have spent a lot of time recently at the Eastside Cannery, an off-the-strip place with a damn fine buffet. And, no lie, I swear to Batman, we were there recently and they had veal. Actual veal on a buffet menu! And it wasn’t half bad, either. In fact Lisa and I both gave it our highest culinary compliment, usually reserved for Lay’s Chicken & Waffle flavored potato chips or Bangers & Mash at that aforementioned Crown and Anchor pub: “It’s goddamn delicious!”
We really are simple creatures.
Yes, Las Vegas is pretty well known for this one too. We have a lot of wedding chapels in Las Vegas and you can get married on the quick here like nowhere else. You can get married by Elvis or in a drive-through. Opponents of same-sex marriage rights who claim that marriage is a “sacred institution” had best not look at how its treated in Las Vegas, their heads might just explode. Still, why do I, of all people give a tin shit about Las Vegas wedding chapels? I have a one-word answer to that question:
There is a Denny’s downtown (on Fremont Street, I’m pretty sure) which has a wedding chapel in it. That is just. Fucking. Awesome. A Grand Slam wedding with Moons Over My Hammy? Amazing! Should Lisa and I decide to tie the proverbial knot we’re definitely going there and doing it right, with pancakes and bacon. We’re also going to have rings engraved with the Han/Leia exchanges “I love you” and “I know” from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. These are things that nerd couples discuss far in advance.
First Friday is a monthly arts fair held in the downtown Vegas area on (guess when, i dare you… i double-dare you, mutha fucka!) the first Friday ofthe month. I first learned of it from my son Cody who thought it was “pretty cool” when he went afor the first time a few years ago, but I never attended until Lisa and i went together recently. It’s a lot of fun and worth mentioning here because it is a very un-Vegas thing to do in Vegas. It gives us the feeling that we actually have a bit of culture in this city which, we really don’t. Any that we had before First Friday launched was lost in all the gaudy and neon. Just saying.