Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vegas continued

So, we're still in Vegas (though it probably won't be when I finish this), and it is still nearly a hundred degrees out.

I haven't really got a point in typing this, but the TV is on and there's never anything on (other than the World Cup, of course), but this little computer is always here for one of us to use. Honestly, I haven't had much use for it since I bought it, because I've not really gone anywhere (and if I have, I don't take it with me), but Jeff didn't bring a laptop on this trip, so we've been taking turns getting on it and looking things up, answering emails, playing games, etc..

I've found that the only time I watch TV is when I'm in a motel room, and there's not much worse than flipping through the channels looking for something to watch, going around the horn again and again until settling on something you can stomach, even though you'd never watch it on a normal day.

Actually, an ingrown toenail is worse.

We found a Long John Silver's and a sit-down Pizza Hut here in the city. Neither of those back home.

Jeff is hungry all the time. And five minutes later, he's hungry then too.

But perhaps I'm the weird one, only needing to eat a couple of times a day. I'll have to get back to you on that.

On Friday night, we went to see Sting perform with the Royal Philharmonic at the MGM Grand. It attracted a much different crowd than any other Sting show I've gone to. That Jeff and I, white in our beards and all, were still younger than the vast majority (say, 90%) of the crowd sort of told us something. Also, we seemed to be one of the few to know the words to all his songs.

During the twenty minute intermission, the old man in the row in front of us asked, "Now, who was that I heard singing during those songs?" Jeff and pretty much everyone around pointed my way. The old man said, "Do you sing professionally?" which I thought sounded like the preamble to a nasty insult I've heard since Sophomore year of college. But I guess he was impressed with me, which is nice. Still, that people weren't singing along was strange, especially when Sting tried to get the audience to do so during two different songs.

That might not exactly be the crowd's fault. This was a more sedate show (he didn't even sing "Roxanne-o" as he has at every other show I've seen him), far more experimental, and he sang a couple of songs so obscure, one of them he wrote but never recorded, as far as I can tell.

What was the crowd's fault, however, was the lightshow that played from beginning to end in the seats around us, and everywhere in the concert arena. People were either using their cellphones to record songs or take pictures (which I suppose can be understood), or more likely, they were texting. The girl directly in front of Jeff (one of those who pointed at me when the "Who's singing?" question was raised), was text messaging for the full three hours we were there, though in her defense, she may actually have put away the phone during the intermission.

It was sad because the lights would go down, and you'd see a veritable Milky Way as people typed in their pads or keyboards, apparently involved in something much more interesting than what Mister Sumner and the musicians had prepared. *sighing sound*

The concert was, in my opinion, pretty frigging amazing. You know, watching Sting play the Theramin during Moon Over Bourbon Street isn't the highpoint of my adult life, but it may be the highlight of the time I have left. We'll see.

We walked along the Strip for a little while, thinking we might want to go to that roller coaster at the New York, New York (I went on it a couple of times as a kid). Jeff revealed to me that he likes riding roller coasters--something I didn't know and wouldn't have believed if someone else told me--so we braved the heat and decided to go on it. Unfortunately, it was so expensive I wouldn't have been able to live with myself had we gone on it. Anything that expensive ought to come with a kiss on the cheek afterward.

Which reminds me, while we were walking the strip, there would be hordes of young people who were paid to hand out postcard/flyer-things advertising Hot Girls To Your Room (though they might have been "babes," I can't really remember. Definitely "hot," though), and they, to the man, would flip their stacks of flyers together making a snapping sound when they approached you. It reminded me of those hissing beetles or perhaps rattlesnakes. I complained that these assholes were everywhere along the strip, that they'd congregate in groups of four or five or six, swarming every time a group of pedestrians crossed the street. I wondered why their employer would hire so many of them, when only one or two at each intersection could easily pass out their wares just as well.

Jeff thought that since they probably made fifty cents an hour, their company could hire as many as they wanted, and were doing a valuable service to Las Vegas's working class. I kept wondering what these Hot Girls To Your Room were all about. Obviously they can't be prostitutes, since that's not legal in Vegas proper, so what are they, strippers? "Paid escorts?" And would they really be hot?

Or girls, for that matter?

Jeff's married, so he wasn't interested, and I was afraid to show my ignorance around him, so I didn't ask. I suppose I could have asked one of those hundreds of people passing out the flyers, but but that snapping sound was too intimidating, like scores of mousetraps being sprung. Maybe I'll ask my uncle.

