A Stranger in Vegas The Bald Las Vegas: ‘Kalvin’
Las Vegas is one of the places where a lot of career opportunities are available. Las Vegas is the hand that leads you through the fast way to make a life. It is also the hand that arm wrestle you until it breaks your life down into shards.
There are always two sides for everything. I have seen the fancy side of Las Vegas, now my mind is questioning me how the bad side is?
Homeless people represent the majority of the bald Las Vegas and the reasons are infinite. It was hard and dangerous for me to try even talking to one from that community, until I got the chance to meet Kalvin.
Kalvin is my new old ‘homeless’ friend, we play chess against each others. He is actually in and out the homeless life. He worked for the US army in the most undesirable places, then, he had several decent jobs. He owned two houses in Illinois. Kalvin retired, then, got divorced which according to him was the wrong turn. He gave one of the houses to his daughter to live in with her husband and had to sell the other house so that his ex-wife is paid. He ended up with around $11000 net savings so he moved to Las Vegas.
Kalvin said: ‘I came to Las Vegas after I set my divorce. I had to sell the house. I sold it for $22000, she got $11000 and I got $11000. I packed the suitcase, got in my truck and came to Las Vegas’. ‘Where did your money go?’ I asked. ‘I don’t know’, was his response. ‘Do you gamble? , I asked. ‘Yes I do’, said Kalvin.
‘I do gamble a lot, but I still don’t believe that gambling was the only reason because I’ve made money from gambling, that what Vegas is all about. I won $6000 one day, $2.000 another day, I gamble, I win then I lose all the money and it keeps going on until eventually you find yourself shifted from gambling $1000 to gambling $10. I have been evicted from my apartment several times. I slept on the street, in shelters. My life was great until I lost 30 years of marriage. I have never been homeless but after my divorce, everything went down. I have been homeless in 2 different states, now I’m here 15 years in Vegas. In Vegas, if you don’t have the money you get locked out. I am glad I didn’t reach a phase of hopelessness because I have witnessed people shooting their selves in the head for losing in the casino’.
Then he carries on: ‘Nobody wants to be in nowhere. It is not pretty. It is not safe. I help some homeless people when I am able to. Living in the streets is something between life and death. It is not a life, plus people would do anything to survive, so hypothetically speaking, you’re dead but you are still breathing’.
I heard that some people choose to be homeless. I don’t believe that. I think being homeless is a consequence, an outcome. Being homeless is more than just not having a place to sleep and live in. it is about losing things that are irreplaceable or hard to replace, it is about being a human being.
Las Vegas will give you and take, gives you 1 and takes 2, gives you 2 and takes 4. It will keep you in the circle of give and take until you lose your horse sense and that’s when it takes everything from you, but it will keep you locked inside the same circle thinking that eventually you will back up on your feet. You might, but that is a very thin line to hang on.
Kalvin represents us may be yesterday, or today, or it might be tomorrow, we’ll never know. Las Vegas is so many others.