Subhead: The Good, The Bad and the Ripe
Sub-subhead: I Hate Vegas but I Have to Go to Las Vegas (bitch moan, bitch moan)
(Ironic Spoiler Alert: If we were paralleling Star Wars, this would be the movie in which Anakin is lured to the dark side)
Flashback: The last installment of I Hate Vegas found me in a FABulous room at the Venetian hotel feeling guilty for dreading the annual pilgrimage to Lost Wages.
In the episode before that I obsessed over Sin City doorknobs and STDs.
Okay, so the verdict is...that this trip was not so bad. As a matter of fact, it turns out that the fourth time is actually the charm. Not that it went completely, perfectly smoothly... that would have torn apart the fabric of time and space, creating a black hole and you'd all be interstellar spaghetti right about now (paging Dr. Who, Dr. Who....).
Obviously, my room. I Love. The Venetian.
There was nothing about this hotel I didn't like. The doormen were lovely, the restaurants were very good, the casino was more than tolerable...even the freaking bath soap was fabulous. And yes, four bars found their way home with me. I'm not normally a klepto, I don't have a vast collection of shower caps pilfered from hotels around the world, but this stuff...the whole hotel smells like bitter orange and clove - I think it's because everyone is walking around with bars of soap shoved into their pockets.
The other good thing was the trade show: We got better results from fewer, more interesting people. What's not to love about that?
And speaking of interesting people...Don't you love when you randomly meet people with whom you absolutely click? Like you've known them for years and you're just picking up a conversation that was left off when you saw them last month? I met three people like that and they absolutely made my trip: Cute Boy 1 who could be the fraternal twin of The Only Boy Who Ever Broke My Heart...which freaked me out for about 5 seconds. Then he opened his mouth and I became convinced he was the younger brother my mother never told me about. Made me wonder if my dad had visited Idaho in 1976. Total mind meld. Very freaky. Very cool.
Same thing with Cute Boy 2 - so much in common that I was almost afraid I was actually in some B Movie where somebody studied my life and then showed up to gaslight me and I go insane and he steals my inheritance...Okay, so the insane came factory-installed, and my people are blue collar not blue blood, but you know what I mean. Click.
And again with Awesome Girl who has a job like my brilliant friend "H" who works for the government but can't actually tell you what she does. On day two we were finishing each other's sentences...the coolest part is that she actually gets to Huntsville now and then and will be here in August. Weird, no?
Oh, yeah, the other good thing? I won $1,000 on a slot machine. Did I mention that? Did I MENTION that I actually won money in a casino? When I took my little $1,000 ticket up to the cashier, I asked him what I needed to do to get the money - like do a little dance - or if he was just going to, you know, give it to me. He gave it to me. No strings. I went straight back to the room at that point...and slept on my $1,000 winnings. I shit you not.
Sleep deprivation, bloody nose, dehydration... par for the trade show course.
Also, it's too soon to know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but our Chief Technical Officer - third in line to the corporate thrown - walks up to me, totally out of left field, and asks me if it's true that I like bourbon and cigars....Um, yes? I mean, "Yes. Yes I do." And he just looked at me and then walked away. Time will tell....
Oh, Lord....So I sat next to this odd little guy on the flight back home. We were on the bulkhead row - the first row of Chattel Class where you're pressing your nose into the glass of First Class...can smell the hot food and hear the clinking of the glass glasses...but can't actually enjoy it. You're stuck making the most of .00025 ounces of peanuts and swilling warm, $4 beer from a plastic hospital cup. This is also known as The Charon Row.
Anyway, so halfway through the flight Odd Guy falls asleep, and lets slip the gaseous byproduct of - what could only have been - the monster burrito with diablo sauce he had for lunch.
Holymotherofgodinheaven it was...not human. I don't know what it was. My eyes watered. I zipped my little travel fleece as far up as it would go and buried half my face down into it.
Then I panicked.
What if everyone thought I was responsible for releasing the mustard gas?
Forget Snakes on a Plane, this was All Quiet on the Western Front.
I've never been so happy to be sitting directly beside the airborne outhouse. I convinced myself that due to our proximity to the communal in-flight shitter, my neighbors would think someone had been sick dans la toilette and not pummel me with their buckwheat neck pillows.
Like I've said before: Business travel is sooooo glamorous...The moral of this story, though, is that I will not - NOT - bitch about having to go back to Vegas next year. Hear me now and believe me later: My mind is wiiiide open.
(Ahem. I can hear the doubt from here....you'll see).