Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Why Would Anybody Want To Live In Las Vegas?

Judging by the statisics, maybe 5,000 people a month are moving here. An amazing statistic.

Let's observe the obvious: Las Vegas is one of the few cities where the local economy depends almost entirely on tourism ( just like our southern neighbor, the country of Mexico, depends mostly on tourism, - that is, if you discount illegal drug and other trafficking! ). If Las Vegas were a super-hero ( using a rather forced metaphor here - let's call this superhero "Oscar de la Godman" )and Oscar were stripped (pun intended) of his super powers, namely: hotels, gaming, and all forms of entertainment, then what would be left to give him amazing strength in that never ending fight for Truth, Justice and the Almighty American Dollar?

Unfortunately, very little. Bugsy Segal had a vision when this place was mostly desert that few of his Chicago "associates" shared. Why would anybody want to travel to the desert? And stay here? - it's either too hot or too cold, and the sand keeps blowing in your eyes. Bugsey had a vision, and as they say, the rest is history.

Ask any local why they live here and they will do that "eyes skyward to the forehead" gesture, and after a few moments may give you some reasons; and if gaming is one of them, it is most likely because they work in the gaming industry. Rule #1: you quickly learn, if you live here you can't gamble like a tourist (for very long- unless you are very affluent!) Of course there are exceptions, but not many. Most people who live here are no different than people who live in any other large Southwestern city. They go to work everyday, buy or plan to buy homes in the suburbs, pay their bills and taxes (but no state income taxes!), save for their kid's education, and yes: drive the kids to soccer practise. Then there are the retirees who hang out at the local casinos, always looking for the deals. And students attending the local colleges, and Air Force personnel on Nellis Air Force Base. And many other stories (millions of them) in the naked city.

People used to move to the Southwest for a variety of health reasons. For example, the dry air and sunshine were considered to be a treatment for such maladies as rickets (vitamin D deficiency) and consumption (tuberculosis) before the advent of modern antibiotics. If you were allergic to the flora back East and it triggered asthma attacks, chances are the desert was a good alternative to the ocean cruise as a way of avoiding the allegins like pollen. Arthritis symptoms could sometimes be ameliorated by a reduction of humidity. There are still some people who cite health reasons for living here, but the average relative humidity rises yearly due to watering all those lawns and golf courses, and all those native trees from back East have been replanted here. So there aren't too many specifically health related reasons to live here, anymore. On second thought: maybe mental health could be a reason, as I have heard perhaps apocryphal stories of many people suddenly dropping everything and moving here for a "new start". And, with all the days of sunshine, living in Vegas could easilly be a cure for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

You may ask, and rightly so, "Why do I live here?" OK, here's my best shot at an answer: I live in a retirement community. The golf course is available most days. The outdoor heated pool is almost always available. If you drive in any direction it doesn't take long to be in the desert and away from the smog of the city. I suffer from insomnia, so it's nice to know that there is a place to go at 3:00 AM . I like the access to the casinos, and the shows and glitter of Vegas, knowing it is always there if and when I want it, but always tempered by the fact that it is always there! Too much of any good thing..., well you know! Las Vegas is also a good central location as a point of embarkation for visiting some of my other favorite Southwestern cities, like Albuquerque, LA, Tuscon, Sedona (AZ), San Diego; and other not-so-Southwest cities like San Francisco and Seattle. But I always come back here, and I like calling Vegas my home.

Somebody summed it up: you either love or hate Vegas, there is very little in between.

I would be interested to hear from other locals about why they like it here. And visitors who would like to live here.


Will said...

I don't know why I feel so good when I visit Vegas (Physically speaking)but my tinnitus is gone my hands stop hurting and my wallet feels lighter LOL. I am planing on retiring in Las Vegas because #1 some taxes don't exist #2 NO SNOW ( I've spent most of my life digging out and after last winters storm I think I'm finally done. My whole mission is to get off the East Coast). #3 The best real estate offers ( I can afford a house twice the size of my home back east and it isn't a colonial or a ranch). #4 I have an old Muscle car and it won't rot out in the desert. #5 If there is any potential that CBS will build another Star Trek the Experience I'll be able to get a Klingon Blood Draft (The biggest Star Trek Conventions are held in Las Vegas every August for fun and debauchery). #6 You can get away to the desert and watch the night sky. (Las Vegas has an Astronomy club which I can get together with other sky geeks like myself and not have to travel out of state in order to get a dark piece of sky). #7 Nevada is a gun friendly state and I collect guns. #8 Vegas has the best show in the world (You haven't lived until you've seen James Darren's show). #9 I really like the idea of being able to stay at a really nice hotel even if you live near by. (If for instance I have too much to drink or just don't feel like driving home I can just get a room. Not all of the time. I'd just like the option). #10 Vegas has some of the best restaurants I'd like to sample them. #11 Vegas has world class fashion stores(admittedly not many can afford such lavish offerings but it's still nice to see how what the wealthy think is tasteful)LOL. #12 It's getting close to Halloween and Halloween in Vegas is very interesting (WHOOOHOOOOO).

MercurialMike said...

@Will: It's the dry climate that helps you with your ( possible ) arthritis of the hands. I have experienced less allergies here ( admittedly, new ones have developed, to desert flora :) and less joint pain...

And you cite so many great reasons to retire here, many of which I share with you! I would not want to live anywhere else ( uh, with the exception of that big mansion overlooking the ocean :)

If you make it, enjoy your retirement here or at least enjoy Halloween in Vegas ...

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