Wednesday, March 27, 2013

To See American Beauty or Not to See American Beauty?

Today at Century 18 at Sam's Town, American Beauty was playing at 2 and 7:30, part of Cinemark's Classic Series. I was thinking of going because even though I accidentally bought it twice over for my DVD collection (I couldn't cancel my Amazon order for Paramount's release of it on DVD by the time I found the original edition I used to have at the Goatfeathers Too antique shop in Boulder City), I hadn't seen it in a movie theater since 2000, and I wanted to see how it played to me at one now. But suppose, say, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory appears next month as part of the series. I'd much rather see that since I've never seen it in a movie theater.

But then, while walking Kitty before my family and I went out, before I was going to ask them to drop me off at Sam's Town, I met Nick, one of my neighbors down the street, on my side of the street. He was walking to his car parked next to the curb in front of his house and he asked me if I knew who was letting their dog crap on the empty lot next to his. Sometimes he crosses over to the lot to walk to his car and steps right in it and he hates that. I told him it wasn't me, showing the bag I have to pick up our dogs' business, but I knew what he was talking about because it annoys me, too. I sometimes walk Tigger and Kitty on those empty lots because of that space, because I can pick up more easily there, but then there's other dogs' efforts left behind.

I learned that he's a plumber who lives here, but is based in Southern California, convenient because the rest of his family lives in Los Angeles, in West Covina, in San Pedro, so whenever he has a job in L.A., he stays with them. Las Vegas is getting a new mega-resort called Resorts World Las Vegas that needs all kinds of construction people, including plumbers, and he's on the list. There's positions open for 400 plumbers, but 800 have signed up for the chance to be hired. He wants it because it would let him spend more time here. He still has the work in Southern California, so he's covered either way. He and his wife have lived here for eight years, his grandmother having bought that particular property 10-12 years ago, and they like it. His wife works at Vons, and it seems to be an easy existence. The work is there, family is there, and he likes his work. That's all you can really ask for in life and maintain total peace of mind, if not for the dog crap. He wants to find who's been doing it and plans to go to the owners of this mobile home park to tell them what's been going on, that things are not well-managed, that the front office expects everyone to pull weeds around their property, but doesn't do their part, with empty lots overgrown with weeds. Plus, if you're renting, it should be the park's responsibility to pull those weeds. That's what you'd think Maintenance is there for.

Nick had to get going and invited me over for a beer or wine some time, though I drink neither, but I'd be glad to talk with him some more some other time. After he left, I thought that yes, I could go see American Beauty, but I would only see the same people that I always see whenever I go to Sam's Town. Then the movie would be over and since Mom and Dad and Meridith would be out, I'd walk home since there's nothing else I can think of doing there. I decided instead that I'd watch American Beauty on DVD some time in the next few weeks. I wanted to go out into Las Vegas and see other people, especially the tourists here on spring break. I like them because they're pumping money into our local economy. Tourism is our main industry, and we need it.

It turns out that I chose well. On the way to the Walmart next to one of the taxiways and runways at McCarran, we drove past one of the runways seen clearly there, and as we were, a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400 was landing. One of the things we did on my birthday was park at the McCarran observation lot so I could watch another Virgin Atlantic 747 land. It was incredible seeing it come in to land, but to see it land as we were driving by it? That was totally unexpected and in fact, I noticed across the way at the international terminal that there was no 747 there. And then suddenly, there it was behind us, next to us. The speed of driving makes it even more awe-inspiring.

Then came visits to the Flamingo and Ellis Island and the Tropicana. The Flamingo looks decrepit, and some of the fixtures there look like they've been there since it opened in 1946. Not worth visiting again.

The Tropicana was fine, but too much white decoration in walls and tile and furniture. They're going for a South Beach look in Florida, which is fine, but I can't stand there not being contrasts.

At Ellis Island, the first paragraph of what may be my first novel hit me, and I hurriedly typed it into my cell phone. I began research for it fully last night, and I'm excited about it, and interested to see where it goes. It combines so many of my interests, though the challenge here will be making my interest organic to my main character and not merely making him my mouthpiece. I like the first paragraph, but I have to play with the introduction of the narrator after the explanation that opens my novel.

And to think that if I had gone to see American Beauty, I would have missed out on all of this.