A Few Random Observations on Reno

  • I am a bit thrown back by the question: “Smoking or nonsmoking.”
  • The Cal-Neva casino has the following message on its marquee: “Dog and draft: $1.50.” I am a bit bemused by the fact that there are no articles whatsoever before these two nouns. However, another sign did in fact refer to “A Bud.” What this suggests to me is that if a beer has a brand name, it is worth referring to by an indefinite article.
  • My notes are all packed away, but I believe the historical shrine in front of the County Courthouse reads: “Before the white man came,” as if to suggest that it is the white man who, above all, matters here. The only other memorial is one devoted to World War II.
  • I highly suggest that you order a chicken Caesar salad in a steakhouse. It throws the staff off a bit. In fact, the steakhouse menus are devoid of vegetables altogether — outside of potatos.
  • And speaking of restaurants, I attempted to dine at the Circus Circus steakhouse without success. Despite the fact that there was no customers there to speak of, the maitre’d said that I couldn’t dine at his establishment. Because there was a very strict dress code and I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt. He intimated to me that all shirts must have sleeves. I pointed out that mine did, but that they were in fact shorter. But they were sleeves nonetheless. I then pointed out to him the steakhouse’s barren environs and asked him if anyone would really care if I, a short-sleeved shirt man, dined at his establishment. The maitre’d in turn said that if he made an exception for me, he’d have to make an exception for everyone. I pointed out again that, at the present time, there were hardly great throngs of people trying to barge their way through the doors. He still refused. So I ended up supping at the adjacent Americana Cafe, which was similarly barren and had a staff-to-customer ratio of 19 to 1.
  • A Circus Circus security guard called me “a highly disturbed man” because I wore my Cabinet of Dr. Caligari tee-shirt. I pointed out to him that it was a high watermark in German Expressionist cinema and a good flick to boot. The guard says he’s seen the film, but insinuates that it is not an experience he wants to repeat again.
  • There is a theatre in the Downtown Reno area! Just south of the Truckee River on Virginia Street. Recent offerings included Mamet and Albee. So don’t diss Reno for being without culture.
  • The one phenomenon that I am unfamiliar with is the large boorish man with the not unattractive, skinny and dutiful wife/significant other. I saw about six such couples in various restaurants and I wondered what the women were doing with such louts. (Louts being defined not as anything stereotypical, but we’re talking men who publicly disparage their wives/SOs, burp audibly, stuff a napkin underneath their necks (instead of placing it in their laps), and force their wives/SOs to do all their work, such as paying the bill and flagging down the waiter, while they sit burping and stuffing their faces without abatement.) I call a few friends about this and they remind me (Mr. Boho) that some people marry for money rather than love, and willingly hope to coast by on their looks. Sometimes my optimism gets in the way of reality.
  • When an artist records a mainstream pop hit, I wonder whether he’s really proud of the fact that it’s being played at a casino while people are losing money.
  • So many sad people.
  • I’m the only person who dances on the Circus Circus shuttle while the cheesy music plays up. Some kids join in with me and we all start laughing. One asks to buy her an ice cream cone. Since I’m essentially killing time and it’s better than supporting the Casino Development Fund with another terrible, money-losing round of blackjack, I oblige.
  • Why are so many kids unsupervised at 2 AM?
  • Who was the person who decided that the pawn shops on Virginia Street belong on the east side (with the exception of Harrah’s) and the big casinos belong on the west? Perhaps the idea here is that “going west” involves hope. If the zoning people intended this as a joke, they are truly sick-hearted people.
  • I can’t even fling the Circus Circus chickens right. Meanwhile, ace parabolic calculators, who are half my age, wander off with large stuffed animals.
  • There is very little concern for pedestrians in this town. I wonder if the pedestrian has the right of way in Nevada. I am nearly run over three times — two times by large sports utility vehicles.
  • Nothing beats cruising down Virginia Street in a Mustang. Then again, living in an urban center and not owning a car, driving is very much a novelty to me. Although if you play my kind of music, cowboys will look over at you as if they are ready to kill you. Apparently, it’s a provincial offense to blast LCD Soundsystem along their turf. Fortunately, I was able to talk myself out of a potential Duel situation by flashing them a smile and the thumbs-up sign.
  • Gotta go. My laptop battery’s just about shot. Happy Turkey Day, one and all.


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