C.’s flight home from the Middle West was delayed due to some tornadoes that were tearing up Missouri, so I had time to kill at the Las Vegas airport, where it feels like being returned to a pleasant memory of 1987: corridors of neon, spaceship aluminum, slot machines, and burgundy carpet.

Eager tourists queued up to photograph themselves with the new Vegas slogan. A few years ago, Vegas decided to shake off the sleazy implications of What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. So they hired an advertising agency to drain the English language of any meaning until it became a cheap koan that belongs anywhere: What happens here, only happens here. I pondered this phrase until it became terrifyingly existential.

A tattered man settled into the bench next to me and surrounded himself with a fortress of plastic bags and the weather of the street. He launched into a litany of muttered theories about the government and a man named Bobby. I would have given him a dollar or two, but I never seem to have any cash these days. It might be worth carrying some for these moments. Because I’m goddamned lucky. A few tweaks in the timeline could have left me in his seat, haunted and alone. Hell, it could still happen. Two airport cops eyed the man for a while, then kept walking.

Time stretched into a crawl while my neighbor’s muttering downshifted into a snore. Eventually, the big screen said C.’s flight had landed, and I scanned the faces that passed by, each defined by the simple fact of not belonging to her. When I finally spotted her at the other end of the terminal, she gave a little wave, and time resumed again.

Legowelt – Metro Airport

The TEAC Life | 2011 | Bandcamp