October 22, 2005

Muerto Las Vegas

Glitter Gulch Knocks Bella Out!

Yes, I've recently returned from a week working on a business conference in Las Vegas. It was my first visit to Sin City, Orlando for grownups, Mobville USA, Sodom Heights.

In the interest of discretion (and continued employment), I will offer a few spare observations in summary. Keep in mind that this was my very first trip to Las Vegas, and that I worked (roughly) 18 hour days in challenging circumstances.

1. Las Vegas is gaudy. Even the high-end, "opulant" hotels and resorts: gaudy.

2.Video slots are like playing video games. Video games which eat your money by the giant mouthful, and are, aside from the dubious promise of BIG CASH, totally boring. I got a bigger endorphin release playing Pitfall on Atari when I was 8 years old. (Yes, I lost all of my "designated gaming money" during the 15 free minutes I had to take advantage of Las Vegas adult gaming diversions. Please shed a tear for me and my $20.)

3. At one point near the end of my time there, I stepped outside into a garden-type area to chat with a co-worker who was enjoying a smoke. I saw two little nondescript birds flitting about, searching the ground of bits of food, and something inside me sighed with relief. All that time I'd been working inside this overly-designed and carefully controlled interior environment with the overstimulating bells and flashing lights of the casinos, I'd had absolutely no interaction with what could be reasonably called "nature." As someone with a strong personal (and, previously, professional) tie to the animal world, I had been missing that connection strongly, but had been too busy to reflect and realize it. Like a total nutter, I sat down on a bench and started talking to the little birds. My co-worker laughed, and I laughed at the absurdity, but it made me feel a little better. (Don't even ask my reaction when I re-entered the hotel and saw a toddler spinning around on the floor in front of our office. It was like seeing a unicorn.)

4. I really enjoyed getting to know and work with some new folks (clients and local staff as well) onsite, and am recounting the good laughs we had while I take long epsom salt baths in an attempt to reduce the mass of adhesions that now populate my aching lower back.

Oh, also, one night as some co-workers and I were desperately trying to catch a cab back to our hotel after working like dam-cramming beavers on crystal meth, we saw Arnold Schwarzenegger pull out of the hotel driveway, waving like Miss America. His car went right by us with the window down, and he looked expectanctly at me, perhaps anticipating a big reaction. I was so exhausted I just sort of looked at him and said "See ya."

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