The adventure is planned and will take place over the course of the next 24 hours. It will be short and sweet, exhausting and ridiculous. It will be Vegas.
Because the woman assisting me with my flight change over the phone tells me that because I am traveling on a weekend I should get there two hours early, and because my question about if this is a requirement or a recommendation goes kind-of-sort-of-not-really answered, I arrive two hours early as instructed. This is stupid. I breeze through the lobby of LAX, noting that Saturday is quite possibly the easiest day to fly. I have never been in a security line so short in all of my life, except perhaps back in the 90s when we used to fly to Reno for snowboarding trips. This was before terrorists and before Reno Air went bankrupt. So, in the name of accuracy, this was the best post 9/11 security line I have ever had the pleasure of being in. Especially Southwest. Southwest sucks.
I sit down next to my gate, which is still busy handling the flight before mine. Eventually the Chicago-bound family crowd disappears down their corral and into a plane I cannot see. I am left in the terminal alone, with the exception of five DJs who immediately tear out their silver MacBooks and begin to treat the empty room to their Las Vegas set list. Wake up in the morning feelin like P-Diddy. The Southwest agent sits on a stool, blowing her nose under her reading glasses. Out the door, I’m gonna hit the city. The air conditioning ravages goosebumps on my legs. When I leave brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack. A woman sits down next to me with her little boy. Both of them eat frozen yogurt. She asks if he likes the Oreos. Cause when I leave for the night, I ain’t comin’ back.
This is the type of scene that would drive my mother insane, which is probably reason why I like things like this. Generational subterfuge. Loud music, rudely played to a small group of people who might actually prefer to listen to Taylor Swift sing about love that will inevitably disappear once you go to college. To be sure, these DJs aren’t playing anything I’d like to subject myself to on the dance floor, but their enthusiasm is palpable and they squirm in their seats like little children and rap songs over songs, imaging how they’re going to layer the music together. Vegas, baby. Vegas.
We board the plane. It is a motley crew: one part partiers on a mission, another part toothless locals just heading home, and a smattering of girls who look like big boobied prostitutes. I later come to find out that there are two conventions going on in Vegas that weekend – one for tech and the other for the adult film industry. This combination is accurately described by Veronica as “Tits and Nerds.”
An hour later and I’m in this city that I enjoy like a weird uncle that sometimes says funny things but otherwise just sits around watching football and talking about chicks. The taxi driver rips me off, per the usual, and Veronica meets me in the lobby of the hotel wearing cashmere and YSL. Men are immediately gawking, watching us like three-legged giraffes. They whistle, deliver some lame truck driver lines, and we continue on. Veronica makes a comment about shooting fish in a barrel; I remind her that she doesn’t want any of the fish in this barrel, surely. The unsolicited attention continues for the duration of our time here, eventually culminating in a table of twelve hand clap as we walk through a restaurant a few hours later.
Dinner is at an impossible indigestible time of 10:30. It’s only 5 and I am starving. I buy a $5 bag of original flavor Pop Chips and a $5 coffee from The Coffee Bean. I eat all of them. I vow never to eat Pop Chips again and ride out the next four hours with that haunting nausea that accompanies eating entire bags of anything.
Veronica and I get ready, all sequins and fringe. In the lobby, accompanied by two other girls also dressed in black, I wonder if as a collective group we look like high-class hookers. I surmise to guess that at least 15% of the men walking by make that assumption.
Dinner comes and goes – an unending smorgasbord of food that goes half uneaten. Duck wraps with hoisin sauce, Chilean Sea Bass spears on asparagus, Lobster Ravioli. As the servers take away the insane amount of leftovers, I feel badly for these poor animals that died just to look pretty on a table. Surprisingly, this reminds me slightly of myself – in a ridiculous, gratuitously self-absorbed type of way.
We are ushered up to the club upstairs, where a giant security guard pushes past people allowing me to get through the throngs of whores and douche bags, which, coincidentally, only makes me look like a whore and a douche bag. When the security guard nearly rams into a man in a wheelchair just so I can get behind a velvet rope with bottles of vodka and carafes of mixers I really want to be in a parallel universe – one with substance and respect for other people.
Girls dance on stages. Girls writhe around in porcelain bathtubs filled with tepid water and pink flower petals, naked and bony. Tech nerds stare and slobber and it feels hedonistic and anti-evolutionary. It would be one thing if the music filled me with some sort of dance-inducing joy, but “Put your hands up in the air! Put your hands UP in the air” played on loop doesn’t make me feel like a I’m having a grand old time, it makes me feel like a sheep – a sheep that drinks to numb the pain of my ordinary existence and one that rubs up against someone else in the hopes of feeling a connection to something…anything. These are the cynical observations that happen when you don’t drink enough and you think too much.