-Life Lessons from Vegas!-
You get up and are discussing the day’s activities with your friend. She says she wants to grab brunch at the buffet in Mirage. She also says she wants to work out after that, and you tell her “we’re in Vegas, we’re NOT working out!” Shame on you for having such thoughts, but the $20 gym fee just doesn’t make sense. You say “I can get a workout right here in the hotel room with NO equipment.” Your friend says that you’ll discuss it at brunch.
Up and at em, you start the day by walking towards the elevators. You’re on the 22nd floor & wonder what it would be like to run stairs from the bottom to the top. Fun!
As you near the elevators, to your left you see a couple passed-out in two chairs, surrounded by various fast food items. You laugh hysterically with your friend, and both of you shoot pictures. Priceless stuff! You then walk from the Monte Carlo to the Mirage, getting your metabolisms revved up in preparation for the anticipated feast. You don’t question whether or not your metabolism can handle the buffet, because you’re fortunate to have gotten a fast one from your dad. Instead, you question whether you’ll be able to eat much at all. 99% of the time, you want to pig out now and then, but your stomach fails you. You get full really fast and reflect on your days of obsessive working out and dieting…flashback to the 2000-2001 time frame…the days where almost every Friday evening was celebrated by inhaling almost an entire large Digiorno pizza or chips, salsa, and refried beans from Rosa’s Cafe. Ah, those magical Friday nights you spent alone eating bad food and watching movies from the Blockbuster around the corner, feeling very obsessive and unhappy. You also recall the year 1997 and the joys of hanging out with bodybuilders. The “Friday cheat night” theme started for you back then, as you realized you could eat “uber-clean” Monday thru Friday, then pig out on Papa John’s pizza, cheesesticks, and later a blizzard from Dairy Queen (cookie dough or Heath bar). This was all made even better because you were doing so in the company of your beefy male friends while watching Millenium, the Chicago Bulls, and/or the Discovery Channel. Yes, bodybuilders can have brains. This was where you picked up many weird habits, along with the phrase “I buy you fly.” You see, head honcho (aka boss at the time) would barely move his glutes from his front-row-and-center seat in front of the gigantic big-screen tv. Typically “Big Daddy” (real name Ernest) and you would hop in the car and make the trip to DQ (or Sonic, depending on how much time you had). Yet again, you feel thankful those days are long gone, and you managed to make something more of yourself than a bitchy, starved, injury-plagued gym bunny.
Walking through the Mirage, you notice that many people have rugrats in tow. You wonder why the heck anyone would bring small children to Vegas, and discuss this with your friend as you walk through the atrium area. You also discuss the upcoming food “festivities,” and try to will your tapeworm to wake up. No, you don’t really have a tapeworm, but it would come in handy at this time. Yet again, you reflect upon the fact that many women would probably “acquire” a tapeworm just for the sake of losing weight. This doesn’t make you sad, it makes you realize how body-obsessed so many women are, and once again you start putting together a business model for a tapeworm nutritional supplement. How would one make such a thing appealing? You decide to add this to your list of “projects” as you arrive at the buffet. Your friend announces that it’s called “Cravings” and you both laugh about this as she hands her camera to a stranger to take a picture in front of the place. Your friend has already announced that she “can eat,” and you prepare to be grossed out, as your last Vegas buffet experience, which was in Bellagio, was a bit surreal. There’s just something about people standing in line behind a velvet rope…like cattle waiting for the slaughter…that turns your stomach. Watching people pig out has never been one of your favorite things, and this is why you also don’t care for Thanksgiving. Gluttony just doesn’t do it for you, and the Bellagio buffet thrived on it. Add to this a bacon-obsessed grandma who cut in front of you while you were waiting to get scrambled eggs, and it just brings up not-so-pleasant memories.
