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Fast Food, Slow Walkers

I missed my office holiday party on Friday, but luckily when you vaguely (and I do mean vaguely) work in media there are blogs that cover these troublesome events for you. Why fight the hideous hordes when you can read about it the next day online?

Instead of waiting in line for pigs in a blanket, I was busy waiting in line for…well, just about everything. Las Vegas was kind of what I had expected and only reinforced my phobia of most Americans and humankind in general. As much of an irritant as NYC is, I find that when I’m plopped elsewhere in the country for more than a few days I begin to appreciate the city. I’m wildly generalizing, but the average person is too damn slow, both physically and witted. They make small talk and ask a gazillion questions and waste everyone’s (ok, my) time. It shouldn’t take 15 minutes per person to check into the airport or check into the hotel or over an hour to line up for food (I had disgusting fantasies of buffet gorging and ended up bypassing the whole concept). See, I waste time in the privacy of my home or office finding hotel reservations, restaurant reservations and activities on the internet and booking them. Everyone else seems to just show up wherever and require explanations of what’s available to them: prices, room styles, amenities, things to do in the city, where to eat, how to catch a cab, how to ride the monorail and so on. I’m amazed that the bulk of humanity even makes it out of the house every day unassisted. I guess that’s called customer service and it’s expected. I’m all for a self-sufficiency/efficiency combo. The thing is, no one cares and I only cause internal aggravation by concerning myself with others.

Brimley On the up side, I do like leaving NYC if only so I don’t feel like the usual chunk than I am (there was a frightening middle aged male duo sitting across from us on the flight back. Both were the size and style of two Wilford Brimleys each and they had to get seatbelt extenders. Normally, I might feel bad but they were serious sons of bitches and about half way through the journey started making a stink, literally yelling about how HOT they were and had to be brought a pile of napkins to wipe their faces and heads with and then the whole plane got the heat turned off so that other passengers started complaining about being cold and this duo was still barking about how hot they were. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that being 350 pounds isn’t probably conducive for staying cool. Then they really started depressing me on the walk to the baggage claim when they couldn’t go more than 50 feet without having to take a break to catch their breath and rest their legs. Even weirder was the wiry female twosome sitting in front of us. They had that white trash style where they look like lesbians but are probably married [I know, because one married into my family]. One had a damaged permed mullet and the other had gray cropped hair with a rat-tail and they were all twitchy and giving everyone the evil eye, then practically cracking out their menthol cigarettes right in the baggage area. They also couldn’t walk more than few feet without having to gasp for air. I vowed to enact a strict health regimen the second I set foot back in Brooklyn).

I’m not complaining, just observing. I had fun once I learned to tolerate large groups. There was also a cheerleading convention in our hotel so the entire weekend you couldn’t step foot out of your room without being mobbed by squealing girls (as young as six or so—I didn’t realize they started so young, very Jon Benet) in athletically slutty uniforms and those squishy twisty hair curlers that I hadn’t seen since the ‘80s (ok, technically Soft Spikes were invented in ’96 but I know there was a bendable precursor). Which reminds me of another unfortunate trend that’s been practiced so long it might as well be a standard: the trashy suburban tendency for females to wear pajamas in public and sweats like they’re clothing. I don’t mean velour tracksuits, which I also got a million eyefuls of, but cotton-poly baggy crap plastered with school logos or Looney Tunes characters, paired with white tennis shoes or flip-flops. My stepsister and step-mom dressed (or still do for all I know) in this manner and it always made me wonder if they just couldn’t find tailored pants to accommodate their asses. Really, I know that’s not the case because my blood relatives aren’t exactly svelte (though thankfully, we’re not squat) and yet they manage to find clothing with buttons and zippers.

PeppermillfiresideloungeWhen asked what I did in Vegas, I’m at a mild loss because I didn’t do a whole lot. I did win an impressive $1.25 with a $14 outlay. It almost paid for half of the cheapest cocktail I found, a $3 drink at old school casino, The Four Queens (so cheap their website doesn’t seem to be working).  It was my great-grandma’s haunt many decades ago so it was a must-do. Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge was a whole different breed of old school, pure unadulterated seventies. With lots of neon, brass rails and flame-topped Jacuzzi, it was dazzling but sadly 2006 cocktail prices prevailed.

Because it was such a weirdo novelty, we chose a PT Cruiser at the Thrifty lot. Those cars are so silly/strange to me, I’d never own one in a million years and you never see them around here. The bizarre thing was that in Vegas every ten cars seemed to be a PT Cruiser—whether or not they’re all rentals, I’m not sure. As they say, what happens in Vegas, you know, stays there. No one ever needs to know that I actually drove one of these mobiles around.

Past2 Most of my brief stay involved eating, window shopping (my only purchases were some L’Occitane items for my mom, a DKNY top on sale at Macy’s because I under packed, dried chiles and pastries at Mariana’s, an amazing Mexican mega grocery store of the ilk that just doesn’t exist around these parts, lime leaves at Ranch 99 which is of  NYC ilk—we just don’t have the same access to produce like fresh galangal, Thai eggplants, ube and said leaves, and a $1.99 personalized magnet for my sister (even though it sounds common, it seems that Krista still hasn’t become standard enough to warrant off the rack products. Kris, Kristen and Kristy but never Krista. This used to bug me as a kid. The name peaked in the ‘80s, so I’m surprised there aren’t demanding twentysomethings clamoring for personalized crap.) at Bonanza, which claims to be the world’s largest gift store.

I do love all of the west coast fast food that we lack in NYC. Places I’d never even heard of like Del Taco and Wing Street (attached to Pizza Hut), and those I’m familiar with like Jack in the Box, In-N-Out Burger and Carl’s Jr. I never eat fast food here anyway because I feel too guilty, but there’s something about ordering it from a PT Cruiser that seems to make it OK. Nothing makes me happier than foreign chains. I didn’t realize there was such a substantial Filipino community in Las Vegas so I was excited to see a Goldilocks in person. I didn’t see any Jollibees, unfortunately.

For full photo commentary, look here.

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  1. Alison #

    I used to love the Peppermill, wonderful strawberry daiquiries and those Smokehouse almonds. And the fire in the water. And yes, it was in the 70s. Complete change of topic – grocery stores. I just discovered the ShopRite on Macdonald Ave. at Ave. I. I really think you should check it, it’s almost like a timewarp or New Jersey (they have odd flavors of soda for instance, like Peach Fresca that I love.) There’s a parking lot off Ave. I.

    December 23, 2006

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