Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31st, 2010

So, it’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m now in Las Vegas. My brother-in-law is in the tremendous line to check into our shared room here at the Sahara, and luckily, we have a bench of couches to hang out on until he gets through the endless line. After that, I’m not sure what we’ll do. Check into our room, then watch my brother and -in-law scope out the Blackjack and Texas Hold’em tables. I don’t have much money to burn on something like that, especially since I’m not a lucky gambler, but it will be fun to see how much they win. Look, if they can enjoy watching me sing karaoke (and it’s possible that they don’t), then I can enjoy watching them win money.

So, who knows how long I have to sit here, entertaining myself? I’m sure I can come up with something to say (maybe even write a story idea), but I don’t know how much I want to. Life is funny. Last week, I had a job, I had (at least the prospect of) some kind of romance, and my car seemed at least capable of getting me where I wanted to go. But I haven’t driven it since Sunday, and it has a little more trouble starting every time I try.

My Uncle John has been trying to help me find a new (used) car, and we did look at one yesterday (I think it was a Nissan Sentra, but I can no longer remember). It seemed nice, and was certainly cheap. The owner had her driver’s license taken away, and couldn’t make the payments on it, so she was trying to unload it for what she still owed. John seemed much more interested in her than in her car last night, but since it was dark and the roads were terrible, so we didn’t see it in favorable circumstances, at least not enough to know if there were problems with it, or if it was the icy, crappy road. We didn't make a decision on whether to buy it or not, and it was so cold that I couldn't think anyway.

I'll talk to him on that when I get back, but my sister had come up with the idea to go to Vegas for New Year's a week or so back, and I told her if I wasn't working, I'd definitely go. Well, even though I was previously scheduled, I'm not working, so I was happy to come along with her and my brother-in-law. She invited my brother, and then we were four. And my other sister was invited but bowed out, only to change her mind at the last minute, and bring along our cousin (who brought along a friend of hers). So, our original group of three is now a group of seven, but somebody somewhere said that was a lucky number, so we'll see.

Because this was such a last-minute thing, we didn't have a lot of choice when it came to hotels, and every place in town skyrockets their rates for a holiday weekend like this. But we decided that we could get a room at the Stratosphere and split it between us, thus being able to afford it. And when my sister was checking on prices, she saw that the Sahara was even cheaper than the Stratosphere (and a block or so apart), so we picked that one instead.

I had been taught that the temperature usually rises when it snows, and have been under that misconception for decades, apparently, because even though it was eighteen degrees out, snow started to fall (at an angle, since there was a chilly wind blowing it into our faces and windshield). The roads were insanely snowy and icy (there was a twenty or thirty mile stretch where the hick county hadn't appeared to plow the roads since the Bronze Age, and I had to creep along with tight fists on the wheel driving in the trail made by the big trucks that had gone before. Once we reached a section where people had actually plowed and salted the road, however, I was able to drive a decent speed again. My sister went to sleep, and I had the first-ever real conversation with my brother-in-law as we talked about movies and which actors were overpaid or underrated. I wouldn't have ever guessed we could talk for hours like that, but it was a nice surprise.

Despite the snow and cold, we somehow survived to arrive in Nevada, where the weather is only marginally better. They're shutting down several of the freeway exits for tonight's festivities, which slowed traffic substantially, but by the time my sister gets here in my cousin's car, it'll probably take forever just to get to the hotel.

So, now we are in our room, a small, Strip-facing room with two double beds and hard, iron-burned carpet floors, and a television the size of a TV dinner. I brought a sleeping back, and we're talking about pushing the two beds together to make one gigantic colossal bed, but my brother and I will probably volunteer to sleep on the floor if there's no room.

The Sahara was built in 1952, and while that makes it historical, it's also a real dump. There's no ice machine on our floor, the elevator in the parking garage doesn't work, the outlets are strange in that if you plug something into one it falls out on its own, and the Pepsi machine just ate my sister's two dollars. Even so, now that there's seven of us, it will be cheap enough I can gamble and eat and let my hair down without worrying that I'm being irresponsible.

Our room overlooks the Strip, though our view is blocked by the buildings next to us, and we found that the windows actually open out (we’re on the fourteenth floor, plenty high to jump from), but don’t entirely close, and the amazing thing is that Vegas is actually really cold right now, around thirty-eight degrees. My cousin told me it's the coldest New Year's Eve on record, in a place I always automatically imagine as swelteringly hot.

We plan on going down now into the casino and seeing what they've got. My brother and -in-law are really itching to do some gambling, so my sister and I will either watch or participate. Around eleven or eleven-fifteen, we plan on walking out on the Strip and watching fireworks and doing the big countdown thing. The cold might make that less pleasant, though, so we can ask if they're counting down inside as well.
I’ve no idea what tonight is going to bring, but it should be interesting, if not a lot of fun, to walk up and down the Strip, watching people drink and dry-hump, smelling people smoke . . . and dry-hump.

I’ll keep you posted. Ish.

1 comment:

Lizanne said...

That sounds like the opening to the most depressing novel ever.