Las Vegas: Moving in

The house is still beautiful this morning. We’re trying to make the place our own. One of the first things everyone did was take pictures of the three foreclosure notices on the front door, as if each of us owning the image gave us some stake in the legally-limboed property we’re sleeping in.

It’s lovely, all desert-sand painted walls and vast expanses of brown carpet. We’ve moved the fake fruit out of the basket in the kitchen, and replaced it with the bounty of our first grocery run. The work of settling in has begun.

It hasn’t quite taken, though—somehow the house resists us, offering the promise of pleasure but withholding its self. We saw a woman at the airport, huge breasts sloshing out of her top, wearing sunglasses in the midnight light of an overpriced bar. The house reminds me of her. It offers easy access to fantasy while hiding the conventional routes of access. Four of us spent half an hour searching fruitlessly for the breaker box yesterday. We went from perplexed to frustrated to personally affronted as closet after closet opened to reveal nothing but sunlight bouncing off of bare walls. It felt like the house was saying “Lie on my pillowy couches and gaze at the shiny giant plasma screen, but don’t think you’re going to get access to my wiring.” If the house hides the breaker box (for aesthetic reasons?), what else is it concealing? Libby sat alone in the kitchen for half an hour our first night while we picked others up at the airport, and when we came back she said “Everyone should have to spend time alone here.” The house makes noises. “It’s got a bit of a “The Shining” feel,” she told us, ducking her head and widening her eyes. She looked up. “You should try it.”

But maybe that’s wrong. Maybe the house isn’t preventing me from accessing some sort of interior space—some deep dark secret, or “truer” self—maybe the promise is all it is. Maybe there’s nothing inside the walls. Maybe Vegas houses run on magic that hasn’t reached the rest of the country, that allows electricity to run without wiring, allowing the house to exist as all surface—a mobius-abode where the dimension lost is the one that contains the stuff between the walls.
Or maybe this is Las Vegas, alien city in the desert, and we haven’t learned the questions we need to ask yet.

—Paz

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