Keeping existential dread at bay in Las Vegas.
Despite its carnivalesque reputation, what stands out more than anything in Las Vegas is just how repressed everyone is. Walk along the floor of a casino at 8am, and you see hundreds of people parked in front of slot machines, smoking cigarettes or drinking gin and tonics, the sums on their credit cards slowly but surely climbing. None of us are smiling.
Some have been there all night. The casinos are designed in such a way that you can never tell what time of day it is. Look around and you’ll notice that there are never any clocks around. Theoretically, a traveler hailing from Seoul or Durban can land in Vegas and spend days indulging without ever having to adjust to the time difference.
We tell ourselves this is all fun. That it’s not desperation. But the most desperate thing in the world is someone convincing themselves that they aren’t desperate. We all do it. Even on a subconscious level. Perching ourselves at a roulette wheel or craps table gives us a chance to tame that quiet shr…