Oh, hey! Fancy writing you here.
Where? Vegas, baby. Yours truly is currently 29 floors above desert level, tucked inside the golden, looming Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on The Strip of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Corey, the dude I’m totally in a relationship with, and I left early this morning (if you ask him) or late this morning (if you ask me) and hit the freeway.
His car’s stereo plays MP3’s, and I’m notorious for making gigantic mix CD’s for the slightest road trip. (“Oh, we’re driving to Trader Joe’s? Better burn a ‘Going to Trader Joe’s’ mix!”) Corey, who finds my ravenous appetite for music overwhelming, manages to be patient as I force hundreds of hours of tunes upon him.
A couple weeks ago we were driving back from a romantic getaway in Santa Barbara, listening to the mix I had made for our trip to Disneyland, because we had already listened to the mix for driving to Santa Barbara on the way there (you following?). The mix for driving to Disneyland was mostly chipper, romantic songs – lots of doo-wop, some schmaltzy kitsch, with some Disney songs here and there for good measure. One of the songs was “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. Corey smiled and said, “Now this is music!”
What Corey would say, as he’s said to me countless times, is that he “finds an album he likes, then listens to it over and over for weeks – maybe months – until he’s tired of it”. MP3’s containing entire discographies, however, are daunting.
Then there’s me. I’m the guy who's frustrated that iPod’s can only offer me 80 gigs of memory. (I have two – one for classical music and one for everything else. How do I live without a third iPod for jazz? It’s not easy. I sing spirituals to ease the burden of it.) Furthermore, these music libraries stay on shuffle. As I go about my day, I want Leadbelly to begat Cherrie Currie to begat Betty Carter to begat Yma Sumac to begat Germs to begat De Kift, ad infinitum.
So, when I hear Corey say “Now this is music!” in response to “Sweet Caroline”, I collect six albums by Neil Diamond, burn them into one MP3, and present it to him like it’s a Christmas goose to Tiny Tim.
I am so sorry that you're having to look at this picture.
But he’s not Tiny Tim. He’s Corey, and just because he once commented about a Neil Diamond song does not mean he wants everything the man recorded. Why can’t I get that through my handsome skull?
What does any of this have to do with Las Vegas? It’s some of what occupied my thoughts as we took the four-hour drive here.
The drive is beautiful. Mostly vast expanses of desert, broken up every eight minutes by a potty break at a gas station.
We arrived at the hotel. It was windy! Like, crazy windy – skinnier bellhops were being swept away by swift air currents. We barely made it into the lobby. We checked in, found our room, and changed into our trunks, eager to enjoy the famous “beach” of Mandalay Bay.
The beach is man-made, (un)naturally, with waterfalls, a wave-generator and tons of sand. Sounds nice, right? But you’ve already forgotten, haven’t you (as we did) about the wind storm. Instead of sunbathers and body-surfers, we entered something more akin to if-Disney-created-a-Hurricane Katrina Land.
Huge billows of sand hit us – grains stinging our skin – as we sought out a pool or hot-tub that was sheltered. When we found some that were, of course they were packed. Defeated, but laughing, we retreated. We saw five or six lifeguards (who had nothing to do because the entire beach was empty) taking refuge behind a wall, sitting huddled, looking like a human re-creation of a scene from “March of the Penguins”.
"I hear they're hiring at the Luxor MGM."
After grabbing a bite to eat, we settled back into our room, which is where I am now. The front desk mentioned that we would have a “view of the lagoon”, which we do, technically. What she neglected to mention is that the lagoon is half an acre at the base of the hotel, whereas, stretching out for miles beyond it, is the airport. Oh well. She can’t be expected to tell people they have a “lovely view of Las Vegas International Airport”.
I’m not sure which airline it is, but one of them has airplanes painted like orcas. It’s a surreal thing to be looking out on a desert horizon and suddenly see a Killer Whale go flying across the sky.
Anyway, I’ll be keeping in touch. I’m only sorry I didn’t make a “blogging from Las Vegas” mix to listen to…