As I tentatively enter the A-Z blogging challenge for 2016, let me admit two things: I have not written with any regularity since I completed this challenge in 2013, and, true to form, today I skipped A and went straight to B because I’m already running behind. Judging by the calendar, April 7 should be letter F at least. The point is: Don’t expect me to come flying out of the gate with guns ablazin’. After a long absence from writing, it may take me a while to get back on this horse.
I just returned from Las Vegas. For most travelers, Vegas needs to be a scheduled vacation—airline tickets, show tickets, time off from work. But because of my proximity to Sin City, all I need is an idea, a co-pilot, and reasons to go. It’s a four-hour drive. Not bad. On this trip, Robin (who married a high school friend) was my co-pilot and also gave us a reason to go: She won tickets to the ACM Awards weekend Party for a Cause Festival. It’s country music—I know I’m losing readers already.
For new readers, the title of this entire blog site is “Waiter, drink please!” It isn’t that I drink a lot but more that I need a drink after circumstances that I find hilarious (TSA pat-downs usually do it). I’m a magnet for funny situations when I travel—or at least I recognize them in the way a writer observes them: as future fodder for stories. I am not a confrontational person—I’m happy. I’m Forrest Gump happy. I get along with everyone and LOVE people. I make eye contact and I smile. This, perhaps, brings strangers into my circle when I travel.
For my dedicated blog followers (who must be dedicated if they’ve waited 3 years for my next blog post), this trip was not without the humor I find when traveling, and it didn’t take us long to run into it.
I’ve been to Vegas. A lot. I’ve been with my friends, my beautiful daughters, my husband, my mom. I’ve been so often I no longer need directions to get from one side of town to the other. But I, however, in all of my many trips, have never been propositioned… by a male prostitute.
“Hi ladies,” said this normal looking man standing outside of Harrah’s at about 2 a.m. Friday night. His smile was warm and genuine.
“Hey!” we replied as we tried to scoot by as quickly as possible.
“I could be really sweet to you. I’m very affectionate. I would snuggle with you all night!” he called out.
This was Robin’s first trip to Vegas as an adult, and she probably didn’t recognize what she was hearing right away, and I, having experienced the Las Vegas strip more, was a little confused by what he was saying but was pretty sure I’d figured it out. This guy was not merely hitting on us.
My feet paused on the sidewalk a fraction of a second while my brain processed words I’d never heard. He looked sincerely at me like I may say yes. “I’d be so affectionate,” he cooed.
See, you can’t approach women with the blunt “Hey, I’m available for $50/hour if you’re interested” statement. This 30ish year old guy was smart: He was selling snuggling. I gave him a horrified “no” look, shook my head, and walked away as quickly as my new Nashville boots would take me.
Saturday night, while on the phone with our Uber driver trying to find the pickup zone after the concerts, I was approached by a nice looking 40ish year old man, who, despite the phone against my ear, boldly reached out his hand to shake mine.
“Hi, I’m Scott,” he said, smiling so charmingly. “And you are??”
In that confusing moment with a heavily accented Uber driver in my ear, I smiled, shook Scott’s hand (do I know this man?), mumbled my name, and gave Robin a “handle this” look so I could concentrate on my phone call. I averted my squinting eyes in the way of someone trying to figure out north from south and Circus Circus from all the other high rise casinos, and walked away from him.
Once I was heading in the right direction, I noticed Robin at my side. I pushed “end” on my call.
“Did you hear what those guys wanted?!” Robin asked in a rush of disgust and shock. I had been so busy on the Uber call that it took me a second to process who she was talking about. I had seen only “Scott.”
“They wanted to come back to our hotel with us!” she said indignantly.
My eyes widened. It had happened again?! “What did you tell them?” I asked, half laughing at the look on her face, half wondering what in the heck was happening to us this weekend. What was Robin going to think of Vegas?
“I said NO!” she answered. But if you know school teachers, then you know that Robin’s “no” was a bit more scary than most nos. She meant NO. She likely barked it. She has a shirt dedicated to it.
We were propositioned once or twice more during the trip, but the reason I can use this as a “B” story happened in the elevator on my way down to get coffee on our final day.
Woman: Nice cowboy boots.
Me: Thank you! (I was also wearing a Johnny Cash shirt and realized how this must make me look). (I look at their luggage) Where you heading back to today?
Woman: Oh, we’re from Orange County. (Said in a way that should explain everything. People in the O.C. use their county as their residence instead of their city.)
Me: Oh! Well I’m from Bakersfield. (Not really neighbors, but you know. Practically kin. I could have said Kern County except that no television shows are called Kern County Housewives.)
Woman: Oh Bakersfield! You have REALLY great Basque restaurants there. Or you used to.
Me: We still do! Yes, they’re very good.
Woman: And antique stores….
Me: (Nodding and smiling)
Woman: I LOVE Bakersfield.
Man: (mumbling) That explains the boots.