There’s an old saying: If one farts at the dinner table while Mom’s in Vegas, does anybody hear it? The answer, apparently, is no. And the Neon Rule is almost intact: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, (except for happy endings).
It isn’t often that my job requires me to travel; in fact, it isn’t often that my job requires me to get out of my pajamas. But once a year, the biggest trade show of the year for electronics manufacturing takes place. For the last two years it was held in San Diego, but this year the venue changed to Vegas. There are few places I’d rather not be than in Vegas. I don’t like to gamble, so that’s out as a draw for me. I also don’t enjoy loud, sustained noises and I’m not a fan of being surrounded by people, especially people who have a cigarette in both hands.
There’s really only one, no two, perks of being in Las Vegas over San Diego: accessibility to food and beverages. At the San Diego Convention Center, the only food at our fingertips is a Starbucks kiosk; we wait for food to be brought in at lunch. When we wrap for the day, I’m either waiting for everyone to finish and piling into a rental car and going with the herd, or catching a cab to wherever I want to dine and then back to the hotel. It’s a pain. But in Vegas, there are no rental cars, no cabs, and no waiting. Dozens of restaurants and bars, including four Starbucks, lined the mile long stretch of enclosed mall that connected our hotel (the Luxor) with Mandalay Bay, where the convention was held. In fact, on my walk to work the first morning, I counted 32 places where I could get a cocktail, which means I made 32 good decisions and my day had barely begun! Wow! What are the odds of that?
The evening commute went a little differently.
After spending most of the day not only out of my jammies and slippers, but on my feet, which had shoes with actual heels attached, I must admit that the lure of Naugahyde lounge chairs was pretty inviting. How cool is it to walk home from work and pass not one, but nearly three dozen places to wet one’s whistle? Who would be able to say no that many times? Not this gal! For all intents and purposes, my evening commute and happy hour “were one,” as the Buddhists say, which is why I referred to it as the daily “happy ending.”
Evening commutes of this sort have traffic issues all their own. I tried to call my kids and check in at the first sign of a “slow down” and definitely not during the final “pile-up.” One evening, while “carpooling” with two uber-British colleagues, I decided to phone home. We Facetimed my daughter, who typically just listens to my audio Skype meetings with these two and then spends all day trying to perfect her accent. Our Facetime convo began like this:
“Landry, is it often your Mum Facetimes you from a pub whilst sipping a pint in a fancy frock?”
“Well, what do you think of that?”
“Um, what’s a frock?”
On the downside of the Vegas venue was the lack of fresh air. I breathed nothing other than recirculated air for five days. Sure, I could have stepped outside once in a while, but one thing prevented me: I was in Vegas. My lungs suffered at the expense of sparing my eyes the garish view. On the first day in town, a Sunday, I did take a stroll over to New York New York to meet a couple of co-workers for a beer at an Irish pub called Nine Fine Irish Guys. On this particular Sunday afternoon, it could have been named “Five Drunk Rugby Players,” or “Two Lame Bartenders,” but that’s beside the point. The point is, there is no point. It was Sunday, it was Vegas, and so we enjoyed a couple of black & tans and then went back home to the Luxor, where my cohorts and I decided to…have a drink. Then, in order to walk back to the room, we had to pass some lovely looking establishments where people were drinking, and because there were no doors or walls between the comfy chairs of the lounge and the path upon which I was walking, there was nothing at all keeping us separated from a relaxing beverage. It was kind of like participating in the slowest, stupidest marathon of all time: instead of occasional helpers who lined the route handing little Dixie cups of water to the exhausted runners, cocktail waitresses were sliding cushy chairs under our rear-ends and enticing us with things like “Bucket of Beers for $5” and “Coconut Mojito Madness.”
Ultimately, quite a lot of work did get done, and I returned home to my family, whose most major disturbance while under their dad’s guidance all week was a farting incident at the dinner table. My husband opted out of admonishing the offender, which upset a certain fair maiden. Of course, had I been there, it would have gone another way; but I wasn’t there. I was in Vegas, probably working, or at the very least, sipping in “traffic.”