About Us

Contact Us



Hacktreks Travel

Hacktreks 2

First Chapters

Lifestyles: Vegas -For The Mind

Temporary Escape
Colin James Haslett

I just got back from five days in Las Vegas last week. Going down there I thought for sure that my trip would inspire an interesting piece for Hacks. I even had the opening paragraph ready to go before I left, some schlock about how living in Vancouver is like living in Paradise and the only option for a vacation from Paradise is a trip to Sin City.

The irony here is that just one year ago I went to Las Vegas with the exact same plan, and while I’ve returned refreshed and relaxed on both occasions I’ve also returned with nothing to write about on both occasions. Yes, I had a great time, saw some good shows, gambled and smoked and drank and stuffed g-strings, left behind a sizeable chunk of cash, and when I can afford to do it all over again I’ll head back down as I’ve done many times before. But short of writing some lame trip report or reviewing O, Cirque du Soleil’s water show, I came back from my vacation with nothing to really write about. Nothing of substance at least.

It’s taken me a week to figure out that’s okay. Actually it’s taken me closer to 53 weeks, because last year I was so dismayed by that lack of voice that I didn’t write much of anything for several months. You see, a lot of what I write tends to wax philosophic about life. I observe myself and the world around me and my place therein, and then I reflect and I ponder and I contemplate, and then I dump it all out onto my keyboard and e-mail the results to Sam North, who keeps finding them worthy of posting here for some reason.

Now, except for the typing and e-mailing part that’s pretty much how my life works most of the time; observation followed by lots and lots of thinking. An example? After reading a few books over the summer on some seemingly unrelated topics, I spent I don’t know how many hours earlier this month trying to construct a hyper-tetrad that would allow me to reconcile neuro-memetics with classical Dawkinsian memetics. I’m not going to try to explain what any of that means because none of it’s at all important, and I’m not trying to impress anyone with my prodigious intellect because it isn’t that prodigious and it shouldn’t impress anybody anyway. I was burning up time and energy on a pointless mental task and I can’t begin to tell you, or really understand myself, why it tied up such a big chunk of my waking life. It was a mildly intriguing and ultimately pointless mental exercise, nothing more, but I could not let it go. My brain just doesn’t let me shut it off very often. I don’t sleep particularly well.

Colin Haslett
Except that I slept like a baby most of the time I was on holiday. I managed to turn my brain off and largely keep it turned off, or at least keep it in neutral, for several days in a row. That’s why I didn’t have anything to write about when I got back. It isn’t as though I drank myself to the point of blacking out or anything: I remember the whole trip, I just wasn’t thinking about it. And I can’t begin to tell you how relaxing that was. It was the kind of experience that helps me understand why some people spend their lives that way, why they use various chemicals to obliviate their consiousness, why they spend all of their nights and weekends sitting in front of a glowing cathode ray tube, why they just turn themselves off altogether. It’s a siren song, and the fact that it can lead to disaster does nothing to make it any less enticing.
But as tempting as it can be to just chuck it all, I’m back home now and the thing between my ears is up and running again. Just because I stopped for a few days doesn’t mean that the world even bothered to slow down. There’s politics and natural disasters and man’s inhumanity to man and new scientific discoveries to get caught up on. I’ve got a life to get on with, an acting career to advance and a bunch of stuff to get out of my head to make room for the new stuff that’s already percolating.

I had a good vacation, a temporary escape from the noises of the real world and the noises of my waking life. I indulged myself for the better part of a week, let the mid-and hind brains take over from the frontal cortex for a bit. I came back from it rested and energized, with some pleasant memories, a couple of good anecdotes to tell my friends who’ve never been to Vegas, and nothing of any significance or importance. But there’s nothing wrong with that – with shutting it all down for a few days – when the result is that I return ready to start it all up again and better able to keep it running smoothly for a while longer. It’s not that I recharged my mental batteries so much as I allowed my mental septic tanks to drain. And now that my vacation’s over and my brain’s racing along again I’m ready to push through another chunk of life. Until the next time I need a couple of days to decompress the inside of my skull, when I’ll head off somewhere to do and to think about nothing for a spell. It’s not the kind of lifestyle I’d choose, it’s not a path I’d allow myself to follow, but it sure makes for a nice few days every once in a while.

© Colin James Haslett November 2003

Nice Guys Finish Last
Angry Young Man Syndrome
The Big Lie
Serfs Up
24 Hours
What's Mine is Yours

God I hate Christmas
More Lifestyles


© Hackwriters 2000-2004 all rights reserved