There are a lot of street vendors in Vegas. Artists with their creations displayed in the desert sun, hoping to catch the eye of a potential buyer. One of my personal favorites is a guy who makes beautiful paintings with spray paint and bunches of newspaper as his brushes.
I found a really original vendor with a really original idea when I went out there last week. He would take a lump of clay, sit you down in front of him and sculpt a small bust of your head. I was absolutely entranced by the way he worked, by the pictures he had hanging up of people holding up their finished sculptures.
The person that was getting his bust done was a better salesman than the artist. He could tell I was debating getting one done and kept pushing. “Once in a lifetime chance!” “Live for now dear, live for now.” “When will you ever have a chance to do this again?” So I got one done…
It’s a fairly nerve wracking experience, I’ll admit. When you’re sitting there and he starts to work all sorts of things go wandering through your head.
What if he gives me a double chin?
Do I have a double chin?
Oh god, what if he gives me jowls?
He keeps adding clay… is my face that fat?
Should I be sucking in my cheeks? (Then you do this and he tells you to relax your face)
Your eyes follow every single person who passes by, looking for some encouragement from their observations. Some smile, some frown, some laugh and shake their heads. They stop and watch and you start to feel like a sideshow freak on display.
You wonder if this is going to be one of those realization moments. Will you get the sculpture and think you’re really ugly? People say that you never really know what you look like.
Then he’s finished and he turns the head around to face you and you relax because he didn’t give you jowls or a double chin and you see a familiarity in the little clay face. There’s your pointy nose and your chubby cheeks and something of your grandma’s face along the chin line.
Then you get it home in an Outback take-out box in your carryon luggage and show it to your sister who loudly proclaims “Cool! Hermoine!”