It is a warm Wednesday evening in Las Vegas. I drive down the Strip, past Old Vegas and Fremont St, on my way to a boneyard where neon signs come to rest.
You have to go in with the group here, no solitary wanderers allowed. It is dusk; the sun is just beginning to set as we walk thru the gates and into the wonderland of vintage Vegas…
The tour guide starts talking away, leading us in and giving us a flurry of facts & info. Out of nowhere, a random cat wanders in and struts toward us. In typical cat fashion, it seems to think it is we who are in the way, not the other way around. Despite the visual playground surrounding us, the group is now riveted to this cat, laughing and furiously taking pics (myself included).
The guide however, is terrified of cats and doesn’t find this sudden spotlight-stealer amusing. She tries to walk us away from the cat & distract us with more facts & figures, but – nope. The cat has stolen the show. The cat has won.
The cat begins leading the way, silently dismissing her. We all start following the cat. We now have a new tour guide.
And we all seem to know this new guide is far superior. For one thing, this one is silent, letting us absorb this boneyard in our own way. This one lets us go at our own pace, unconcerned with time or schedules. This one allows me to wander & photograph without the distraction of chatter. And this one’s confident, mysterious arrival adds on an extra ingredient to this already surreal experience. Unpredictability. The essence of Vegas itself.
As I stand next to these towering florescent structures and this self-assured cat, in the middle of a neon jungle, in the middle of a vast desert, I can’t help but think – what a weird, beautiful Wednesday night. Truly. Only in Vegas.