Very Personal

By Norma Jean

I don't have a clue as to the meaning of life. Particularly stumped, I sit in this Las Vegas hotel room only floors above the whirring and buzzing of slot machines and exaggerated displays of human desire and consumption.

Every turn of heel reveals even more colossal entertainment, not much more exaggerated than the hilarious and disturbing scenes displayed inside the Circus Circus casino from the movie Fear and Loathing. One need not be under the influence of much more than caffeine to feel core fear and raw desire and wonder how we humans dream up these nightmares.

It's weird all right. Seas of disoriented people from Everywhere, U.S.A., shuffle around, heads spinning as white hybrid tigers pace behind glass, "rain forest" restaurants drip water from ceilings, blank-faced people gape at erupting volcanoes or drool over gargantuan mountains of all-you-can-eat, fat-infested foods piled upon green giant-sized plaster carrots and string beans. The dizzying delights of Vegas have me whimpering for psychic refuge as I'm toyed and jerked through mazes of overdone sensory stimulation.

There are far too many choices and way too much available in life anyway, and to be cast into this garish environment in search of bigger winnings is too much to endure.

Every one who really contemplates peace will tell you it's getting the morning tea brewed just perfectly or gently kissing the back of your lover's neck as he/she sits at a window. It's from this orange room--fatigued from flapping from one judgment to the next, from resisting what I see, to wanting something I don't have--that inspires my thoughts.

At the Alibi offices, we feel comforted by the familiarity of co-workers and their habits, giggling at each other's shortcomings and feeling inspired by our individual geniuses and talents. A sense of familiarity and community is the cozy feeling that brings meaning to each day, settling the stomach.

According to Dean Ornish, author of Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy, "People who feel isolated and lonely have three to five times the rate of premature death and disease from all causes compared to those who have a sense of community ... even more than individuals focused on low-fat diets, exercise and clean living."

Poo-pooing this rehashed, touchy-feely "love is the answer" drivel, ask yourself if you harbor closet or overt arrogance that views "support groups" or "love heals" thinking as placebo for those less endowed intellectually or those emotionally damaged. People may set themselves apart because of successes of one kind or another, feeling somehow they earn the love and respect of friends and community, getting their community jollies the "entitled" way. Fame and achievement are grand, and our culture is fixated on their intoxicating haze, obscuring the fact that we depend on and need each other immensely in very simple ways.

Landing down from Planet Hollywood and Caesar's pad, I too struggle with intimacy and being pathetically tempted by life's circus. Lo and behold, upon me now are the big challenges of life, a real LTR, raising a child in this culture of smoke and mirrors and, of course, facing aging.

Pensive from Las Vegas,

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