Somewhere north of Memorial Road, a jagged city limits line maps out the edge of danger. It charts the division between tranquility and chaos. Between calm and madness.
Go too far south and you might be distracted by a flood of blinking neon. It blocks out the stars at night and frightens children during the day. It's a beacon of excess and tackiness.
Or wait — was that Las Vegas?
Well, whatever. I mean, Oklahoma City and Las Vegas are pretty much the same city. The only difference is the time zone.
The confusion comes up all the time. In fact, it came up during a meeting of the Edmond Sign Ordinance Committee.
"I am not afraid of us looking like Las Vegas," former Edmond Mayor Saundra Naifeh said during the meeting. "I am afraid of us looking like Oklahoma City. We have a higher standard."
The seven-member committee has been discussing this issue for the past couple months. Right now, Edmond bans electronic signs. Except for a few gas stations. And some restaurants. And the ones that tell time and temperature. But other than that: no electric signs allowed. Except for one that was grandfathered in. But that's it.
Most of the committee agrees that electric signs are OK. They'd like to see limits on size, motion and brightness, though. But Naifeh doesn't want things to go downhill: "We spend a lot on landscaping. We put a lot into the aesthetics in Edmond."
And that's why it doesn't look like Oklahoma City or Las Vegas. As a resident of Oklahoma City, I understand how this misunderstanding can occur. We're often confused with Las Vegas.
I've lived in Oklahoma City for six years, and though I've only been to Las Vegas twice, I feel I can still draw some comparisons here.
Like Las Vegas, Oklahoma City is a Mecca of sin and vice. Like Las Vegas, it's known worldwide as a city in which to get crazy. Las Vegas and Oklahoma City marketing experts both said, "What happens here, stays here!" at the same time, but the Las Vegas people were the first to say "jinx." Now they have the slogan, and we owe them a Coke.
For example, Oklahoma City and Las Vegas both are packed with casinos at every turn. Therefore, there's flashing neon covering every inch of both skylines.
Also, if you walk the sidewalks in both cities, you'll find guys handing out fliers covered in naked women.
So it's easy to lose track of which city is Sin City. I think that title goes to the one with the most flashing lights.