Wendover Nevada. An oasis of flashy lights and unrepentant self-indulgence, it is crammed against the Utah border calling gamblers and bored BYU students to her gilded lounges and slot machines. My first impression of the town was that it was trying so hard to be like Las Vegas but was failing horribly but I was quick to realize that town didn’t care about it’s lack of class, it wasn’t trying to be like Vegas, it only existed as a cheap and easy escape for people and she wears that badge with honor.
On a return trip from San Francisco I found myself stopping in Wendover for a meal before I made the last part of the journey home. As I sat in Burger King eating my meal I thought why would anybody come to this town. But then I thought I am in this town and if I have a reason for being here, they must have reason for being here too.
I looked around the restaurant and saw all kinds of different people, old people, a family with young kids, and two police officers. I thought all of these people also have reasons for being here. They each possess events and stories to tell about their lives. I thought about what has happened in their lives that brought them to this Burger King at the same time as me. Something that for me was impossible to know. Their lives are full of experiences, some good and some just horrible. They have had their lifetime of experiences and I did know a single one of them, except for maybe the experience of eating a cheeseburger in Wendover, Nevada.
I arrived here in DC about a week ago. I fought into Baltimore and rode a group shuttle into the district. The driver threw my bag into the van and I climbed into the back seat. The air conditioning was running at full power, it was freezing. There was just myself and two other passengers on the shuttle. As we drove down the freeway I thought of two things. I couldn’t believe how many trees there were in Maryland; I was shocked to see so much green after living in brown for most of my life. And I also thought of my two co-travelers. Just like the people in Wendover I was intrigued by them, I wondered what had happened in their lives that lead them to be on this shuttle. I wanted to talk to them for hours and learn every little detail of their entire lives. But instead I sat quietly in the back row of the bright blue SuperShuttle van and watch the green trees go flying past my window.
As I reflect on these two moments I realize that everybody has his or her own stories to tell. Everyone has experiences that make them who they are, but more importantly I discovered that I am interested in those experiences. I want to know the stories that people have to tell and then I want to share them with others.