Fair Weather Commitments

Posted: 10 years ago | By: Christine Somers | In: Health & Body | Read Time: 5 minutes, 28 seconds

On February 15th I committed to starting a regime that would result in better health and running a 10K. Little did I know that the New York area was still two months away from the joys of spring as well as snow free streets and sidewalks! At first I road my stationary bike in front of the TV but that only lasted a couple of weeks before boredom set in. If I could not go outside to exercise, I just wasn’t interested. I had truly made a fair weather commitment.

Now that the fair weather is here, I have no excuse. Today, at 5:49 AM I hit the pavement but this time not in New York but in Las Vegas…America’s Adult Playground. I personally have a love hate relationship with Vegas and can only spend about 3 days in the City of Excess before I get antsy to go home.

Part of my love for Vegas is that it is filled with characters, home grown and imported. The cab drivers as well as others in the burgling Vegas service industry have a story and are willing to share it. So it should come as no surprise that my favorite part of the day in Vegas is early morning when the real characters of Vegas are up and out.

As I head towards the revolving front door of the Hilton, I must walk pass the casino. Mind you it is 5:49 in the morning so it seems surreal to see 20 people gathered around the Craps table all focused on the next toss of the dice. This was a subdued bunch appearing tired but just unable to call it a night. This is not to say that Craps isn’t an exciting game at 5:00 in the morning. It can be. Years ago my early morning walk took me passed a Craps table at the Paris Hotel and I was startled to see the table crowded with people yelling, clapping and jumping up and down as the excitement of the roll of the dice over took them.

Outside there was a glorious blue sky, moderate temperature and silence. Silence, is a rare commodity in Vegas. At all times of the day, Frank, Elvis or Barry sings along to the sounds of the slot machines. But I was out the door and off! As I started down the sidewalk towards the mountains, I noticed a man who was opening the doors of a series of magazine vending machines. While I was not really paying attention to him, the thought did cross my mind that he worked for the local paper and was refilling the vending machines with the morning paper. But as I jogged passed him he said sheepishly to me, “I am taking these back home to show…”

Now I was curious. When I looked at the magazines, I realized they were the naked girls fliers and magazines that litter Vegas. I amusingly thought, “Yeah right, your are taking them to show the others back home what it is like in America. I’m not your mother. You don’t owe me an explanation.” I could go on and tell you how I spent several minutes trying to sort out the origin of his accent…India or Pakistan or whether I thought it was appropriate to take material
one found personally disgusting home to corrupt friends and family. But now I am passing a man in an Armani suit, loafers and wearing a pair of Ray Bans. I spent several minutes trying to figure out who he was. I am sure he was an actor but try as I might; I could not remember his name. With the Wynn on my left I jogged up the street where I came upon a neo orange flower growing wild next to a barren apartment parking lot. I tried to follow the sidewalk but it took me into the parking lot of a large church. I noticed in Vegas that sidewalk easily merge into the entrances of shops, casinos and other establishments and then out again.

As I jogged around the curve in the sidewalk, I was startled to see a man in an orange hat passed out on the lawn. Unlike New York where the homeless sleep on the subway trains or in doorways, the homeless in Las Vegas sleep on grassy patches out in the open. Just before departing for Las Vegas I was in Washington, DC. I was queued up in the cab line at Union Station; a stately building that evokes a grander time. A raggedly dress woman was pacing, yelling at an imaginary companion who appeared not to be listening. Again this morning I wondered about “living on the streets” and the fine line between a delusion and a fantasy.

Now I was passing others as they were out running, jogging and walking. One man had on gloves, which caused me to wonder how early he started his run to make gloves necessary. A women with spiked brown hair, piercings and tattoos covering her arms, gave me a hearty good morning as she ran by me. She was a local and her good morning said, “you are one of us”. What group that is, I am not sure but for that moment, I was one of her people!

As I jogged passed the Riviera Hotel, I laughed at the 3 dimensional brass plated advertisement for the Crazy Girls Sexiest Topless Revue. The copy reads No “IFS” “ANDS” or and underneath are naked backsides of 7 shapely bronzed women interlocking arms.

I am having such a good time I wonder how much longer I can stay out before I need to head back and get ready for work. Finally I must return to the Hilton and as I am waiting for the light to change, I hear the crash of glass on the sidewalk. I turn to see two young black boys standing over a broken bottle. “Oh %*#&” blurted the taller boy. I can’t believe that I spent $20 dollars on that bottle. He turned to me and said, “Did you see me break that bottle?” I responded accurately, “no, but I heard it”.

By now the smell of alcohol filled the air, we went our separate ways. As they carried their pizza down the road, I looked at them one last time and was grateful that I did not have to raise my children in Vegas. Often people will say that running is mindless and boring. My suggestion to you is, get off the treadmill and go outside.