Saturday, February 28, 2009

Vegas-Not My Town

Vegas – Not My Town. (Part One)

Let’s start off by saying that anyone who says ‘Vegas – my town!’ should be punched really hard in the throat. It’s not your town, Shooter. Big Wheel. Shut your mouth. You are a drone like the rest of us who ended up there for whatever reason. You fly in, get herded to your hotel, gamble, gawk at the waitresses and lose your cash like the rest of us. Jack-Ass!

Landing in a Strange Place
Landing in Las Vegas is always an interesting experience. It seems that violent weather patterns are attracted to me. That and the fact that Northwest Airlines deliberately puts only pilots with no depth perception at the controls of every flight I have ever taken with them.

I am awoken by thump of my head thwapping off the window as the plane ascends and descends violently as we fly over the mountains that surround Las Vegas. Lurching and jarring and staggering like an Irishman trying to walk home on a slanted street ten minutes after the pub has closed, the plane is talking to us. I pray that this is the little plane that could.

With my hands wedged between my legs I prepare for landing. The plane slams down on the run way. I can hear hydraulic fluid being forced violently through the landing gear as the plane slams down again. Fortunately my hands being wedged in my crotch have kept my testicles attached.

Idiocy Runs Amuck

As we taxi, limp or crawl to the gate people stand up and try to get their bags down from the overhead compartments. My head is now balanced with two lumps that resemble small breasts. One lump from being awoken, the other from the tiny lady who has dropped her 75 pound carry-on bag right on my noodle.

Try as I may I cannot understand why I have to wedge my briefcase or knapsack in front of me and be uncomfortable all flight while these people insist on carrying half of their worldly possessions in one carry-on bag and why their bags get priority.

By the time we get to the gate the aisle is full of people anxious to de-board the plane and lose their money. Several people get sucker punched as people race to put their jackets on in the tight quarters. Some people from the back of the plane decide it is better if they push their way as far forward as possible causing further confusion and cramping the aisles. Understand, I would be all for this if I was on the plane with the Swedish Bikini Team and said members kept getting pushed into my lap, but this isn’t the case as tremendously overweight people flounder and wriggle for pole position in the ever clogging aisle. Bum cheeks the size of café tables are thrust toward me while dreams of never ending buffets dance through these walrus’ tiny minds.

IF you have no respect for nylon or polyester clothing –fly to Las Vegas. These materials are used in clothing that is asked to restrain tremendous loads, contain dynamic forces that cannot possibly be qualified by any engineering formula known to man. Mountains of Sara Lee stretched flesh crashing against millimetres of cloth that fights to contain the loads applied to it. Stylish –no. Flammable-yes. Worthy of our respect for sheer strength – definitely.

As the masses of morons run to get off the plane I patiently wait. Those who didn’t bring steamer trunk sized carry-ons onto the plane with them and are destined for the baggage area still kick and punch their way off, if only for the opportunity to stand for an extended period at the baggage carousel.

Bristling With Energy

I trudge up the plane way and am greeted with neon signs of epileptic quality. Signs requesting my presence at a multitude of places that want to get to know me, drink with me, eat with me and take me on tours. Girls in bikinis or with fuzzified woman parts stare seductively at me from their posters while lions and elephants play violins in the background.

A brain fart later I realize, while watching the masses from every ethnic background march through the airport, Las Vegas is powered entirely by static electricity. Lumbering people wearing nylon track suits shh shh shh to and fro in the frantic scurry to get someplace. Hairdos get larger and shoelaces levitate as the inner thighs of robust people slam nylon against nylon as they traipse thru the airport. Unbeknownst to us the floors of the airport have electrical grids that grab hold of the static energy and whisk it to the Las Vegas power grid. Technology at work.

After sucking back a cigarette I stand in line for a cab. An hour or two later a cabby with some strange head dress calls me Mr Dude Guy and flatly points out that he has a bad back. I load my luggage in the trunk and I am zoomed away to my hotel. I am constantly amazed by taxis. Rattling and shuddering our way down the Vegas corridors in cars that should not be on the road I am thrown from side to side as the driver throws the Crown Victoria into a hairpin turn thirty five miles per hour. Wear my seatbelt and pray to the god of asphalt for my arrival unscathed.
If you ever doubt the robustness of Ford vehicles – go to Vegas and be mystified by the abuse these vehicles can withstand.

Are You Checking In?
In a line, again, at the hotel I wait to fork over my credit card. ‘Next’ – which is me, I am greeted by an attractive woman who barely speaks English. Usually this would bother me that I have to repeat myself 3-4 times but this girl is honestly trying (and she has a cute butt).
Why do they ask if you are checking in? No I thought this was line for the roller coaster. This isn’t the line for a Nathan’s hot dog? Of course I am here to check in. I think the fact that I have boarding passes in my shirt pocket and luggage may have tipped you off.

