Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Las Vegas design, or how to effectively cut oneself off from the world.



I recently had occasion to attend an industry conference (DICE 2012) in Vegas.  It was held at a resort off the strip and I had a hotel room in the same place.

Entering the resort, I passed through a semi-opaque set of doors, and I was in another world.

A lot has been said about Casino layout, and how it's designed to be as comfortable as possible. Not out of a sense of care for the visitor, but so that they can extract as much money as possible.  A friend recently sent me this link:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/lasvegas/sfeature/sf_architecture.html


To be honest, the resort left me a bit claustrophobic.


For the four days of the conference, I seldom saw the outdoors, and when I did, it wasn't particularly appealing.  The window in my room opened on desert.  Yeah, the mountains were kinda pretty, but it sure gave me a sense of isolation. I did get a chance to see some old friends, and that was a nice change of pace certainly, but coming back to the resort was a little depressing.

Walking anywhere in the resort, I had to pass through the gauntlet of gaming tables, game machines, scantily clad hostesses, cigarette smoke and the fake, piped in sound of one-arm-bandit payoffs.

These things hold no real interest for me, but I could feel the pull of temptation.  Having your entire environment designed to point you at such things could affect the most pious of us.

Clearly, I'm not a saint, and I'm not much of a gambler or a drinker, but I was sorely tempted to both.  I'll admit to spending $20 on video poker, and for a wonder, I ended up with $5 of winnings!  Take that Vegas odds!  I thought about playing more, and felt the pull of temptation...

I think I had a total of 3 drinks there, which is generally my allotment for the year, but with most everyone else drinking, I felt the pull of temptation...

I had several women flirt with me.  Keep in mind that I'm about as obtuse as they come, and have been happily married to Robin for almost 24 years, and I almost never notice such things.  Someone usually has to tell me that it's happened.  But even I noticed.  I had to pull myself away from the situations and call my wife.  Temptation...

Sitting in my room at 11 at night, with nothing to do and money in my pocket, I felt the pull of temptation...

By day three, I felt like the rest of the world was fading away, and my whole world was just in that small resort.  God never felt so far away.

What kept me on my path were a number of things.

I have an amazing God who loves me with an infinite love.

I have an Savior who is always with me, steering me away from temptation.

I have a wonderful, Godly wife, who I could talk to any time, about any thing.

I have an amazing daughter, and every time I saw some scantily clad 20 year old girl, drunk and dressed in very little, I couldn't help but think that she was young enough to be my daughter, and I was sorely tempted to let her know that she should be more modest.


I have a Godly son, who in a very timely way, reminded me that I should remember my testimony.


I had some Gospel music on my iPhone.  I could put on my headphones and worship him, almost wherever I was.

I prayed almost constantly.

I have several versions of the Word on my iPhone, available whenever.

It took a real effort not to fall into the well-designed temptation of Vegas.  If I didn't have the support that I have, I could see falling deep into the abyss.

I have to wonder if Casino designers don't have little horns...


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