You are relieved to immediately notice that this buffet not only has a happy and “bright” feel to it. You are also really excited because you decide to pay with your debit card (which a few months ago you accidentally broke in half while barely bending it back and forth at the gas pump), and the nice cashier lady fixes it for you with Scotch tape. You see, you’d managed to mess up your initial tape job and had been stressing a bit about using it for this exact reason. Yes, you’re sure you could find Scotch tape in Vegas, but that just seemed like such a ridiculous item to purchase in Sin City. You reflect upon the fact that you feel 99% of what goes on in Vegas is ridiculous, and are therefore justified in your decision to bring not one, not two, but FIVE belts on this trip. Vegas, after all, is all about excess! This fact gets you off the hook for overpacking! As you walk into the buffet area, you’re taken in by the expansive feel of the room, and the plethora of offerings. You sit down at a table and the waitress brings glasses and a pitcher of mimosas. You realize that you probably won’t be getting your money’s worth for this $40 buffet, but you will make up for in in champagne. You tell your friend that y’all arrived at the right time, because more people seem to be following suit. You scope out the options prior to picking up a plate, as your friend has announced that a “game plan” must be made prior to the feast. You’re excited to see snow crab legs and wonder if it’s okay to eat them at 9:30 in the morning. Further on down the way, you see the raw bar and then sushi rolls, and announce that you will be having sushi for breakfast. Your friend is gaga over the desserts, but they don’t really do much for you. Finally, you grab a plate and start off at the sushi section. Next, you add some grits, scrambled eggs, a biscuit and gravy, and a small Belgian waffle. You make sure to segregate the gravy and sushi, as mixing the two would just be gross (never mind that the two will soon be mixed in your stomach). You do the same with the syrup on top of the waffle, and add a little cottage cheese to the mix. You sit down to eat, take a picture of your plate because it’s such a random assortment of food, and decide to start with the sushi. You eat it with chopsticks, as that’s just the way it’s gotta be done. Eating sushi with a fork is just wrong. You realize that wasabi in the morning is a good thing! Your friend shows up soon after this with a big bowl of cheesy grits and a plate full of meat and Mexican-type stuff. You take a picture of her plate as well, and are entertained by the enormity of the bowl of cheesy grits. After finishing your sushi rolls, you move on to the scrambled eggs, as you detest cold scrambled eggs (it’s a texture thing). The biscuit and gravy just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, so you don’t waste too much time on it. The grits are blah, so you add some butter to ‘em. The waffle is pretty yummy, and of course, so is the cottage cheese. You realize that many people don’t like cottage cheese, and you think they’re just plain insane because of this. More mimosas and it’s time to leave, as your friend is complaining about the fact that she’s miserably full.
You wanna work off some of those calories, so you walk from the Mirage to Caesars, and do some shopping. You’re walking walking walking! You see several shirts you would like to purchase, but decide you don’t need em. You own a gazillion shirts and can’t justify adding to your collection at the moment. Then, you make a pit stop at Harrah’s to watch your friend win $200 at craps. This is obviously a rest interval. You’re clueless about the game and convince yourself that you could never be proficient at it because it’s just too much for your ADD to handle. You continue texting back and forth with a few friends, along with sending out a few tweets and Facebook comments. The guy who wields the big stick and controls the dice trades out with another guy, and this guy tells you “oh, you can’t text at the table,” even though you’re not standing directly at the table at the time. He goes on to tell you that “since there’s an app for craps” (or something), it’s not allowed. You say you’re sorry and stow your trusty iPhone in your pocket, while acting like you’re really interested in what’s going on at the table. You realize you aren’t sipping Ketel and diet Red Bull fast enough, and proceed to speed it up. Your friend dumps $300 worth of chips in your hands, and you stuff most of em in your left pocket. Once you make it to the cashier lady, she gets a kick out of the fact that you keep digging in your pocket and removing $5 chips!
More walking when you leave Harrah’s…walking past two Chippendale’s dancers standing outside for pictures. You debate whether or not it’s worth spending the money to have your picture taken with them, as it would be really funny to lift up your shirt a bit and flex your abs with them! You decide not to do it, and still wish you had. You keep walking and end up in a crappy dump of a casino along the strip because you have to pee. Another brief rest interval as you play penny slots while scoring free drinks. Next? You guessed it…more walking! Hit up Planet Hollywood a bit, leave, and keep walking. You notice a group of four or five guys of below-average height, all wearing basketball jerseys and board shorts. All are sporting well-gelled “guido” hairstyles and wearing big sunglasses. A few have bling. Your friend notices them as well, and you both wonder if they had gotten a memo to dress alike. Maybe that’s their uniform? Anyhow, major fashion faux pas there, but hey…it’s Vegas, right? You can dress like your buddies and still feel cool! You walk past the porno-card flickers on the sidewalk, see a lot of bad fashion ideas (including lots of bad socks, which is one of your pet peeves). You walk past Paris and see a group of chicks standing in the fountain, posing for pictures with some cheesy drunk dudes. One is holding one of those long, tall plastic cups…kinda like a Bourbon Street hand grenade but bigger. You wonder what kinda concoction he’s drinking, and if it’s as lethal as a hand grenade, because those will knock you on your as*. You pass the exotic sports car rental place and drool over the Ferrari 350 Modena. It’s red, and you think about the fact that if you ever get your Ferrari one day, it’s probably gonna be red. All Ferraris should be red…or black…black works as well. You wonder how much money and what kind of insurance you must have to rent one of those cars, and realize you would be scared sh*tless to drive one. You tell yourself for the gazillionth time that you WILL have a Ferrari one day. You catch a whiff of something stinky. You wish people had put on more deodorant and yet again wonder why so many people bring small children to Sin City. As you walk across the Boulevard, you notice that the crossing countdown thingy says “6,” so you throw in a short sprint to the other side. You and your friend both catch a whiff of yummy Mexican food and agree that you will come back there after she changes shoes…but not immediately after that…gotta go do the bloody mary bar first, THEN eat!
