Bright Lights

New York. Los Angeles. Las Vegas.

Three iconic cities loomed large in our imaginations growing up on the prairies in Canada. As adults we have to visit them. We take our children to LA, visit Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Rodeo Drive, where my nine-year old daughter buys herself an outfit with her own money while I debate a $50 purchase of Georgio perfume which is all the rage at the time.

New York will have to wait. But Las Vegas is a “must see” at least once in a person’s life time even if we’re not gamblers. A weekend package seems an ideal 40th birthday present for my husband. We’ll leave the kids with grandma, fly out after work on Friday and be back Sunday evening. And bonus—it’s February. We’ll hit a bit of warm air out there in the desert.

“We’ll be there soon, I think,” says my husband checking his watch.

“Hum.” I crane my neck to peer out the window. “What’s that?”

“Where?” He leans across me to look. “You mean that glow on the horizon?”

“Yeah. Looks like some sort of dome, doesn’t it?”

We check periodically over the next half hour. The glow is always there. A reflection of moonlight? Not likely. An early, early, early sunrise? Now, that’s really stretching it.

“Oh, my God,” I say as the pilot begins the descent. “That must be Vegas.” For the next few minutes, I keep my face glued to the window and watch the buildings and streets of Vegas emerge within the dome of light.

“There’s gotta be a gazillion light bulbs out there,” I say as we touch down.

“There’s gotta be a gazillion light bulbs I say,” as we walk out of the airport into the bright lights that could be the noonday sun, except I know it’s after midnight.

“There’s gotta be a gazillion light bulbs out there,” I say as I shade my eyes when we descend from the bus in front of our hotel on The Strip.

We check in, find our room, and flip the switch. The ubiquitous hotel bedside lamps with their twenty watt bulbs sputter to life. I spot something white on the bed. It’s a postcard. I pick it up and read:

Please help us conserve energy.

Turn off the lights when you leave the room.

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6 comments on “Bright Lights

  1. Signs like this are ironic on two levels; first the obvious discrepancy between the waste of electricity by big business that will profit from it and small business that is trying to stay afloat, and second, that those who put up signs like this don’t realize who blatantly stupid it sounds. Or – it’s a joke.
    I think a person could write a book about signs around town and around the world. Thanks for the chuckle.

  2. Hi, the sign is silly, if not so tragic. Apparently Las Vegas and other huge cities are doing harm to the natural bird migratian paths and some, like Vancouver and many others, require offending lights out at night when not necessary.
    Your story gives a quiet nudge to those of us who become complacent to the whole issue of energy conservation and global warming and food security. Thank you.
    Karen from Vancouver

  3. I read (don’t know if it’s true) that in the Middle Ages the trubadors were so good at imitating bird calls they changed migration patterns of the birds. Man’s legacy to nature!?

  4. Good one Darlene. How very stupid it makes those look who burn the powwer and try to save energy at the same time. Sounds almost Mexican.
    Clay from Mexico

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