Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Las Vegas Phone Number History (Or Lack Of)

Before my TV and DVD player are unplugged on Thursday and hauled away by the movers who will meet us at our new home early Friday afternoon to move everything in, I was planning to watch Lucky You (mostly crappy script, but one of the great movies about Las Vegas because it gets the actual feel of the city right and not how Hollywood usually sees it), Swing Vote (for the election season), and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (symbolic of a new adventure in my life) again. I watched some of Lucky You before the week started, but I can easily watch Swing Vote and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy after we're settled in our new home and everything's hooked up again, including cable service with CenturyLink, which offers the ability to watch recorded shows on any TV in the house. That's going to be a godsend.

Anyway, instead of those movies, I watched most of 10 Items or Less, starring Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega, early this morning, to remind myself that I have to get used to finding good people all the time in Las Vegas, which is hard to imagine at first after nine years in Santa Clarita. Most of them in Las Vegas anyway, but the majority leans toward goodness, because living in Las Vegas, you're in the desert and you have to make your life work. People are more real there.

While I watched Him (Freeman) walk into Archie's Ranch Market in Carson to do research for a role as a supermarket manager that he hasn't committed to yet, I saw the pay phone that he uses to call someone to pick him up after the production assistant (Jonah Hill) for the movie doesn't come back after dropping him off an hour before, and my mind wandered to the news the day before that we got our new phone number. I've memorized it, just like I have our new address after changing many magazine subscription addresses.

After revealing our new phone number, Dad said that it had been out of service for three years, and I perked up at that piece of news. Once in Las Vegas, I want to know absolutely everything about my home city. I want to explore every inch of it, along with Henderson, Boulder City, Summerlin, and North Las Vegas, as well as the rest of Nevada. I don't necessarily want to become one of the foremost authorities on Las Vegas and Nevada; I just want to know enough for myself, that wherever I go, when I drive by various casinos, I know their histories, that when I walk through downtown Henderson and downtown Boulder City, I know how long those buildings have been there and what the lobby of the Boulder Dam Hotel in Boulder City looked like decades before, also knowing that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard once stayed there.

I wish I could know the same about our new phone number. Three years out of service before it was given to us. Who had it? Was it a business? Was it a resident? Was it a transient resident who had had enough of the city and moved east or back to California or maybe Arizona or New Mexico? Was it a resident who died of old age or died in middle age and their family took care of the arrangements to release the phone number? Or did the number just float briefly from place to place during those three years before settling down on us? I like to imagine that it was a resident who eventually tired of the city, who left room for us. Something like that. I know that I won't ever know the history of our new phone number, but the speculation to come out of it, those potential stories, are endlessly interesting.

Genetic Nose Hair

When you're preparing to move, and you're deciding what to throw out and what to pack, you discover a lot. You discover books you forgot you even had, magazine issues that you didn't read, but want to keep so you can later on (such as The New Yorker's Science Fiction issue from a few months ago, and their Food issue from last year), and DVDs to put with other DVDs in a huge binder in order to watch later, but not necessarily to keep (such as Blackthorn, starring Sam Shepard, one of my heroes).

It's preparation for a new life, new experiences, new discoveries. Surprising new discoveries.

Late last week, I noticed a nose hair hanging further down than usual from my nose. I could tuck it back in a bit so it wouldn't be so bothersome, but at the first opportunity, it always sprang back out. I had to do something about it. I had to cut it.

I went into my parents' bathroom during the night, into Monday, and got the scissors that are kept for such a task. I expected to only eventually aim the scissors correctly enough while looking in the mirror in order to clip the sucker. I had to sit down after I clipped the lone nose hair and looked up my nose. I was stunned by what I found.

I know that I'm going to get older. Everyone does. I know that my body will gradually change with every year. It happens to everyone. I didn't expect to find so soon the sheer breadth of nose hair I have in each nostril.

When my late paternal grandfather, and my paternal grandmother, used to visit, I'd always sit in the middle of the front of their car, with Dad next to me on the right, my grandfather driving on the left, and Mom, Meridith, and my grandmother in the back. While my grandfather weaved through traffic like a madman, defied the logic of wearing a seatbelt (he absolutely refused to wear one and we never said anything about it, because that's who he was), and told jokes, most of which were racist, I looked at him and noticed his nose hairs, how they seemed to be reaching out beyond his nose. Not that they were disorganized, since he seemed to clip them when necessary, but it looked like they were planning to invade at the first possible moment that no one, or me, was looking. I was younger, so I didn't think much about it beyond being amazed at how one nose could have so much nose hair.

Now here I am, 28 years old, and I have what my grandfather had, what my father has too. It's the least to worry about in a family line that's pretty much uneventful. All my ancestors died of old age, ranging from the 80s to the 90s. I'd like to go beyond that.

So I have to clip my nose hairs more often. That's fine. I'll do it. For now, though, I'm still surprised at seeing this change right now. Whatever happens in my body in the years to come, I'm not so concerned because I know my genetic line has always been stable. No family members with cancer in the past. Nothing that threatens one's health early on. Only an impending invasion of nose hairs on the world. But the battle is always easily won.