Friday, December 12, 2008

Our Glamorous Vacation

Some people love Las Vegas.

They are foreign to me.

And when I say “Vegas,” I’m not talking about the nice, Mormon-filled suburbs (really, there are a lot of Mormons out there and, really, there are some nice suburbs). I’m talking about the Strip.

Hubby and I spent a few days there because we “won” some hotel nights and free tickets, blah, blah, blah, for listening to a time-share schpiel. And because we could visit Grandma and Grandpa on the way (and leave the kids there, too).

And somehow our time on the Strip didn't end up being like any of the commercials.

We stayed at the Tropicana. Dirty carpet. “Non-smoking” room that reeked of smoke (but they’ll happily come spray air-freshener if you complain). Sleazy-looking casino. Over-priced, tasteless food.

I’ve decided that there might be something cool about Vegas to people who have lots of money. (Then you could actually afford to shop at those gorgeous stores! And since you could afford show tickets, you’d have somewhere to wear the stuff you bought!) But for those of us who are cheap and don’t gamble, there’s nothing. But the thing is that while you’re there, you’re always excruciatingly aware of what there is to have. You know that there are very very rich people among you, somewhere (or else how could all those stores stay in business?). Everywhere there is evidence that STUFF must be worth having. Everything around is designed to breed dissatisfaction with yourself: you don’t have enough. You aren’t beautiful enough.

It’s a universe dedicated to materialism.

I find the contrast (between the kind of people who I see there, mostly, and between the kind of world that the casinos are designed to make you want to believe in) interesting. I was standing in line at the check-in counter and heard two women behind me discussing their clothes. Apparently one had just bought some designer boots for an outrageous amount of money that must have been a “good” deal. The other one was ooh-ing and aah-ing over them, and over the good deal her friend had gotten. The way they talked about their clothes and their shopping painted a picture for me: these must be some beautiful, rich-looking women! When I finally turned around, I saw two women who looked like people I see all the time at K-mart or Walmart. Greasy hairstyles stuck in the early 80’s (bangs to heaven) and all. And what I couldn’t believe is that they were so thrilled with some designer boots. Does anyone, anyone in their lives really care? (And what does this description say about me and my judgmentalism? Like they didn’t deserve the boots since they looked like typical middle-class America?)

But, really, what’s the point? Of any of it?

Is there really such thing as glamour? Does anyone ever feel it, or is it only something that other people have?

So here’s just an example of the lack of glamour in my Las Vegas vacation. Our activities on Tuesday:

Wake up. Eat cold cereal and milk in paper bowls (brought from home in a cooler—can’t stand spending $12 on a mediocre hotel breakfast).

Invite Grandpa to bring the kids to the hotel for a swim. Swim with them, then supervise the mass shower and cleanup in our room. Send Grandpa and kids off.

Head to Harrah’s where we have “free” tickets for the magic show. After parking in the boonies and walking a mile to the box office, we find out that the “free” tickets are only free if we pay for two alcoholic drinks during the show ($25). Decide we didn’t really want to see that particular show that much.

Walk a ways until we find Ghiradelli’s (we have a 20% off coupon, and I have never forgotten the heavenly chocolate milkshake we got at Ghiradelli’s in Hawaii) and order two hot fudge sundaes. Eat about six bites each because we haven’t had lunch and the sugar is too much on an empty stomach and because the hot fudge becomes impenetrable as soon as it cools. Feel stupid because that’s about $13 down the tube.

Walk a couple of miles down the strip to the Half Price Ticket kiosk to see if we can get Cirque du Soleil tickets for half price. Wait in line a long time. Find out that we can get them for $65 (regularly $70!). Hmmm. We could afford $35 or $40, but not $65.

Exhausted and hungry, I can’t make it the long way back to Harrah’s and then the other long way through Harrah’s to the parking space, so Rog runs off to get the car while I wait on a bench. And wait, and wait, because the map Roger has isn’t clear enough about the road that seems to go to the Strip but instead goes under it for a few blocks.

Tired and desperately hungry now, we drive around away from the strip for some normal food. Eat at Taco Time. Stop at the grocery store to stock up for supper: baguette, spinach dip and raspberries. Watch dvds on our portable player the rest of the evening, stopping for card games and crossword puzzles. Enjoy being together.

There. How’s that for a glamorous vacation? See why I adore Las Vegas?

On the way out, the people in the elevator asked, “Win anything?” (We never even pulled a slot machine.) When we shook our heads, they said, “Neither did we,” glumly. Guess their vacation was glamorous, too.

[I do have to mention, by the way, that our time with the parents was very nice. And just hanging out with my sweetheart, wherever we are, is always nice. It's just humorous to me how much we fail at having a Vegas experience . . . Wonder if anyone's Vegas trips turn out like the commercials.]


Anonymous said...

I hate Vegas.

(I could embellish on that theme, but I thought it would be cool to leave a short comment, for just this once.)

Laura said...

I had a similar experience when my sister and I spent a day in NYC at Times Square. Blah. There's no gambling, but there are enough TV studios to be an homage to materialism. Good for you, though, for taking time to be with your husband :)

Anonymous said...

One time when I was going with Grandma and Grandpa to visit Brian and Susan we stopped in Las Vegas for dinner. All the way through the casino Grandpa was holding my arm and murmuring, "Sodom and Gomorrah, Sodom and Gomorrah." Kathryn

Melinda said...

Thanks for sharing. This has officially killed any desire I had to try a get-a-way with my husband in Vegas. (He hates the idea.)

I know my experience would be just like yours...probably worse.

(It did make me chuckle, though. Out of sympathy of course...)
*can't wait to see you Saturday!*

Marj said...

I can't wait to show you my boots I got at Payless for $7.

Calluna Vulgaris said...

There's always the Belagio Fountain.

Your post made me think of this quote:

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley