10 December 2005

Home again home again jiggity jig

I am not a Vegas kind of person. How do I know? Because my temples hurt from clenching my teeth really hard for 2 days.

I didn't realize I was even doing it. But the stress of the constant sensory overstimulation must have gotten to me worse than I had thought.

No wonder, really. Despite my best efforts to find a calm place, I was always in a spot where three or four different kinds of music or noise converged, sucking in the smoke of a thousand cigarettes, barraged by flashing lights and spinning things and chrome and...it was all too much for my tiny sensitive brain.

Places like Vegas make me realize what a fainting lily I am. I just don't do well with too much of anything. Thus my severe lack of children.

It's not that I didn't enjoy it. It is like a big playground of the subconscious, everything adults try to keep hidden out on parade for everyone to see. And there are some really, really good restaurants. My vote goes to Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris casino (just look for the Eiffel Tower). You can sit there with your biftec and pommes frites and moules mariniere and little glass of good French wine and watch the Bellagio fountains do their amazing stuff (and I mean Amazing with a capital A). Life could be worse.

But I don't think I'm ever going back. It's cool, but not cool enough for me to put up with the brain-fry.

In Vegas, you don't really choose a hotel as much as a theme destination. We stayed at the Luxor - an Ancient Egypt-themed place in the shape of a pyramid. We kept waiting to feel the magic pyramid power, but mostly we felt lost. The car park is somewhere about a mile from the rooms. If you can find it.

08 December 2005

Sin City

I am in Las Vegas. They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but I haven't done anything so far I can't talk about...though how would anyone ever know?

The last time I was here was 20 years ago, with Mr. Mojo. He had won the trip at a comedy contest, which was about as far as his comedy career ever got. It wasn't that he lacked comedic skills - the man was, and remains, the funniest person I have ever met - but he lacked focus . Like so many of us. He could kick Carrot Top's comedy butt any night of the week, I can tell you that - and Carrot Top appears to be playing at the very hotel where I am staying. There are hideous posters of his ugly mug about every 30 feet.

Anyway, me and Mr. M took ecstasy - this was back when it was LEGAL, believe it or not - and spent the evening in rhapsody, listening to the tour helicopters overhead, me saying over and over, blissfully, "It's the sound of victory" - because I couldn't imagine anyone spending the helicopter money unless they had won big. I guess you had to be there, and on drugs. It's probably a good thing they made Ex illegal.

This time my strongest drug of choice has been a gin and tonic. I find the whole place a bit silly, to tell you the truth. I kind of liked it better when it was seedy and rundown and its sole purpose was gambling and drinking. Now, between the water features and the IMAX movies and the guys with "Strippers to your room in 15 minutes" t-shirts, I don't quite know what to think.

Cheese kills

From the "Criminals too stupid to be believed" log, this story about a woman who would have killed for cheese.

05 December 2005

Got enough?

I saw a sticker on a car today that said “Got Enough?” in that "Got Milk?" typeface.

Good question, I thought. Since I have been moving over the course of the past two weeks, it seemed to be meant for my eyes.

Balancing between want and need is a precarious perch. Dozens, hundreds, even -- of decisions must be made in a move, especially a move from a large two-story house with plenty of closets to a tiny, storage-challenged bungalow.

Do I keep a sleeping bag when I haven’t used a sleeping bag in years? What if a guest comes over and needs an impromptu blanket? What if they don’t? How long do I haul the thing around as it gathers dust?

As a single woman, do I need 10 dinner plates? Technically, no. My house doesn’t fit ten, much less seat ten. But each plate is a different pattern. But I collect them. But they are so pretty.

All of these decisions remind me of once upon a time when I moved back to college at the end of summer. I loaded all my stuff in the back of my huge red and white (red cab, white bed) pickup truck and drove off.

The only problem is that the tailgate wasn’t shut tight. I won’t say my dad didn’t slam it tight. I will only say that it wasn’t ME who was in charge of shutting it.

On the first big bump I hit, the tailgate flew open and a bunch of my stuff tumbled out. About half my stuff. I saw a tornado of my clothes blowing all over the road as I looked in my rearview mirror.

I turned the truck around at the next exit and came back, but there was no way I could pick anything up. It was on a bridge just past a blind curve and traffic was flying by at 70 mph. I just stood there crying as trucks ground my clothes and books and furniture into tiny pieces.

I drove up to school with my mind churning about how I was going to get through the year without my stuff. By the time I had gotten to school, three hours north, I had mentally added up the hundreds of dollars it was going to take me to replace my lost belongings.

When I walked into my new room, I found a sweater hanging in the closet that could stand in for my favorite sweater that had been lost on the road. I bought two new blankets because my others were destroyed.

And that was it. That’s all I really needed to replace everything that was lost. The rest was just extra, stuff I ended up not needing anyway.

But is need the arbiter of what I should have? Some things I don’t need, really, but I love having them around – pretty things, clever things, things that make me feel a certain way.

Even stuff that is not beloved sometimes comes with attachments, like the plastic rooster penny bank that my grandfather had handed me, tears in his eyes, as he cleaned out his dead mother’s house when I was 6 years old. By giving me one of the few toy-like things in that tidy, practical old lady’s home, he was attempting to make me happy and, by delighting a child, salve his own broken heart. Could I really get rid of THAT? The rooster is sitting right here next to me.

The answer to “Got Enough?” is definitely yes in my case. My question is how much less I could do with or should do with. I may never figure it all out.

Tired dog

Dogs do love routine. So the move has been upsetting for my poor Beast...yesterday I took her over to my folks' house and left her while I went to church. Then we went to lunch and she stayed there. Later, I left her home and went walking downtown for 2 hours.

I came home and drove her the 30 miles over to her Dad's house (my old house) for dinner. When I went to go home, she put her foot - her four feet - down. She wasn't leaving. She looked at the car, gave me the stinkeye, turned around and refused to leave, so I came home without her.

I guess even a dog can only take so much.
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