Genre Fatigue in Vegas
“When you’re given a box of candy, don’t gulp it all down . . .” – Proverbs 25:16 The Message
Even before I got food poisoning at the Las Vegas buffet, I knew it wasn’t for me.
Up and down the Las Vegas strip, cultures, countries and centuries compete as genres: Paris, New York, the Roman Empire and Hollywood. The Vegas buffets are similarly ambitious in scope and style, serving sushi, tortilla soup, prosciutto, fried rice, coconut curry, and even chicken and waffles.
I sampled it all. Nobody forced me to. My logical self knows that certain foods do not mix well together. But there at the United Nations of food, it was like I was a diplomat and world peace depended on my getting to know everyone.
At the risk of overstating matters, let me say that Las Vegas is not an understated place. A little bit of everything can be too much.
Las Vegas buffets present the same problem the city does. All those miniature versions of iconic sites—an Eiffel tower, a medieval castle, a tropical beach, a statue of Julius Caesar – are stuck in the middle of nowhere, on a strip. Unrooted, all those genres are unsettling. But perhaps we need that.
Excess makes us miss restraint. Bright lights make us miss the dark. An overrated buffet makes us long for an underrated sandwich. Vacations make us long for home. And perhaps that’s why we go.
Thank you, God for the gift of travel and for the gift of coming home.
Lillian Daniel is the Senior Minister of First Congregational United Church of Christ, Dubuque, Iowa, and the author of When “Spiritual But Not Religious” is Not Enough.