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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

3 Things About Vegas

Vegas. A city whose reputation precedes it and probably always will. As to how I ended up here, well, that's a longer story than we have time for here. It suffices to say, there are more than three reasons that I'm suddenly calling Sin City home - so we'll save that for another day, another blog, etc. But nevertheless, here I am in the desert. Not the L.A. desert (a/k/a "the Valley"), but the real desert. Where three digit temperatures are a three-month-long affair and you have to put a significant deposit down to start your utilities (regardless of your credit) here because air conditioning is more ubiquitous than running water. The good news is that my weekly commute from L.A. to Vegas and back is a thing of the past, and I can finally stop taking my suitcase to work. But this city is a whole different animal than the one I left. It's much, much smaller, though it seems stocked with just as large a variety of people - and it's going to take some getting used to. But, after only one week here, I do know a few things about Vegas... actually, three.

1. Two Sides To The Story. Vegas has two parts: The Strip, and not The Strip. The Strip is pretty much Hollywood, but with even more glitter and glam (and no creepy buskers poorly imitating celebrities/characters and charging for photos). It has the same sorts of people as Hollywood (the rich and famous, the wanna-be rich and famous, and the hapless "general public" on hand to feed each of the other two groups' compulsive need for attention) and is similarly overpriced, morally bereft and mostly underwhelming. The not The Strip part of town is actually delightfully suburban, nicely sprawled out and much like I imagine Bakersfield and Fresno to be. What's particularly interesting about this civic dichotomy is how the really bad parts of town are also pretty much a part of The Strip. Sure, they hide most of them behind the big, sparkly casinos or even a couple of blocks away. But if it's human blight you're looking for, you won't want to stray too far from the world's most famous boulevard. Turns out the defining characteristic of the rest of the city is the predominance of shopping centers and strip malls.

2. For The Love of Money. It's cheaper to live in Vegas (at least in the not The Strip part of town), and by cheaper I mean, a lot cheaper. To put it in terms my Los Angeleno readers can understand: I'm renting a four bedroom home, built in 2007, for literally half of what I was paying to rent my two-bedroom apartment in Burbank. Burbank! If you think that's a "choice" part of L.A. to live in, I've got some rims and bad facial hair ideas to sell you. Why did I rent a four bedroom home to live in alone? I guess I just felt a little too old to be paying less than $1,000 in rent. Besides, you all are planning to visit now, right? But it doesn't stop at real estate (though that is the best example); gas is cheaper, food is cheaper, and well, fun is cheaper. Once you've got a local ID, it's like having a Disney employee ID in Anaheim - there's a whole different price list for you. I would say that I'm expecting a 30-40% reduction in my monthly spending, just as a function of living here. That's the kind of money that can make 120 degrees in July not such a bad thing.

3. Pretty Different. There weren't many things I took for granted while living in the City of Angels. I knew precisely how good I had it with the weather, the local pro sports, and the abundance of nightlife. But what I did not truly appreciate is how attractive the people of Los Angeles are as a group. I'm not just talking about the Megan Fox set - I mean, on average, the inhabitants of southern California are a good-looking crowd. Which is to say that the proletariat here in L.V. is (much like it probably is elsewhere) a little rough around the edges. Don't get me wrong, there are some insanely attractive people here, too. It's just that "regular folk" are much more, er, "regular" than I'm used to. Let's just say there an abundance of people who seem to have an affinity for ill-advised and large tattoos and who appear to not have enjoyed the benefits of regular dental office visits for the majority of their lives. Similarly, there are a whole lot more trucks driving around these streets than you'll find on the L.A. freeways. It's just as well, really. It's refreshing to see a city that's built its livelihood on peddling the pretty to the pretty not get too caught up in it themselves (and a good reminder to find a local dentist ASAP).

* * *

I'm sure there will be a lot more than just three things to find out about this crazy new city. There will be new places, new people and, from what I've heard, even more maddening, outrageous and inexplicable behaviors that will demand a sharp tongued cynic, with an eye for just such absurdity, to shine the light of reason all over them. Fortunately for Vegas, I'm finally here. Fortunately for me, I've got a place where I can reflect on the social decay I continue to bear helpless witness to, to the bemusement of friends and family. And in as much as I've got a whole new city full of undiscovered material, and a place where I can rant about it to my heart's content, I suppose I'm the one thing that really does have some cache in this town: lucky.

8 comments:

Hawkman said...

So when do I get my set of keys to the house? I promise to bring my toothbrush. :-D

Anonymous said...

can't wait to mix it up a bit...bring my 3 little ladies so Hawkman and Truitt can babysit while I go out on the town! heehee, just kidding! Jessie

Glenn H. Truitt said...

Hawk, you just call me and I'll let you know where I keep the spare set - and I have two guest bedrooms, mostly so the Horsemen can all come at once...

And Coach, you're SO not kidding - so just go ahead and plan your trip with the Hawk and we'll be glad to oblige... hope your girls don't mind watching us play Xbox...

Anonymous said...

Glenn, one of your best in a while. I may not agree with all of the positives/negatives, but you definitely give a good flavor as to the differences. Well done.

Brett

vic your friendly neighborhood asian said...

hey dude, i didn't realize you moved to vegas--congratulations! yeah, vegas is odd sometimes. i just did a gig out there and kept track of my water intake--12 liters of water. and also 12 pee breaks. so as a bonus, i now know my bladder capacity. YEAH!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes Glenn, all of the beautiful people migrate to Southern California. You've been out here way too long! I'm going back to West Virginia and Vermont on Friday, so imagine what I'm in for!!!

-KEVIN

mrsodell1980 said...

Yay for wanting visitors! I've never been to Vegas, so it'll work out well ;-)
I remember the first time I went to So Cal a few years ago. I couldn't believe how pretty the people were! Just regular ol' people. It was crazy!
Sounds like you're adjusting well and having fun...always important!

Jen said...

SoCal definitely has more than their fair share of good-lookin' folks.

Isn't it nice to live in a place that is ripping you a new one financially? Welcome to fiscal freedom my friend!

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