Thursday, May 3, 2012

Las Vegas Blues.

I don't hate Las Vegas, let that be clear. The sights, the sounds, the erratic debauchery and drunkenness, it's all so magical and unique.

Although, too much of a good thing, as they say, is a bad thing.

When I was younger, our parents took us to Las Vegas for vacation.  Being younger, everything was intense and raw and so adult.  Granted, when you're thirteen, you can't do shit, and the only entertainment lies in grand buffets and the possibility of seeing a pile of smut on the sidewalk.   Through the years, we've played Vegas many times, but it's always show up, play the gig and leave the next morning.  Hell, sometimes we leave that night, with  the constant tease of mild-crime and gambling at our fingertips.  It's ultimately for the best, but damnit, I want my time in Sin City.  I want to experience the scuz and slime and deceit.

Turns out, after my trip, I do not want it ever again.

I spent four days in Las Vegas over the weekend, and midway through the adventure...I simply had enough.  I was beaten.  I was over it.  I was over the scamming, the late nights and the constant yelling and shouting from everyone and everything.

There's no denying it, I went apeshit the first night I arrived in town.  I wasn't yet aware of how much of a gauntlet I'd be running through for the next few afternoons.

I freshened up in a hotel modeled after a castle, grabbed my wallet and hit the streets.  The first thing we did was plain and obvious -- drink until our eyes bled.

Sure, it's an immature way to get your kicks, but where else in this great country of ours can you legally booze it up everywhere and anywhere?  There's no better feeling than to stop in at a Walgreen's for a beer, buy that beer and then proceed to drink that beer in that very Walgreen's.

To further the thrill, we drank in strip malls, alleyways, in front of cops and out of annoyingly large, Eiffel Tower shaped jug.  There was no where we didn't dare disrupt with an open container.  It was as if the city dared us to find a spot where we weren't allowed to have a picnic with a bottle of wine.  We did this with vigor.  We did it with valor.  We did it until four in the morning.

When I woke up, it was game-fucking-over.  No explanation needed, I'm sure.  And I suppose that's where the trouble started.  After such a fun, riotous night in the gutter, the last thing I wanted to do was do it again for three more remaining days.

Las Vegas's patrons are an unruly bunch.  Tourists roam the hotels, gangs of middle-aged XXX dance apologetically to Puerto Rican rap.  Once you've finished wandering through the main drag, there's literally nothing else to do besides being berated by hustlers or over paying to see people pretend they're Elvis and Madonna.  Neither option seemed fun, leaving the table open to watching a Jodie Foster film in the hotel room or chucking twenty dollar bills into slot machines.  At that point, I was already down by a lot, and I don't necessarily need to level up on my Jodie Foster trivia.  I saw the original "Freaky Friday."  I'm good.

But you gotta get up and get out.  You gotta do what's best in Vegas, what's required by law of the land, whether you like it or not.

So I drank until my eyes bled.  Again.

I saw more of the required Things You Must See, laughed at all the Criss Angel's billboards, ate at a buffet that specialized in "stale."  Hey, I hate it, too, but you gotta accept the rules of the game.  Which, apparently, there aren't any, and it's up to you to zig-zag through the maze of wobbling drunk chicks and vomit.  There's a definite charm wafting through the sweaty air, but even that glittering, twinkling charm can wear a bit thin.  See: I wanted to go home and watch the rest of "Game of Thrones."

For whatever reason, I only managed to snap one photograph during the entire trip.  Of a hamburger with an egg on it.

In New York New York, one of the better hotel casinos, lies a stretch of small restaurants for those looking for food that won't force you to miss next month's rent.  I know everything is expensive in Vegas, but wow, don't bother visiting if you're uncomfortable with the idea that a cold, plain bagel will cost you five bucks.  It's true.  Saw it with me own eyes.  Paid for it with me own money.

Looking back, it was fun.  For all much whining and complaining I do, I'll definitely make a return, but with a greater sense of what lies ahead.  I will ignore the passerby, I will never take anything for free from anyone, unless I want to talk about what I just took and how I should, in a roundabout way, pay for it.  Hell, I'll bring my own damn bag of bagels.  SMOTHERED WITH CREAM CHEESE.  TAKE THAT, VEGAS.

So, one night in Vegas is all you need.  Two if you can beat the hangover.  Three if you just stopped giving a fuck.  The Las Vegas Blues ain't gonna kill ya, but it sure is gonna make you feel like shit.

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