You keep walking a bit, go up the Monte Carlo steps, and make a quick trip to the room. More walking, walking, walking to the Mirage to sit and have a few bloody marys at a brew-pub type restaurant. Immediately, you notice these super-tall plastic pipe contraptions on a few tables, and realize they are full of beer. People are tapping out beer from the contraptions, and you wonder if that beer gets really warm towards the end…and if by that point, they even care? You find a seat at the bar and the bartender tells you there’s only 30 minutes left for the bloody mary bar, so time to get to work! Two is sufficient for the moment, garnished with celery sticks and tiny pickles…oh, and Tabasco! There is nothing on the numerous tvs except Nascar, and yet again you wonder why Nascar exists. Your friend asks the same question, and you get into a discussion about tailgating and it’s similarities to a Nascar race. You explain to her that tailgating in LSU country is serious business, and after doing plenty of it for the 2007 football season, you had pretty much had enough. Nothing like getting up at 8:00 in the morning to start drinking and sit out in the heat, feeling funky after awhile, all for the love of the Fighting Tigers. You see, you’re a relative newbie to the whole “LSU is the best” thing, and while you are a fan, your heart will forever remain with your beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders. This means nothing to most of your friends in Baton Rouge, as they are completely eaten up with the purple and gold. You explain this to your friend, and share a few tailgating stories involving drunk friends. Not immediately after this, but sometime afterward, your friend, who has also told you she’s going back to school to get yet another Master’s degree, starts talking religion. She tells you that she’s been reading the Bible for years now, and you get into an interesting discussion about its interpretation by various people. You share similar views, as expected. After realizing that bloody marys are pretty yummy, yet filling, you walk with your friend to go see the white tigers. Upon reaching the outdoor zoo-type area, you see that there is a $15 cover charge and think that’s preposterous, especially if Sigfried and Roy aren’t gonna even be there.
So… more walking back to the Monte Carlo to find a 20 minute wait for Mexican food at Diablo. The smell of fajitas confirms this is worth it. You notice a very handsome guy with very good style, and wonder if his date questions his “preference”…heck, you wonder if he realizes it yet, lol. You do a lot of people-watching and wonder if most people who wear clothes that aren’t flattering even realize it. Once again, you wish you could clone yourself and become these peoples’ personal shopper. You also wonder why so many people don’t take care of themselves. You feel blessed to be one of the “chosen few,” yet still able to devour fajitas and queso, along with some funky green froo-froo drink you have chosen.
Vegas…it’s all about excess…excess spending, excess drinking, excess cleavage, excess skin, excess eating, excess excess! My philosophy for the weekend was a bit of a “when in Rome” one, but within reason! I don’t think I could handle Vegas 365 days a year…but it’s apparent to me that many people live this way to some degree. Yesterday, when I was writing most of this while on the plane, I had a reason for it…now I’m too tired to remember exactly why, but it pretty much had to do with the fact that we walked a lot Sunday, so that “positive” helped make up for letting our hair down a bit! Also, after having spent over $100 on two limo rides Saturday, the concept of walking just makes sense…but you simply can’t walk from the airport to the Strip, right? 😉
Thanks for following along on what I now realize is a completely long-winded, yet Sarah-like rendition of Sunday afternoon! Sunday evening? We’ll just say you may have to pay to hear about that!