The 500Jerk Spouse and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas. "Our" judge (the wonderful federal judge for whom we both clerked after law school) had a clerks reunion weekend in Las Vegas, so we decided to make a trip out of it. For anyone unfamiliar with my country mouse habits, though, I need to be clear: I'm not much of a Las Vegas-style partier. I like to be in bed early. I don't smoke or drink, much. I don't gamble. I generally don't dress like a hooker (threw that "generally" in there to keep it interesting). My favorite activity? I like to read. READ. You don't hear much about READERS living it up in Las Vegas, do you? Right. All that being the case, though, I'm still never going to miss a law clerk's reunion. The Judge's motto is, "Once a clerk, always a clerk," and when the Judge calls, by golly, I come running.
And I'm so glad we went. The 500Jerk Spouse and I had a great time catching up with the Judge, his lovely wife, and the other law clerks. The Judge has kindly taken an active interest in his clerks' personal and professional lives, and visiting with him is always a treat. The Spouse and I also toured the Hoover Dam and ate at some wonderful restaurants (e.g., Lotus of Siam, which the now-defunct Gourmet rated the best Thai restaurant in the United States, as well as Thomas Keller's Bouchon and its associated patisserie). Our hotel room at Caesars was fantastic: spacious and modern. The Spouse patiently coached me through several hands of blackjack, and I actually won $50. I read a short history of Las Vegas (there's that pesky READING habit again). We had a good time.
Yet the whole weekend I felt faintly uneasy. It's ridiculous, but the public drunkenness, smoky casinos, loud music, expensive shops, hordes of people, and scads of twenty-somethings nearly baring it all just gave me a sense of . . . imminent apocalypse. I don't know if it's my Catholic heritage or some karmic foreboding, but the spectacle of materialism, self-indulgence, and vice in Las Vegas made me worried. Concerned. Like Yahweh's wrath was going to come down on the entire place Old-Testament style, such that I maybe needed to hightail it out of there ASAP. And no looking back! See, e.g., Lot's wife.
It's silly, isn't it? And of course, it was wonderful to catch up with the Judge and have a weekend away with the Spouse.
But as for Las Vegas itself, that self-exultant Sin City, built on Mob money, high stakes, quickie divorce laws, and shattered dreams? As to Las Vegas, I must confess: Las Vegas and I are NOT A MATCH.