Later, we went into Fatburger, since that was a Los Angeles staple for me. I gasped when I saw a meal was over eight dollars, and Jeff gasped that they had no Dr. Pepper, so we went next door, to the new Hard Rock Cafe. Unfortunately, that meant that my meal ended up costing around twenty dollars.

But at least there was Dr. Pepper.

And Pepsi.

The waiter there went on and on about how much he loved Jeff's t-shirt, how funny my remarks were, how grateful he was we had deigned to come into his restaurant and choose his particular table, how jealous he was that we were going to see Sting, and how all women everywhere find us charming and attractive. He got a healthy tip, I imagine.

I once knew a girl who really liked James Spader. We were both working on a show with him in it, and I told her I thought Spader was pretty cool too. For some reason, she started calling me "Spaderlover." She's still on my cellphone as "Spadergirl." I have no idea what her real name was.

Another nice thing about Vegas is that there's no place (I know of, anyway) where you have to pay to park. All the businesses want you to come inside, and none of them want you to hurry off to feed the meter or move your car before the grace period expires. And literally every hotel and casino has a parking structure, since they don't want anybody not to find a place to leave their car while they come inside and gamble or eat or order one of those girls off the flyers. Maybe they're robots, I don't know.

My cousin got married in Vegas last year, and I went to the ceremony (I got chewed out for taking a picture, since the chapel had its own designated photographer and they wanted the family to depend on him), and if I recall, there were parking meters outside the city hall and those businesses. One thing I don't miss about L.A. is the constant struggle to find a parking space. I used to hitch my bicycle to the back of my car when I'd go to the beach or sightseeing so I could park my car somewhere available and not spend a half an hour Indiana Jonesing for a decent spot or an unoccupied garage.

Okay, I know I'm going on and on when I'm spending two paragraphs talking about parking spots. But Jeff has a very different sleep schedule than I do (he woke up Saturday morning at around the same ungodly hour as he did Friday when he set his alarm), and he wants to go to bed a while before I'm tired. And I'm sure as hell not going to watch TV.

I don't go on enough trips with other people. Usually, it's by myself. And I get a whole lot of thinking and music-listening done, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't get lonely on the twelve hour drives. I'd also be lying if I said I didn't sometimes pretend there was someone in the passenger seat and I pretended I had rescued her from a broken-down car in the desert or from government assassins who wanted to eliminate her before she regained her memory.

No, no, that was just a joke. I'd never imagine something like that. And I sure as heck wouldn't talk to the imaginary driving companion for hours on end. Never.

This has been a nice trip, even if I wasted the majority of today reading and sleeping. The hotel room is so nice it has a bathtub and a separate shower in the bathroom (but no bidet, if you were wondering. It's not THAT nice). I don't think I got any writing done while I was here (since I don't count blogging), but that's alright since I still don't know if I have the screenwriting gig and I'm not really in the middle of any stories right now.*

Jeff hates the heat, but I just want to roll the windows down and feel warm air blowing against me, reminding me (for the first time in ages) that this broken, disused heart still beats.

While we were driving, "California Gurls" by Katy Perry started up on the radio. I made the deadly faux pas of attributing the terrible song to Ke$ha, and Jeff corrected me as I changed the station so hard the knob broke off and I lost a fingernail. The station I stopped on was playing "This Is It" by Huey Lewis & the News, and Jeff proceeded to chide me on it. But after that Katy Perry song, mocking me for Huey Lewis is like complaining about sock odor after walking into dogshit.

Despite that little setback, we got along pretty splendidly for the most part on this whole trip. We ended up driving back the next morning (early for me, late for him), listening to music and Tor.com stories, talking and singing along. Despite the lengthy disagreement we had about my own podcast, he and I continue to stay close and in contact, through twenty years of friendship and appallingly different lifestyles. And my penchant for taking advantage of his boundless generosity.

Oh, I just found out that because Jeff spends so much money at their motels (mostly on room service, I'd wager), they went ahead and comped our internet. Ahh, one less thing to feel guilty for.

During that drive home, we talked a tiny bit about our dreams for the future, and both vowed to do this again before too long. Jeff also intends to move to the Scottish Highlands in the great unknown someday, and when I talked about our oft-imagined trip to England, he said we'd definitely do it someday.

Famous last words, I know.

Rish "No middle name" Outfield

*After I got home, though, I did end up writing a story that night when I saw there was a contest that had the next day as its deadline. Story wasn't great, but at least I got something done, and that always feels good.

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