Sunday, October 28, 2012

Vegas pt. 1: the trouble with Tribbles

For reasons too long and boring to go into here, I got fucked out of both Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation at work this year. I mean, I still get the actual holidays off, but the weeks before/during? Nope. So, not wanting to go an entire year without a single vacation (not including the long weekend I took for Daddy-O's wedding, since the time was very strictly scheduled with rehearsals and whatnot), I decided to take a solo trip to Las Vegas. I cashed in some frequent flyer miles and got a free ticket (well, technically it cost $5 for taxes and fees, but that's like my workday vending machine budget), made reservations for my hotel and show, let my friend J (a Vegas resident for the past several years) know I would be in town, and I was good to go!

On Monday, I drove to the Van Nuys flyaway, parked, and hopped on a bus to LAX. About two minutes before reaching the first terminal, I got an automated phone call from Delta telling me that my flight was delayed.


See, I like to get to the airport 2 hours early to be on the safe side. Ordinarily this isn't a problem, but this time, it meant that I was sitting in LAX for four fucking hours. I finished a 400+ page book, for chrissakes!

At least the flight itself was short and uneventful, and once I got to Vegas, I cabbed it to Planet Hollywood, checked in, and hauled my shit up to my room. Every room at PH features authentic TV or movie memorabilia. I was hoping to get the coveted Manos: Hands of Fate room, but I got the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine room instead. I am about as far from a Trekkie as you can get, thanks to Daddy-O dragging us to the second movie and being absolutely traumatized by the ear scorpion scene (nightmares for months!), so this was not the greatest room I could have gotten. In addition to Star Trek posters, I also had this in the corner. (Apologies for not pasting it directly into this entry, but even though I resized it, it showed up as freakin' enormous when I copied the HTML here.)

The room itself wasn't particularly clean; there was a stray hair on the towel, the mirrored bedside table had long scratches with white residue in them (coke?), and the shower curtain was hanging loose in one corner. But it wasn't bad enough to complain about, so I did a bedbug check, freshened up, unpacked, and called J.

Cliff's Notes for those of you who are new here or have forgotten: J and I have known each other for almost 30 years. We bonded over an unintentionally dirty poem in junior high English class and have been friends ever since. Since he was insanely smart, hysterically funny, cute, and nice to me, I instantly fell in love with him. We spent many long nights in Denny's smoking (well, he did anyway), eating greasy shit, and laughing hysterically. We even went to prom and Grad Night together. But everlasting love was not in the cards; J visited me at college and came out, and although my heart was broken (no wedding! No supersmart nearsighted children!), I knew we would always remain friends.

Anyway, J and I made plans to meet up downstairs, so I went to the convenience store downstairs for a Coke Zero and stood outside to wait. When J walked up, I squealed and flung my arms around him, and he whisked me away to Texas de Brazil for dinner. It was one of those Brazilian steakhouses where they constantly bring assorted meats around to your table until you flip a sign telling them to hold off. It's basically a meat orgy, and I was starving half to death, so I couldn't wait to cram steak down my slavering maw. The waiters were excruciatingly gorgeous too, and when one of them sauntered over and said, "Would you like Brazilian sausage, miss?" I had to avoid J's eyes because I knew we'd both burst into hysterical laughter...which, of course, we did the second he left our table. I followed up my meatfest with caramel cheesecake, and J practically had to roll me out of the restaurant like a much paler Violet Beauregarde.

Next up, we went to J's place so I could meet his 6 month old kittens, Henry and McGregor, and his beagle Dory. When we were walking up the driveway, I said, "Um, I haven't been around dogs very often in my life and they kind of make me nervous. Is there anything I shouldn't do around Dory? Like, anyplace I shouldn't touch her?"

J laughed. "Oh, please, Dory loves people like a fat kid loves cake. You could stick your hand up her asshole and she'd just be like 'Oh, this isn't my thing but as long as it makes you happy!'"

J did not lie. I don't think any living thing, human or animal, has ever been as happy to see me as Dory was. The second I sat down, she was in my lap, panting and whapping her tail against the chair, covering my face with kisses. At one point I was rhythmically (and gently, of course) thumping my hand against her side and reaching behind me to scratch the head of one of the kitties, and I was in animal heaven. I have been a cat person for my entire life, but Dory was the Christina Hendricks of dogs: I could see myself switching sides for her.

After communing with sweet puppyface and delightful kittyheads, we were off to Frankie's Tiki Room, a glorious slice of kitsch. I mulled over the menu and decided that the Bearded Clam was too embarrassing to order, so I opted for the electric blue Tiki Bandit instead. J abstained because he was driving, and nothing's more annoying than being around drunk people when you're sober, so I limited myself to one drink.

Our final stop of the night was the Fun Hog Ranch. Probably owing to the fact that it was a weeknight, it was pretty dead, so we only stayed long enough to have a drink and play a few rounds of video poker.

After returning to Planet Hollywood, J gallantly escorted me inside and then took off. I played the slots for a bit (spoiler alert: didn't win shit) and then headed upstairs to my room. I took a quick shower, brushed my teeth, popped in my earplugs, and drifted off to sleep.

If only I'd known how Tuesday would start...

(to be continued)