Kyle and I just got back from a weekend anniversary trip to Las Vegas. At least I think it was a weekend. If you have ever been to Vegas – this was my first visit – you know that is a place that completely exists outside of the realities of time, space, and society’s expectations about liquids consumed by the yard. The whole thing is so wackadoodle that at one point I was standing next to one woman clad head-to-toe in a Louis Vuitton sweatsuit and bucket hat and another woman wearing nipple tassels and what I think was a bathing suit bottom with “It doesn’t eat itself” written on the tush and my very first thought was, “Only one of these two people is dressed appropriately for the heat.”
For a brief period in my Boston twenties, I was cool. Well, cool-adjacent. My glamorous and exotic best friend and former roommate spent six years extricating me from my pile of chinos and proclivity towards exclamations like, “Oh, my word!” and “Holy buckets!” and into a lifestyle with dark eyeliner and the knowledge of the right and wrong place for a glass of champagne. However, you can take the girl out of the Gap but you can’t keep her from Internet ads for sleeveless pink polo shirts; and my move back to North Dakota twenty years ago (after which I married a guy who has a standing text chain with his friend to share Dad Jokes) started an aggressively deep slide back into The Mom I’ve become today.
Anyways, and as such, it became pretty apparent immediately after stepping off the plane that Kyle and I were not really the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce’s poster children for their updated catchphrase, “What happens here, only happens here.”
First of all, Kyle and I look like our idea of a wild time is to research and shop for new bathroom cleaners. They were handing out shots of this chocolate mint-flavored whiskey in the airport, and the beautiful whiskey girl – everyone who works in Vegas is gorgeous and incredibly fit, which…how? Is there a talent agent who travels the United States looking for The Venetian Walgreen’s next hot checker-outer? – said to the tattooed guy nearby, “This is the perfect way to start off a night,” and then had to really rack that beautiful brain of hers to come up with this pitch for us: “…This is good…to go…with…a cup off of coffee after dinner.” Then she smiled apologetically because of course we two nerds wouldn’t have a stimulant before our bedtime at 5:30pm.
Our taxi driver from the airport to the hotel further hammered home this fact when he offered up a completely unsolicited warning. “Pot is legal here,” he said, “So you know, don’t freak out if you smell it.” (This was a helpful head’s up, by the way, because pot smoking is a competition in Las Vegas and everyone is out to win.)
Second, neither Kyle nor I gamble. I mean, we did gamble a little; Kyle put $25 down on various sports books and I played (and lost at) video poker for twenty minutes before I realized deuces were wild. We also spent about $20 in various slot machines, but came out net ahead after I kept finding abandoned poker chips on the floor because who doesn’t go to Vegas to admire the wide variety of carpet patterns?
Obviously, you don’t have to gamble or look rock-n-roll to have a good time in Vegas. Here is what we did when we weren’t drinking airport whiskey and learning about the perils of marijuana:
- We went to several excellent restaurants and one buffet; and the buffet had so many food choices that it actually grossed me – ME, the QUEEN of BUFFETS – out of buffets for possibly ever. The restaurant (“restaurant”) had something like ten different full buffets, the most popular of which being the seafood spread. Every single person in line walked away with an ocean’s worth of fish, which they devoured like a shark frenzy. The waiters (they brought the drinks and were the only normal-looking waitstaff in all of Las Vegas) would wander table-to-table, eyes glazed over, scraping chum and plates onto a rolling cart while simultaneously making a feeble effort to keep their souls from leaving their bodies.
- Attended a show called Absinthe. The advertising for Absinthe said “If you only see one show, see this!” Which is the type of confident advertising that I automatically immediately discredit. However, the models on the poster were enticing and Kyle booked the tickets so we went. We sat next to two drunk ladies about my own age who shared my level of pre-show skepticism at the promised amazingness of Absinthe. I don’t know if it was the free-flowing alcohol or the fact that the performance had a lot of mostly-naked men, but those ladies, and this lady, were all converts to the awesomeness by the curtain call. My review is, “If you only see one show and you like acrobatics and dirty jokes and you’re okay with getting splashed with water and there isn’t another show you want to see more, see this!”
- Went to this thing that was either called “Meow Wolf” or “Omega Mart” which is a thing I found on a list of “If you only do one thing in Vegas, do this!” I think Meow Wolf/Omega Mart was an interactive art exhibit; although my thoughts really didn’t matter because Kyle and I were 100 years older than 100% of the other attendees and about 4,000,000% less aware of what was happening. You enter into Omega Mart, which is a mind-bending grocery store where the products on the shelves are all what the kidz would call “ironic.” If you dig deep enough (specifically, open the freezer or go behind the deli counter), you enter into another world that was a little like if Pandora was run by Big Pharma. Or something. In addition to being 1000000000 years older than everyone, we were the only ones not taking constant selfies (one kid near us never once looked up from his phone). Despite our total uncoolness stinkin’ up the joint, we thought it was great.
The very best thing we did in Vegas, though, was talk to the staff. The young and hot (and incredibly nice) waitstaff were always happy for a chat, probably because we reminded them of their parents’ friends. One waiter kept saying, “It’s your birthday, right? *wink wink* Because we have dessert for you,” and “It’s also his birthday, right? *wink wink* Because you get free drinks.” We closed out a French restaurant because the bartenders invited us to stay. The morning before we left, we went for breakfast and were greeted by a (hot and young) chilly waitress. She took our order, and came back a few minutes later.
“Are you from Minnesota?” She asked.
“North Dakota,” we said.
“Oh, I’m from St. Paul!” She said, warming instantly. “I figured.”
The photo above was taken at Omega Mart. I don’t think I’m supposed to be smiling.
This week’s news has Williston’s first triplets, a Bachelor, and Weston Dressler. Read on.
Bismarck’s Weston Dressler has been inducted into the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Plaza of Honor. (KFYR TV)
Halliday’s Dante LaPierre took third place in a 24-hour, 100-mile endurance race through California. (KFYR TV)
The Chahinkapa Zoo has a new baby girl gibbon. Congratulations to Effy (Mom), Sprite (Dad), and Poppy (Sister)! (Wahpeton Daily News)
The first triplets to be born in Williston are turning 70 years old. (KFYR TV)
New Salem is getting a mural relating the culture and history and Morton County. (KFYR TV)
Grand Forks’ Baylee Bjorge got a special video message from “The Bachelorette”’s Logan Palmer. (US 103.3)
Two bits of good news: Dickinson’s Ian Vesey is expected to recover from brain cancer, and Make-a-Wish North Dakota is sending him and his family to Alaska for some salmon fishing. (Dickinson Press)
Let’s Be (Official) Pals!
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