Giving Thanks in Vegas

I woke up on treacherous Thanksgiving Day in Las Vegas. The setting seemed like the perfect getaway, suitable to the disorienting consumer-driven superficiality of a lie labeled a holiday.

Park MGM looked glamorous and clean, more simple and less ornate than other hotels according to Trip Advisor. Rows of reviews exclaimed how spotless and updated the rooms were, especially throughout COVID.

The lobby, like most lobbies, displayed the beauty we expected. The hotel room turned out to be like any other hotel room in Vegas. Thin walls that allowed the creaking sounds of our neighbor’s plumbing to seep into our quiet night. Streaked windows calling for a deep clean and offering a close-up view of the T-Mobile Arena, which bumped EDM for the masses on streets and hotel rooms. The cherry: Park MGM blasted a very loud foghorn that sounded a handful of times throughout the evening, sometimes long and urgent and other times in short bursts, a melody reminiscent of DJs vying for crowds’ attention.

I laid in bed trying to sleep, half-comfortable in white sheets tightly holding on to me for dear life & half-paranoid waiting for the next foghorn. I did get some sleep, dozing off into nightmares of plant disasters, meeting old friends in discord, and a strange spiritual experience in a public restroom. The last dream was just frustrating: seeing my neighbor setting up shop like a street cart in Seoul and running down to be left to buy nothing of value.

Dreams speak to us, and mainly my dreams tell me I need to relax and let go in more ways than one. This holiday is a shopping quest of incessant wants, and I’m guilty of all the above. While this visit was meant to be a nostalgic and exciting nod to my partying youth as much as our family trips spent splurging, it instead became a clear reminder that I’m no longer served by those things.

Instead of endless drinks & shopping, I craved the sun and any way out of the smoky maze of casinos. I also tired out quickly, no longer energized by the party but crudely fatigued by the commercial displays of fun & success. They too seemed tired.

It’s a holiday of thanks, and I struggled to find a cute and thoughtful image to message to my loved ones. The task to delineate and detract offensive, inaccurate, or blindingly ignorant depictions of this holidaze began. Any images that said “Happy Thanksgiving” was a no, as well as any turkeys or feasts. That left zero preferred options on my DuckDuckGo image search for “I’m thankful for you cute”. I headed to Canva and made my own using a template with different autumn leaves with aspirations written underneath. Cliche, sure, but it felt more honest, heartfelt, and disconnected from the genocide of Native Americans puppeteering as a peaceful dinner. At the top, I added my header: I’m thankful for you.

Sometimes, I’m served better by a rude awakening than a mature acceptance of what is now my reality. With my family recently coming back to live with me & my loving partner by my side, I thought this quick escape out of town (and into ignorance) could provide a fun vacation.

Nay, friends. When giving thanks in Vegas, it’s smart to remember who you are & act accordingly. Human beings cannot dissect ourselves as history has been dissected and rearranged, though popular culture invites us to do so readily. Our actions & the way we celebrate and acknowledge events matter.

What an honor to return to me, writing in this hotel room, & share my truth with the world wide web. I’m reminded of my blessings, who I am & also who I want to be. Thank you as always for reading.

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