Las Vegas Motel Fix
I don't know if I picked the place or if the place picked me.It was December 2011 when I stepped in there. When I met my friends Eddie and Jody. Siegel Suites, 700 North Las Vegas blvd, NV. They were living there after seven years of living in a tunnel. At the end of the Las Vegas strip, the end of the city. The other end. The end where those who just got lost turn around. When they realize they went too far. The fringe. The edge. The no man's land where you better know what you do not see. Where nothing is what it seems to be.
Casa Siegel Suites. Walking distance from the US Veteran Office and the Bureau of Parole Officers, both have customers here. A communal residence. Living in a motel. A bedroom. They should call it a roombed. The large king bed is the room and all its furniture at once, that's where one does everything, eat, love, nap, sleep, work, see friends, watch tv, daydream. A kitchen with its motoring fridge. A bathroom. A tv set. That's permanent live fixture here. To change companion just switch channel. The AC. To adjust the temperature keep that door open. And you'll see who is walking by.
People here are different from the homeless people in the tunnels. They could be the same, I recognized some, but they wear a different air, they are still errant but for the moment they have found a place. That's what climbing out of the underground does to you. The world comes at you. Now home is the room where you retreat from too much world or too much light. When it used to be that home was the flicker in the dark.
Not everyone comes from below the surface. Some were higher up in the social elevator when its bottom fell off. The recession has hit hard in Vegas, as hard as Detroit, Michigan. 170,000 jobs lost in Nevada. More houses of cards than anywhere else, more foreclosures when the game was called. Entire tracks of new homes abandoned. Vacant mansions. New faces at Las Vegas motels. Families. Siegel Suites welcomes pets.
As soon as there are people there is society. It organizes itself like anywhere in the world. A few belongings, a place to be, new neighbors. Easy to get to know, walls are so thin. These are the crazies and these are the druggies and their feeders in their quarters tells me Jody. Here we are amongst the normal people. I guess what separates them is the loudness of the scream and the loudness of the silence. People in crisis, people in between. Broken fates are laboring souls and bodies hard. Hope lives in purgatory and dies in the streets,
The first night I could not sleep, the guy next door screams the whole night like an animal in the jungle. The morning after his room is found open, a mess, and no one inside. Never seen again. A few doors away Chico and his new girl friend. In love. All proud of his German made heavy duty sewing machine, he is back in business, setting shop in his room, reupholstering seats and helping her to get going on her jewelry.
The air is hot. Last rays are setting ablaze " Neon Yard", that chaotic junkyard of broken neon tubes and light fixtures just behind the residence. Temperature goes down, doors open, people step out of their room and sit outside legs hanging between the rails. Puffs of smoke, winks, conversations slow at the start, it takes a bit of time to realize you are not alone. Moving cars, slamming doors, shouts, the parking lot takes center stage in the middle of the improbable theater where the inhabitants are the spectators of what and whom comes and goes. Life watching its own.
Fix your life or get your fix. This is Siegel Suites for you.
This place will stay with you. Get familiar with the odd and the odd will get familiar with you.