Friday, May 11, 2012

Which Las Vegas Do I Want First?

I'm not overwhelmed by what's to come. I'm curious. I'm fascinated. All this will belong to me. What do I want to do first?

First, settling in. Then a car. Then a job. Then a library card and total exploration. I'll have the rest of my life to do what I want in Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Summerlin, and everywhere else in Nevada, all those roads to see, those mountains (mountains to not have to live in like I do here), and all that nature scenery. Plus I want to see my favorite view again, from that rock ledge near the Hacienda Hotel and Casino on the way to Hoover Dam, looking out at that ocean of desert.

The one thing I'm getting used to before we move over there is that nothing there is as split up as it is here, and as it was in Florida. Four hours to Walt Disney World from South Florida, which is understandable because that's where Walt Disney wanted it. To get to the Main library branch of the Broward County Library system, 25 minutes to downtown Fort Lauderdale, traffic or no traffic. Not so bad, but still time to take to get there. Different scenery was always welcome, but there was never a great connection because of that distance. I felt closer to the small gas station next to the entrance to Grand Palms Golf & Country Club in Pembroke Pines (where, after you pass through the security barrier lifted by a press of a button from the guardhouse, there's houses on both sides, and we had to drive two miles on the property to get to the Las Verdes condos, where we lived), but that was also because they made the best Cafe Cubano anywhere in South Florida. Even though I don't have caffeine anymore, I miss that.

I'm getting used to so much being available to me so closely in Las Vegas and Henderson and Summerlin and Boulder City. There's still a drive time to get anywhere, but it's not as disconnected, definitely not like driving freeways to get to Burbank, Pasadena, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles from Santa Clarita. Getting to Ventura takes time too, and you never feel like a resident of California (not that I ever have anyway), just a tourist wherever you go. Depending on where we move to, I love possibly being able to drive to the Pinball Hall of Fame and come back to our residence and I feel as close to that as I did to that gas station. I may not see it all the time because of there being so much to do (although I would like to visit the Pinball Hall of Fame often; I think they also have Galaga), but it's there for me whenever I want it. It's always available and always welcoming. That's most important to me. If I go to the Cosmpolitan to see that art vending machine I've heard about (It looks like one of those old cigarette machines. You put $5 in, pull one of the handles, and someone's artwork comes out. It's a small piece, but still creative), there it is for me to look at. If I go to Caesars Palace to enjoy that wide open space on the casino floor, I can walk around as much as I want. I want to eventually find a slot machine that I can pinpoint as my favorite (I don't gamble anyway; I use them as a kind of meditation. A dollar in the machine and one line played every time, I just sit there and think about my life, about what I want to do, about what I've done, about what I want to write, etc.), and I know that every slot machine is open to me doing that. My dad's favorite is a video slot machine called Cops and Doughnuts, which is funny, but it's not my kind of machine. Nor are the ones that use "Q," "A," "K," "J," and "10" on its reels and aren't poker machines. There are so many of those with so many different themes, and it was disheartening to find that 80% of those at Fiesta Henderson were exactly that.

I can have all of Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and Summerlin. That's most important to me. Living here in Saugus, there's not as much access to the Valencia Town Center Mall as there was when we lived in one of the two apartment complexes behind the Pavilions and HomeGoods shopping center. Not that it's a mall worth going to now after Waldenbooks closed years ago and then Borders closed recently (though I've always liked Barnes & Noble better, but I'll take a bookstore here where I can get it), but at least it was there. In Las Vegas, malls will be there, casinos will be there, unique shops will be there, all those lights will be there, and I can have them whenever I want. If we move to Henderson, I can still have them. If we do move to Las Vegas, I can have them closer. I don't have to have them all the time if I don't want to, but the option is always there. Considering that I want to explore every inch of Southern Nevada, I'll want them all the time.

And after I'm settled in enough, I want to start planning my travels to New Mexico and all the presidential libraries in the nation, save for Nixon's and Reagan's. Already done, and I don't ever want to go back to Southern California. I won't have enough money right away to go, plus I want to establish my hoped-for career as a middle school campus supervisor first. I'm giving myself a year and a half to two years after we get there because there's so much in Southern Nevada that'll occupy me, and that sounds like enough time to squirrel away some money while also contributing to our household. But when I feel I have enough for whichever library will come first, I'll be ready. I'm very happy that I'll have a home base to come back to, one that I can actually call "home." I want my roots to be in the desert. We moved around Florida so much that I never could put my roots anywhere. Now it's time. I can split Southern Nevada into manageable chunks as necessary for what I want to visit, but I want all of it and I can have all of it. It's what I've always wanted, and I'm ready.