We're off to Las Vegas! Well, not yet. I still have two performances of Summer Mummers to do. And I'm broadcasting live tomorrow morning from the Odessa Farmers Market. Oh, there's also post show drinks at an undisclosed-to-the-public location after tonight's show. It's not a secret because we don't want to be bothered by Mummers fans. There's just not room for all of you. Sorry. But after all of that is done, we're going to Vegas!
This trip has been booked for several months, and every day since then, I have been dreaming about our little getaway. Me, my wife, my sisters, my brother-in-law, and the neighbor who has been unofficially adopted into our family. And rounding out the cast of characters...my mom. My mom has never been to Las Vegas. Ever. Not even a layover. Out of all of the things that excite me about this vacation, I'm most excited about my mom finally getting to see the lights and excitement of Las Vegas.
After reading my blogs about our ill-fated move to Las Vegas a few years ago, you may think that my wife and I would avoid Sin City like the plague. We just can't get enough of it. We go at least once a year, sometimes twice, if we can swing it. Some people say that anything more than a couple of days in Vegas is too much. I simply do not understand that. If I could go for two weeks, I'd still be begging for just one more day. We already have plans to visit a couple of our old haunts, including an excellent bagel shop a few miles off of the Strip. There are also several H&M stores for some excellent clothes shopping. And the McDonald's in our hotel offers the perfect late-night, in-bed snack.
Wait, what? Bagels? Shopping? French fries? "But, JT, I thought Vegas was about gambling, booze, and sex!" Well, it is. But we really don't gamble. We have a bit of booze, but never too much. And sex...I mean...we're married...so... But what I'm saying is that Vegas is a place where you can make your vacation whatever you want it to be. It can be about gambling, booze, and sex. It can be about pool parties, nightclubs, and shows. Or, it can be about bagels, shopping, and french fries. It's your town, and its entire economy is driven by people like you.
My favorite bar in Las Vegas is about as unnoticeable as it gets, especially in a gaudy city like Las Vegas. It's on the edge of the casino floor in the Luxor, right next to Backstage Deli. The bar doesn't even have a name. It's just a bar. But from that bar, I can see people having fun gambling. I can see people having lunch, planning their day. I can see tourists getting suckered into timeshare meetings. I can see people getting off of the elevator, suitcases in hand, getting ready to fly back home. Those are the ones for whom I feel the most sorry. Even though I'll be in their position several days later, it still feels good to know that I'm not in their shoes yet.
The hardest part about leaving? As I ride to the airport, or sit on the runway, I'll glance out the window. I'll see the hotel that we just left, standing in all of its glory. And that's when I always have a humbling realization; that place goes on without me. This city goes on without me. Inside that hotel, the slot machines are still dinging. The dice are still rolling. I'm just another schmo who used Vegas to add to my life story. That always sends me into a quiet, humble, somewhat rueful mood.
Then I book my next Vegas trip.