In every way possible, it is an unnatural and impossible way to work. The body is not designed to operate at its peak when most of the world is sleeping. And yet, that is exactly my new task at KLAS, morning co-anchor.
The sleep is rarely deep. If it is, it’s rarely long enough. My colleagues call it a constant state of sleep deprivation. Battling off a plague of yawns while on television is a new skill I am learning.
The alarm goes off at 1 A.M.. Work starts about an hour later. By 4 A.M., the show is underway and does not stop for three more hours. In that time, you’re expected to be a friendly face while at the same time rewriting scripts, following the news, talking with producers and simply staying up to speed.
Like most other aspects of journalism, it is the surrounding team and co-workers that make an unnatural lifestyle beyond bearable and tolerable. Instead, it is rewarding and enjoyable.
As strange as the hours are, as odd as habits can become and as disrupted as life now becomes, pride and responsibility overshadow it all.
So big deal. I have a promotion. There'll be promotions and pictures and all sorts of reminders to the public that now, I have a new job.
That's far from the most interesting reason for a blog.
What IS interesting is one part of the new job. A 10 minute sliver of this city showcasing what most of Las Vegas never sees or chooses to ignore.
It’s Las Vegas Boulevard between downtown and, roughly, the enormous Convention Center. The drive is stark. Almost no one is on the sidewalk or the road. Lower the windows and the gentle hum of covert activity is faintly heard.
Darkened figures that do happen to be awake shuffle along, destination unknown or non-existent. One imagines their past, or more tragically, their future.
Closer to the Stratosphere and the occasional tourist is evident by flashier clothes. Their night is ending as my morning begins.
This is not the Las Vegas Boulevard lined with massive casinos and bright lights. This is the street speckled with cheap wedding chapels, motels, convenience stores and fenced off remains of failed business.
It will be the commute everyday, a strange reminder of the hopeless and nameless every city contains and Las Vegas consistently moves beyond.
An urgent need to find out their stories rises within on each commute to work. Perhaps, the fact their story isn’t told is a tale itself. From that anonymity is one of the city’s truths. Names in lights will always mean more.