I recently travelled to Las Vegas, Nevada, fully intending to leave the city exactly as I found it. No evidence for CSI to find, no trails for the police or current boyfriends to follow and certainly no digital devices to electronically capture my time there. Unfortunately, even with all my planning and plotting and dodging and disinfecting, it turns out I did bring something back. Something that couldn’t and wouldn’t stay in Vegas as it was supposed to. Also, I think I’ll need something a little stronger than Clorox or penicillin to get rid of this one.
The trip started innocently enough. The plan was to travel to Vegas with a good friend from Toronto, Ontario. We girls always have fun together and assumed this time would be no different. Drinks flowed freely from the get go, thanks to our cute new friend we met on the plane. The odds were seemingly in our favour as he sat right next to us in his assigned seat, fully equipped with a duty free 26oz bottle of the Captain’s finest spiced rum. He ordered us a round of rum and colas then sneaked out his contraband to top us all off every few minutes. By the time we landed, the bottle was drained, our spirits were high and our hand-eye coordination was low. Hello, Vegas.
What happened next is how it first started to hit me: Later that day, stumbling along the Vegas strip, we were relentlessly accosted by people trying to sell us everything from helicopter trips to the grand canyon, discounted show and nightclub tickets, to girls named Brandi & Candi who could be at our hotel rooms within 20 minutes. While we did take in a few of the offers (I’ll let you guess which ones), what I really took in was how hard they were all working, regardless of their product. It was blisteringly hot outside and despite the heat, these people were out there all day hustling and bustling to make a dollar.
I’m not sure how I would have survived on my paltry $200 US budget if not for the generous support of club patrons, various high rollers in roped off VIP sections and most importantly the bartender at our hotel who informed us that if we put a mere $10 US into the gambling machines at the hotel bar, we could drink for free all day! Gawd bless that man.
Even Brandi & co. were working hard as we saw them leaving hotel rooms at random hours, counting the wads of cash in their hands, while leaving their self-respect in the soiled towels on the bathroom floors behind them. Though even as I write this, with my nose stuck up in the air, I’m thinking to myself that they probably just pocketed my entire Vegas budget for about 60 minutes (or less) of work. Hmmmm…
It struck me again later in the nightclubs, which seemed to consist of small dance floors for the poor surrounded by large roped off VIP sections for the rich. All reserved VIP sections requiring a minimum $250 US investment for the bottle service and personal security guard assigned to each. Perhaps I shouldn’t assume the occupants were all financially successful. They could have simply borrowed cash to pay for their extravagances or maybe they won it big in the casinos earlier that day but one thing was certain– you had to have money to pay in order to play it big time in Vegas.
So what did I bring back that I can’t shake? What did I catch in Vegas that I can’t get rid of and there exists only one possible cure? I have now developed a full fledged case of a deep-seated desire for the Vegas lifestyle. Not the seedy side of course (sorry Candi) but the one where you’re not held back by roped off sections. I want the financial security to be able to play hard because I worked hard to get there. I don’t want to borrow it for the weekend or have it handed to me by strangers in the bar (although that’s fun too!). I want to earn it for myself and empower my girlfriends to get it with me. I want to let people buy me drinks because they want to buy them for me (like at home) and not because I’m too cheap and outraged to buy them myself at triple the price (like in Vegas).
So now I’m home again and I’m severely plagued by thoughts on working harder, I’m feverish over self-promotion and climbing corporate ladders, and I feel especially faint about branching out and getting ahead. I’m sick with desire and it has pushed all my previous non-Vegas priorities off to the side and into the haze at the back of my mind. Vegas is now my cause and my cure and there’s only one thing that’s perfectly clear:
I’ll be back.