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Entitled

 

Las Vegas is a city obsessed with VIP status. Many people walk around with the sense that they are a VIP, even when they are just normal people. This is so weird in comparison to Wisconsin, where you are reinforced from babyhood to be cautious of other people’s feelings, make sure that you aren’t taking advantage of someone’s generosity, and above all else, put no one through unnecessary trouble. This is a culture where you hold a door for the stranger behind you, even if they are 30 feet away, maybe even 40 feet away, maybe even 45 feet away, but then you feel guilty if you screwed it up and that guy starts that awkward sheepish run-walk (because they don’t want to make you stand there, holding the door open for them) and you just wish you had timed your arrival better so that you could have both walked in the door together, like friends who have never met.

The result of this underlying cultural agreement is that, for instance, if you are waiting to turn left at a red light, you go through the intersection with urgency if there are more than three cars behind you because god forbid that you are the reason that someone else didn’t make the light and had to wait another round. It also means that people who feel they are terrible at parking their car will walk the equivalent of two or three city blocks to avoid a tight parking spot or parallel parking.

The above photo, taken in downtown Summerlin, is a metaphor for everything different about the Las Vegas area to me.

It’s hard to see, but most of the cars are parked about 16 inches from the curb. However, the car nearest is parked a good two and a half feet from the curb. It’s important to note that every car in downtown Summerlin parks like this. Every damned car.

And so it goes everywhere, in many scenarios. For instance, in the parking garage at school, traffic goes both ways in most of the lanes. There are literally signs on every row stating “Traffic moves in both directions, keep right”. This is especially crucial because in this traffic garage, you have to make a series of blind 180 degree turns and you’re going to need to leave enough room for another car if they are coming from the opposite direction. But none of the other drivers do this. They barrel right up the center, because fuck everyone else, they are goddamned important.

If you want to change lanes on the highway? You are better off NOT using your turn signal, because if you use it, the person in the other lane is going to speed up to prevent you from changing lanes, like it’s a bout of freaking roller derby. I’ve put my turn signal on to change lanes and had to wait for literally four cars to speed up past me before I can get over. And god forbid anyone waiting at a red light show any kind of urgency going through it — when the light turns, there’s a good 5-10 second pause while the front car stops checking Twitter and then decides to gradually speed up to take the light at 5 mph, ignoring the fact that at least some of the 20 plus cars behind them are going to be waiting for another two or three light cycles. And of course, they had time to check Twitter because they themselves had been sitting at that light for the last fifteen minutes while the cars in front of them took THEIR sweet ass time to go through the light too.

Driving is just one of the behaviors, of course. People cut in line all the time. People steal parking spots out from under you. People who are done with their grocery business sit there checking the phone while the cashier checks their phone and all of them ignore the fact that you’re standing there behind them, watching your ice cream melt on the conveyer belt.

And here’s the rub — and I hate to bring this up, but these are all actions of the middle class people who live around my neighborhood. The same people who are literally right this moment standing out on Durango with picket signs imploring drivers to “Save our Community” and completely without irony, “Save our golf course!”  This in front of a tony subdivision called Rhodes Ranch that has 10 foot high white letters (ala the Hollywood sign) that spell out “Rhodes Ranch” amidst dozens of palm trees and man-made ponds and acres of real green grass that no one walks on or gets to enjoy (and which must be watered daily using far more water than you’d imagine because we live in a DESERT and it evaporates quickly) because it’s all just there to be admired by the passing traffic of Durango Road. We live in a desert and these assclowns are watering acres of grass to enhance the entryway to their gated community full of million dollar homes and increasing traffic congestion to publicize their cause celebre to stop a golf course (that only they get to use!) from getting turned into MORE million dollar homes. And they want the people who are driving in from other areas to staff the Vons and Popeye’s Chickens and 7-11s and clean their pools to do something for the love of god save our golf course. This literally happened on Friday evening during drive time, on the very day that the Senate was gutting the lower and middle classes via a firestorm of legislation.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could downgrade human behavior traits like computer parts? Remove a quarter of their self-entitlement and upgrade their situational awareness by about 200%. Because otherwise I sense a revolution is coming and these poor delusional people are going to be the first up against the wall.

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5 Comments

  1. kerry wrote:

    I would be permanently enraged if I lived there. How do you stand it?

    Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink
  2. Bev wrote:

    The photo made me feel very guilty. I learned to drive in SF in the 1950s and we lived on one of the steepest hills in the city. I could parallel park (with a stick shift–we never had automatic). Now I’m nearly 75, live in a city that is all flat, have an automatic, and can’t parallel park to save my soul. If I parked like that car, I’d be THRILLED that I at least got the car STRAIGHT. I embarrass myself every time I park.

    Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  3. Lorna Garey wrote:

    Hi, Bostonian here … you know that outside the Midwest turn signals are seen as a sign of weakness, right?

    Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
  4. Rick wrote:

    Just wondering. How often to you see the results of direct action? You know – Mercedes with the doors keyed, that sort of thing.

    Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 11:09 pm | Permalink
  5. Dawn wrote:

    Many drivers in Chicago do not pull over for emergency vehicles and it puts me in a rage. They are endangering first responders and preventing them from quickly getting to an emergency with no thought about how it would feel if it was their family members in the ambulance, their homes on fire, or their friends being attacked in some way.

    Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

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