Tuesdays UPI Column

Loving Las Vegas

So There I was...

...Getting my boots shined in McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada. I was passing through with three hours to blow. The State of Nevada is, at times, difficult for me to enjoy. As a mental health professional and a volunteer fire-of-addictions fighter, the "Addictions R Us" atmosphere creeps me out a bit. I suspect that the blessing of Las Vegas is the feeling of normalcy for folks who may not always feel so normal at home in Des Moines. There are people there who will cheerfully help you hock your wedding ring to continue playing games, and do it as if this were perfectly normal behavior. There are people who will help you get married to someone you met yesterday, and act like this makes perfect sense. Women on stage wear enormous hats and not much else — no problem. Night and day have no differentiation. The party is endless — of course it is. I had told myself that I would self-pamper by using the break to buy a good, relaxed meal. So I walked the concourse with anticipation, scoping out my choices. Alcohol —slots — slots — chocolate — greasy burgers — alcohol — slots — alcohol — Subway — slots: that was the choice. Subway appeared to be the top of the food chain. The most wholesome option was a flavored oxygen bar. Now, while I might wish that I could survive on peach flavored oxygen, I had been on one four-hour no-food flight, and I had another one ahead of me. "Six inch turkey, please." With two and a half hours to blow and still in the mood to be nice to myself, I looked for an opportunity. I am a collector of novel experiences, and when I spied a bored looking shoeshine man, I realized that warming on of those shoe thrones would add to my collection. The charming gentleman attending to my iguana skins was from Kenya. I had been to his homeland recently and we had a nice chat about Africa. Then I asked him how he felt about Las Vegas. He looked up at me, clearly deciding whether to give me the tourist bureau answer or the truth. "The truth, please." "I have a daughter in college at home and she is precious to me. So I am forced to love Las Vegas because I love my daughter." I told him it was the best reason I had ever heard for loving Las Vegas.

— — — Peggy Senger Parsons is a motorcycling Quaker preacher, counselor and free lance provocateur of grace. She is pastor of Freedom Friends Church. © copyright 2006 by Peggy Senger Parsons.

— — — UPI Religion & Spirituality Forum is a big tent for all expressions of faith and spirituality, neither excluding nor favoring any. All opinions expressed belong to the writer alone, and are not necessarily shared by UPI Religion & Spirituality Forum.
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