May 27, 2024

Column: “That Got Me to Thinkin’…? “Notes from Las Vegas”


“That Got Me To Thinkin’…?” “Notes from Las Vegas” Chapter 90
By Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams

The second in this year’s series of travelogues, Notes From Las Vegas pits your itinerant author against a desert backdrop and its cornucopia of colorful visitors.  I hope to illustrate the uniqueness of each city I visit this year through these anecdotal slivers.  I begin at Seatac…

I gazed at a brazen mullet with shaved sides while at the baggage drop counter and wondered in what part of the country that unfortunate haircut was still popular?

There were also two rubenesque women at the same counter with matching rainbow Crocs and patterned pajama bottoms who were scolding the three small children accompanying them.  They were thankfully headed to Disneyland (and not Las Vegas)—I assumed that had they been, I was to have been seated between them—my poor Alice to their Tweedledee & Tweedledum.

Delta assigned our seats at the gate.  We were in the last row right next to the bathroom.  Seven butts banged into my left shoulder on the way to and from their business.  The bigger the butt, the bigger the bump.  I swear my shoulder got crack-deep in the midst of one pair of massive stretch pants, leaving me to avow to never take Delta again, if it can be helped.

Our Eastern Indian cabbie on the way to Mandalay Bay: “Spring Break?  Family time?  Mom & Dad—belly proud of you.”  I kind of loved him.

I kissed Michelle (twice) on the edge of our bed and Jack looked up from his phone and cautioned, “I don’t like PDA.”

Hazardous air quality and a dust storm kept us in our room the first night.  I rewatched Castaway for the umpteenth time, followed by what might’ve been Men In Black 5 (?).  It had Liam Neeson and his ‘very particular set of skills’ in it.  We broke out the Uno deck and played several dozen games as it droned on in the background.

The next day the wave pool was crowded but when I saw the big hot tub packed with so many bodies that their arms were pinned to their sides, I swore it off for the rest of the trip.  Same for Michelle who bore a disgusted look on her visage.  A poker face, she has not.

Last time we were here, there was a guy at the pool sipping one of those super long-necked lady drinks from a straw who had the word ‘UNTAMED’ tattooed in huge script across his abs.  Sadly, his harpy wife and three feral kids were chewing him and his mirrored sunglasses out something good.

Later that first night as Michelle laid half asleep, a Target ad came on and I swear she hummed along to their “Best of My Love” theme song in her half-consciousness—she might’ve even shimmied a bit while on her side in the blue-lit room.

I saw a family of five all in shorts and sleeveless shirts and all with the same duck-toed waddle.  (I hope somebody, somewhere, is writing about witnessing my family with the same observational fervor).

There seems to be a recurring triangulation here between staring, facial hair and mouth breathing.  Ball cap optional.

Me, yelling at a distance to Jack (my son) in the lazy river: “Are you going to get your hair wet, grandmother?!”—then running ahead to avoid his impending wrath.

Upon seeing the huge sign above the restaurant Auroele I remarked aloud: “Isn’t that what surrounds the nipple?” (a little too loud, according to a hushing Michelle).

I caught myself staring at the alarmingly shriveled penises of Bodies: The Exhibition.  The case of discarded cigarette packages next to the diseased lungs was also a highlight.  I wondered how many of them re-bought those same cigarette packs back at the casino later that night.

I saw a Prince impersonator on a billboard outside the Tropicana and got a little depressed.  He looked more like Little Richard than Prince and was positioned above a busted, dried-out fountain.  Then shortly thereafter I encountered the sad, dirty-looking Denny’s located on the Strip…there’s always a notch lower, isn’t there?

Also from the Strip:  A gal all dolled up with a corrections department bracelet visible on her ankle; a bald Russian ranting about the, “Fu@&ing China Virus”; an Elvis impersonator (and not a very good one)  on a scooter—tooling down the sidewalk singing and offering ‘FREE HUGS’ on his impressively lit marquee; 

Thursday at the pool I spied a large woman with a tank top spread to its limits, it’s simple motto in block lettering:





Michelle later spotted a man by the snack bar in a woman’s black one-piece bathing suit featuring a g-string back.  They must’ve been out of the hot pink.

When I overheard a grown man at breakfast order an omelette with American cheese (“Uh, we have cheddar, sir”) I wondered to myself, “What are you, six years old?”  He added sausage to it, as well as peppering his cohort with a few inane comments.  I waited a few beats before I turned and steadied my gaze on him.  Pure Cliff Clavin.

I’ll be in Philadelphia later this year with my wife and daughter, as well as Spokane with her and our son (might as well throw that one in there, too).  As much as I love traveling, it’s always good to get home.  The dogs will greet us at the door, wiggling impossibly in their panics to lick us all from head to toe.  I’ll mow the grass and Michelle will start the laundry.  The kids will retreat to their rooms and we’ll finally get a good night’s sleep in our own beds—and probably start talking about Vancouver or Palm Springs, and “…what kinds of things do they have to do there?”