It is almost 11:30 p.m. in Las Vegas. I have retreated to my hotel room in this enormous complex for a bit before I decide whether to rejoin our jovial crew on our last night of this convention. There is a lot for me to process from this trip, and I am not particularly excited about getting started on it. What I am excited about was this opportunity to travel with a great group of people and represent a company like this. I cannot say enough good things about the trip.
But I do not like this city.
It took a few days to really believe that statement. It is not as if I have ever heard great things about the wholesomeness of what I have observed over the last few days, but it has been particularly disappointing in action. I want to move past the cynicism of just being a prude, but I also tend to look at things a bit differently. This city just feels hollow, and in that I almost feel a bit of a kindred spirit. It has a billion ways to have somebody's definition of fun -- casinos, shows, attractions, etc. But it does not feel like fun. If it were not for the people I am with, there is simply no way I would possibly want to be here alone.
Nothing is as it appears. The bars and restaurants are dirtier than anything we have in Nashville, and the lights are kept just low enough so you cannot see the glaring flaws. It may come from hard use -- this hotel alone has more people in it at any given time than most American cities. The interactions I have had with the people have similarly been an illusion. Beauty is so much more than skin deep, but the shells of human beings I see walking around here is rather discouraging.
At times, I care too much about the happiness and well-being of others. That's not bragging, it is actually a legitimate character flaw. I get physically ill at the sight of someone that is by all measures living a broken dream. I sat quietly as two men were propositioned, and pondered for a moment what crossroads they were at, and what crossroads the two other individuals must have reached. We joke about our faith in humanity always being lost, but I think it may be difficult for me to track it down after witnessing that. My southern raising -- scratch that, any kind of raising -- puts that incident at a point of frustration where I needed to take a moment away from everything.
We are leaving tomorrow. In spite of all of it, I do want to come back next year for this event. But this city is just a consequence of that desire. It certainly is not the reason.