Doug Bruns

A long way from home.

In Adventure, Travel, Writers on January 29, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Can there possibly be a greater American juxtaposition: Portland, Maine to Las Vegas, Nevada? But then Las Vegas (I feel weird calling it Vegas, we’re not that close) makes for a stark comparison to most any other place.

I had to go, yes, had to go, to Las Vegas to attend to some last-minute–and unexpected–business. This is my third time in that city. The first, I guess six or seven years ago, was particularly weird. My daughter Allie and I had been climbing in Joshua Tree, dirt-bagging it, tearing up our knuckles on those famous cracks, getting sunburned and thriving a pitch off the deck. Good stuff. Camp fire at night. Great stuff.

Carole and Jeff (I think Tim was in Michigan, at camp) flew out and met us in Sin City. Allie and I drove out of the desert, still dirty and thrilled at the great climbing, and into the evening glow of Las Vegas. As we pulled into town she looked at me like we’d just landed on a moon of Jupiter. Las Vegas is weird, she said.

In 1968 Joan Didion wrote Slouching Towards Bethlehem. In an essay called Marrying Absurd she wrote:

“Las Vegas is the most extreme and allegorical of American settlements, bizarre and beautiful in its venality and in its devotion to immediate gratification…”

That was a long time ago. But it still rings true. Las Vegas is an event seeking participants.

This time, a few years older and knowing what to expect, it is, well, still weird. There are some places that feel right. And some that don’t. There are, I think, more people to whom Las Vegas feels right than not. Not me. But I revel in contrariness. Coming to Maine was arriving at my destination. Every place else seems a little weird from home. Some places more than a little.

Advertisements

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: