This past weekend, I was in Las Vegas with my poker buddies (trip report to come) but one image has been haunting me, and I can't shake it... and worse, I don't know why its bothering me.
Saturday afternoon, I took the tram from the Mandalay Bay to the Excalibur. As I got on the tram, a family of four also got on. The son looked to be a teenager, and the daughter was maybe 11 to 14ish (you can never tell with girls these days). The daughter sat next to me, she had a backpack on, but was carrying a small stuffed shark in her hand... like the kind you might win in a claw-type game.
My mind started racing. First, I thought it odd that she was carrying it from the Mandalay Bay (the Excalibur is more of a family-type resort, so if it were on the trip back from the Excalibur it might make more sense for her to have not put it in her backpack). My mind then considered that if she won it at Excalibur and is still carrying it, she must really like it. Did she like it because maybe she doesn't win much and the win was important to her (and the fact of the win, in this case, would be more important than the result of the win)? Or maybe she collects sharks in her bedroom at home, and this would make a perfect addition.
I just couldn't turn my mind off, and then it got a little dark. Does this girl appreciate it? Did dad give her a quarter for the claw game, she win, and then dismiss it as "so what?" Is she going to bury it back in the suitcase for the trip home, then throw it in the corner in her bedroom? Is she going to give it to the cat to play with?
Of course, I own one daughter and rent another, so my mind veered off to wonder what they would do? I know that answer, of course, as I provide lots of souvenirs, Christmas and Birthday presents and other "stuff" (as provided in the Dad/Stepdad code of ethics). Not to pick on them, as that is not the point of this, but would they appreciate it? Do they appreciate anything? My daughter was recently cleaning out her bedroom of clothes that no longer fit, and came across a Reno sweatshirt that was too small, and that I don't recall ever seeing her wear. She didn't appreciate that I found something that I thought she would like.
But it gets bigger (and darker). Does anybody appreciate anything? Do you appreciate that I sometimes spend hours preparing a blog? Does anybody beside John from New Berlin and the MyCommunity Now editor notice when I don't blog for a few weeks? Does my wife appreciate any gifts? Parents? Jendy Wo? Do I appreciate when someone does something nice for me? Where is the line? Who decides where the line is? And how do you retroactively show someone that their thoughts and actions are appreciated?
Depending on your viewpoint of society, manhood, existentialism, machismo, etc., you may find this to be some stupid whining, or you may find that my life is more than just Las Vegas and bowling.
But these unanswered questions still affect me, five days later, and I don't know how to get them answered.