Posted by: pendrops | December 17, 2007

just really blind

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“Recognize that the other person is you.”

That’s what the tag dangling from my bag of steeping peppermint tea reads as I wait for Jason in the lobby of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. It’s a difficult sentiment to grasp as I people watch this Sunday morning, the day after my sister-in-law’s wedding. Especially when the outer shell of everyone swirling and speeding by me looks so different than my own shell.

Still, the more people that pass by (and there are hundreds of people, even early on Sunday morning), the more I begin noticing a common denominator. It’s not numbness, drunkenness, giddyness or guilt. It’s searching. A desperate kind of searching glaze that covers the eyes of everyone I watch over the course of 20 minutes.

In a city where every addiction is easily accessible and encouraged – shopping, gambling, sex, alcohol, drugs, to state a few of the obvious – there’s something for everyone. And everyone appears to be looking for which craving to feed first. But I feel immune. I hate shopping. I have no pull toward the noisy, lit-up slot machines or roulette tables. I only drink with respect, caution and care. I’m not interested in drugs. Vegas simply doesn’t tempt me.

So I stand in the midst of this pulsing horde – bumped, banged and even walloped with a Gucci bag although I stand in the least-trafficked spot I can find – and I watch bloodshot-eyed grannies push slot machine buttons, girls drunk at the bar before noon, old men with young well-endowed “escorts” on their arms. And I try to see their eyes. To understand. Many have sunglasses on; big, dark sunglasses. But some don’t.

It’s their eyes I study. Where have I seen that shifty gaze, I wonder. And then I recognize it. That familiar look. It’s the look I’ve seen so many times in my own reflection.

The same desolate search for some thing to give a quick fix; some thing to numb or fill or feed. I won’t end up with an empty wallet, a hangover, or an STD in my search, but my grasping glare can be just as desperate, just as glazed, just as bloodshot.

You’d think in a city with so many lights we’d be able to see better. I guess we’re all just really blind.

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