I've been reading "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" recently, and sadly for the first time. I had also never sat down and watched the film version all the way through either, despite recommendations from friends for many years, but I did that too the other day.
One thing I get from Hunter S. Thompson, that I semi-understood even before opening his book, is how to dig everything, in one respect or another. There's a story to be had here, is the theme which one needs to pick up. Perhaps the story only becomes available for experience when you are indulging in one of a myriad array of psychadelic mind-twisters, or marijuana, or cocaine, but it's still there.
Hunter has taught me this, but so (obliquely) did a former roommate of mine. It wasn't as if he lectured to me on life - he is not that kind of person - but what I gleaned from him is that there's a story in everything. Maybe it's landscaping in the heat everyday with a crew of men that includes plenty of pot-smoking loonies and a former felon or two. Or maybe it's digging nature zonked out on shrooms. Or maybe it's reporting for a daily newspaper. Hunter, after all, was dispatched to Vegas by reputable magazines to cover actual stories, but what we got out of it was a mythic American voyage, and what we lost was perhaps a couple by-lined stories we would have forgotten about anyway.
The story is there to be had, if you want it. As Hunter said: "Buy the ticket, take the ride."