Sunday, March 8, 2009

Stripless in Las Vegas

I'm just concluding a week-long visit with my son (Ceilee), daughter-in-law (Tosca), granddaughter (Taivyn), ex-partner and Ceilee's mother (Annie), and our granddog (Zeus, a four-year-old pit bull with the sweetest disposition I've ever encountered in a canine).

This evening I'll take an Amtrak bus to Kingman AZ, where I'll rendezvous with the eastbound Southwest Chief, marking the start of a three-day train ride that will get me to Carrboro NC and the third weekend of an eight-part series of facilitation training with my wife, Ma'ikwe. In addition to the excitement and anticipation that I always feel for training weekends, I will be reuniting with Ma'ikwe when train #6 chugs into Albuquerque around noon tomorrow, ending a three-week separation. I've missed her a lot and am glad we have three days together before we're on stage in the Tarheel State.

Knowing that we'd appreicate some privacy after our three-week separation, I've cashed in credits (I use an Amtrak credit card, which earns train miles in the same way that airline cards earn plane miles) to upgrade to sleeping car accommodations. Thus, the long train ride affords us ample opportunity for other activities than just mapping out role plays, games of Scrabble, and looking out the window.

Ceilee has been in Las Vegas for two years now, and I've visited him here a half dozen times. While we usually go to the Strip at least once a visit, this time we didn't. It's hard to think about Las Vegas without immediately conjuring an image of the Strip—America's most demonstrative tribute to Baal, the false god of materialism and excess. Think of it as cancer as an art form.

To be fair, I enjoy walking the Strip
occasionally (for which there is never an off season, or even a bad time of day). I can appreciate immersing myself in urban madness from time to time, and the Strip is an attraction for me in much the same way as Chinatown in Manhattan, the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, Pike Street Market in Seattle, Bourbon St in New Orleans, or even the River Walk in San Antonio. Looking is free and, in the case of Las Vegas, I never tire of the syncopated water fountain shows in front of the Bellagio. This time, however, we never got around to it. While it's not the reason most people flock to Sin City, Annie and I coordinated cross-country travel simply for family time.

Excepting a dinner out, a game of twilight golf, and a hiking excursion to the snow-covered slopes of nearby Mt Charleston, we stayed home. Annie & I got to practice being grandparents, taking both Taivyn and Zeus out for a walk every day, and providing Tosca reliable childcare when she went to weekday aerobics class or doctor appointments. We watched some television, played some games, and grilled in the backyard. There was plenty of time for conversation, and adjusting to the rhythms of my son's family.

While Ceilee & Tosca are leading a more traditional life (that looks more like the one my parents led) than the one Annie & I created at Sandhill, it's their choice, and we've come this week to celebrate relationships, not to judge them.

It's been a great week.

1 comment:

Randy said...

I've just read your article on Geoph Kozeny and was deeply moved. I only learned who he was today as I was researching communities,searching for inspiration on creating a mobile community. The three communities I have participated in (Marengo ystreet Commune--New Orleans, La, Mobilia--same city and Vortex, Tampa, Fla) would have greatly profited from the connectedness he so strongly supported.
I wondered whether you are familiar with one of our useful discoveries: Buckminister Fullers distinction between moral and technical solutions to problems among people: (Power, privacy, performance,property,peacemaking and purpose as I see them) In my last communal experience in Tampa we employed this distinction to the hilt, speed-bumping as we termed the implementation of technical solutions; (as opposed to "please drive slowly" signs)to all these problems--except purpose.
We never learned to speed-bump that. An example of speed-bumping was a 6 color wheel on each door to designate the degree of privacy we desired. More on request--
Randy Vining