Binion’s Casino, minus the shuttered Hotel, at 2:30AM on an idle Tuesday morning

I’m fresh off a blissful three days of antiquing, perusing downtown, and generally doing whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to, and for however long I wanted to. Sure, it’s nice to have friends to hang out with, but it’s also nice to not have anyone to answer to…such as on Monday night at 1:30AM when I decided to take a stroll down Fremont Street after a catnap in my $26 at the Plaza hotel. Solitude is a good thing, especially in downtown Las Vegas.

Here’s some of the things I experienced on my three-day adventure in solitude (which I mightily needed after a hellacious Memorial Day weekend at work, mind you):

-Laid out in my own backyard. Some people say this is white trash, but it’s all about the convenience factor. Forget the pool; you’re laying out to get sun.

-I found three vintage Vegas dinner show menus in the first antique store I went to. Each of them was just $5. These things can sell for much more on eBay, and to me they’re such a tangible piece of history.

-I stayed at the “new” Plaza in downtown Vegas. Let’s just say all the new paint, purple spotlights, nice restaurants, and fancy furniture from the mothballed Fontainebleau can’t save this place from the spotty service, lax security, and hideous housekeeping standards. But at least I know that now, and I’d’ve never known firsthand had I not experienced it.

-Played penny slots from 2-3AM in downtown Vegas. I was worried at first to leave my hotel room, but there was no one on Fremont Street or in the casinos besides jovial drunks and plenty of police and security. And a few prostitutes, whom the police were questioning.

-I perused the Gambler’s General Store, right down Main St. from the Plaza. I was scared to go in this place at first because I thought it was more of an industry warehouse than a retail outlet for tourists like myself to mosey into, but the place is a goldmine of vintage Vegas relics. I got seven postcards for 30-cents total, including a Bob Stupak’s Vegas World one (Google it if you’re not familiar), and one touting the Mirage as Vegas’ “newest casino, which fits right in and is already a tourist attraction within itself.” The Mirage opened in 1989, BTW…these brand new postcards are truly vintage. Here’s a pic of the flashy front of the GGS, which clearly draws the curious tourists in.

Gambler’s General Store on Main Street, Las Vegas

-I hit up two smaller antique stores in the downtown area. Didn’t buy anything at either one, but it was fun to browse.

-Got my hair did by my magnificent new hair girl, Gia from the Bronx. It’s fun to talk about how we both like living in Vegas, but how much we miss home. Funny how a girl from the Bronx and a guy from South Georgia can be thinking the same thing, but in different ways.

-Went to Sam’s Club and got my beloved string cheese, and also got some baby tomatoes and blueberries while I was in there. Few things are as blissful to me as a freshly cut tomato with salt on it, even if it’s a baby one.

-Finally got my truck washed, for the first time since moving here. My dad always washed it when I visited home, and it was looking a bit quite dusty after almost four months. I’d not been through a car wash machine in years, so it was kinda fun.

I also did the truly ho-hum things, like washing my new work uniform for the first time, and laying out some more. But enough of that…I found this quote yesterday, on of all places, and have to share it here just as I did on Facebook. Read it and weap:

“But this shift to a Facebook world of incessant ‘friending’, Professor Sherry Turkle correctly warns us, is a ‘seductive fantasy’ which is weakening us both as individuals and as a society. The problem, she explains, is that a ‘capacity for solitude is what nurtures great relationships’. But in today’s always-on social media world, our solitude has been replaced by incessant online updates, which both weaken our sense of self and our ability to create genuine friendships.”–Andrew Keen, CNN commentator

I truly don’t think enough of us take the chance to enjoy time by ourselves. I learned so much about myself in the last three days, not mention I experienced things that probably wouldn’t have been possible with another person watching the clock and chiding me along to the next destination or activity. I learned that I’ll put up with a not-so-clean hotel room for $26/night if the furniture is fancy. (Granted, I won’t stay there again, but anyway.) I learned to go into places that I may not be welcome, like the Gambler’s General Store where they were practically giving away these crazy vintage postcards. I also learned that no matter where we’re from, our life experiences can be similar, such as is the case with Gia and me. It’s fun to learn these new things in blissful solitude…and then blog about them for all to read. Welcome to 2012.


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