The Room
When in Vegas I don’t care what room I get as long as it is clean. A few times I have had rooms with great views of the strip that I enjoy for about thirty seconds. Most times I have a great view of a wall or the parking structure. If I am lucky I get a view of an exhaust fan. This view usually helps me determine if the hotel is well maintained or not by the amount of squealing that emanates from the exhaust fan.
Bed-check. Shower-check. I am good to go.

The Strip
For those of who didn’t know, most of the casinos on the strip are designed to discourage you from leaving them once you have entered. This is done quite simply by placing the gaming areas at least 1.34 miles from any accessible street. The casinos also insist on allowing small children in strollers to be placed strategically in your way to dissuade you from even moving. I am fairly certain that these are not real children but rather animatronic dolls that are capable of smelling really bad. I think they manufacture them in Japan because the likeness to a real child is outstanding.

I walk through Caesar’s Palace (which is neither owned by Caesar or looks like a palace). The Forum shops are in full bloom. I can get anything I want or need here. Brookstone for an electric ass scratcher and Victoria Secrets for a bra that lifts and separates. Everything a person with no brain and too much money needs. And only for 35% more than I would pay for the same item at home.
I can understand the breakdown of the name ‘Forum Shops’. There are a lot of shops contained in the Forum Shop area. But I do believe the Forums in Roman times were places where people discussed and debated things for the betterment of their lives. There is no debate in the Forum Shops. The price is the price and retail is all they know. Being one half Italian and one half Scottish these principles do not sit well with me. Give me something. 5%,10%, a dirty look or lollipop. I will not pay retail. These clerks are sales people that don’t know how to sell. Do I need an electric ass scratcher? No I do not. Do I want an electric ass scratcher to make my ass scratching experience that much more enjoyable? You bet. But you need to sell me on just how unfulfilled my life will be without one. There is no sense in these people of when they are going to lose a sale. No connection between me and the product they are hawking. As soon as the words ‘I don’t know’ come out of my mouth I am already picturing myself walking away. Last ditch effort – knock the price down by $10.00. You got me! I am the proud new owner of a Surabachi Multi –Position, Variable Speed Ass Scratcher with kung fu grip and a special setting for ‘spank’. How did I survive without this product?

I walk the 16 miles to the strip and decide I am thirsty. A thirst only beer will quench. I gallop into Wild Bill’s, or whatever the Barbary Coast is called now and treat myself to an eight dollar beer. The most expensive Budweiser I have ever had to drink (excluding the beers I paid for which caused me to damage my car after they were consumed).
What the holy hell? Eight dollars for a beer and you honestly think I feel obligated to tip you? Don’t smile at me like we are old war buddies Mr. Bartender. You are nothing but a beer shlepping whore and should be treated as such. WHORE! JERK!

Head down and tail between my legs I make my way away from the strip in search of cheaper libations and a place that hasn’t had its atmosphere sterilized. A place where nobody knows my name and never wants to but we can all sit around the bar and simply Guy Nod to let each other know that we are all friends.

I locate a place called Ellis Island. My wife told me about this place and we were there several times but my internal compass was leading me in the wrong direction. $1.00 drafts and $2.50 for bottles of anything else. Utopia with really bad tile.
I proceed to drink my face off, play Single Deck 21 with the assistance of a lovely dealer from the former Yugoslavia. At this point the beer is free because I have had four and with the assistance of my dealer I am up forty five bucks. Drinking and 21 do not go hand in hand as the casinos frown upon mathematically handicapped people such as myself removing my pants, underwear, socks and shoes at the tables. I don’t know what I was thinking but this plan would only work if I was playing twenty and one third Single deck.

For seven dollars I get a steak, potatoes, salad and a vegetable. I used to question whether or not eating beef from cows grown in a nuclear reactor was safe but that all falls to the wayside as the slab of medium rare meat is hurled at me by a saucy waitress from Venezuela, or the Phillipines.

Over-served and over full I wallow back up to the Strip and head for the Imperial Palace to play my favourite game – ‘Spot the Hooker’. There are variants of this game with the main one being ‘Is That a Woman?’

Powerful cosmic forces are at work in the lonely desert that surrounds Las Vegas. The waitress and women of the night (and day in Vegas) appear to have been bolted together in some sweat shop on the outskirts of nowhere. Lips that looked like they have been stung by killer bees, eyes pulled back so tight you can nearly see the backs of their heads, breasts that appear to have been bolted on and that defy the laws of gravity. All done with the intention to look better and turn a quicker buck. Life in a fast city has worn these women down and turned them into haggard and hard looking women. Even the lights designed to hide the truth cannot mask the toughness and hard living these women have participated in.

Bored of my game I wander the strip and slowly inch my way back to my hotel. I am handed business cards for professional women for hire by what I can only assume are Mexican immigrants and likely illegals. Stuffing the cards in my pockets for mischief making when I get home I stumble over a stroller and bounce off a retaining wall in front of Harrah’s. It is one thirty in the morning and some lunatic, feeding her kids sugar is right in the middle of the sidewalk.

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