Friday, July 28, 2006

Finding my Center in Vegas

Have you ever had those moments in your life when some random thing or some random someone reminds you of where you came from, and you're forced to contemplate for a minute or two just how far you’ve come from that place? Well that happened to me tonight here in Las Vegas. I hopped in a cab after a fantastic 4-star dinner at Michael Mina at The Bellagio and started a convo with the cab driver. I immediately noticed his southern accent and inquired about his hometown. Of all the places in this world he could have mentioned, he tells me that he is from Clio, South Carolina. Clio is a pea sized, shrinking town about 20 miles from where I grew up. In fact, I used to work on a farm in Clio in the summers during High School. I know the place extremely well. Our brief conversation focused less on the “who do ya know” game, and more on the “im really glad I had that small town upbringing” discussion. For one quick second, In the middle of the craziness and fabulosity of Las Vegas, 20 years of life experiences were stripped away and I was a small town NC boy again. And it felt good.

I think sometimes it takes small reminders like that to put us in our place. It was especially relevant now, for me, here in Vegas. This city is so over-the-top and far from realistic, that brief reminder of home provided just the right balance to keep me centered in the moment.

As we pulled up to my hotel I thought about asking him to do another loop down the strip so we could continue our conversation. but it didn’t happen. The juxtaposition of the insane Vegas environment and our conversation was just too appealing to end so quickly.

As I stepped out, the driver refused to let me pay him and said “good luck”. I replied with the same and he drove back into the neon jungle with memories of home fresh in his mind.


the doc said...


StratoCade said...

Dear Lord I understand where you're coming from on that one. As much as I sometimes run from my past, I know deep down that I was lucky to have the upbringing I enjoyed.

Good for you, Mr. Hollywood.

Scott said...

Oooh. That brings back memories. First of all, the bad one from Michael Mina. The last time I ate there, I got food poisoning after eating the best meal of my life. Quite disappointing. But I also don't let my mind wander back to growing up in a small town (Athol, MA). Sure am glad of it now, but at the time I HATED it!