I was in Vegas one year and one week ago to the day and I’m back. Only one year?!
Back then the world didn’t yet know what was hurtling its way. Some did, but most of us ignored the anxious warnings of doctors and public health officials, preferring to believe that something happening over there wouldn’t affect us over here. We now know COVID 19 was everywhere by then. And so was I.
I am in a hotel room writing this and through my window there’s a closed pool and a sad, only somewhat open Las Vegas strip in the distance. Our film crew is the only guest staying in this otherwise closed hotel and as you walk through the ground floor casino to get to the elevator, there is a strange quiet. No clanging and ringing of slot machines or chatter of guests.
Two days ago, I pulled my dusty suitcase from the top shelf in my closet and ripped off the old airline tags. JFK> ABQ March 12, 2020. We laugh about it now but in a kind of astonished way. We were in the air, flying back from Johannesburg through JFK to Albuquerque on the day the world began shutting down. I haven’t been anywhere since, until now.
I spent years complaining about and taking my film career for granted and now feel nothing but immense gratitude for it. I’ve been able to keep my Union health insurance throughout this year when so many others lost theirs. I get tested 3 times a week while working. I have as much PPE as anyone could ever need. And, though all of the travel used to drive me crazy, I love that it is bringing me back into the world as we speak.
Yesterday I walked and walked. It’s all I do when here. Kind of like NY. Walk, watch people, walk more.
Covid has wreaked havoc on this city. The top layer is open, just enough to stay afloat, but everything else is closed. I don’t know how it keeps going with so few visitors.
But, Vegas will survive. Maybe more than any other city, people want to escape and that is what this city is. One big, dark, weird escape. And personally, I’m grateful for my own little work escape it’s given me right now.