Living in Southern California means easy access to Vegas. Maybe too easy. Everyone goes and you hear about it far too often, mostly by way of the trite phrase “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” which is untrue in many instances, especially if you’re talking about The Herp. But with our upcoming move to Ohio, I’ll have far fewer opportunities to visit America’s mecca of crushed dreams. So I took my last (for now) one-night guys’ trip to Vegas.
First things first: The guys’ trip turned into a guy trip. My longtime friend was unable to get a seat on a standby flight from Austin. And no one else I asked could (i.e. wanted to) go, which was fine. Years prior to taking trips and kiss selfies with my wife, I was a frequent solo traveler. So I can be alone and not feel as if people are staring at me when eating in a restaurant or drinking myself silly at a bar where nobody knows my name.
I flew to Vegas via Spirit Airlines, which is no worse than riding Greyhound and often cheaper, provided you know the secret: Take your ass to the airport and buy your ticket in person. If you buy Spirit online they charge a counterintuitive passenger usage fee of like $40. My roundtrip ticket to Vegas was only $31, and I skipped the baggage fees by stuffing my draws and a few t-shirts into my personal item, which in my case was a diaper bag.
The first thing I did when I got to Vegas was check out Club Walmart. Of course I was there for the obligatory people watching, but I also needed some Krazy Glue to fix my boots; the sole was coming apart, or, as my dad said when I told him, the sole was “flapping and talking.” He would go on to say, “I ain’t seen shit like that since I was kid…the bar probably give yo’ ass a free drink once they see them goddamn boots!”
I fixed my goddamn boots and checked into the Downtown Grand, a recently remodeled 3.5 star hotel and a steal at $23 bucks a night through Hotwire. I was given a room on the 25th floor and could not have asked for a better view of downtown’s parking garages. I typically stay on the Strip, but I’m too old and too married for $15 drinks and EDM. Bars in Downtown Vegas have reasonable drink prices. They also play music that doesn’t make people do shameful variations of the original running man.
From the hotel, I walked aimlessly downtown. I saw a sculpture of a giant praying mantis and a shopping center made from shipping containers. I stopped in a Thai restaurant to eat, where I ordered the cheapest beer on the menu (Chang?) and a plate of chicken fried rice.
My waiter looked like Drake. So much so that I wanted to ask him for a picture. I thought better of it; as a fellow Lightskin I know it can be annoying when people say we resemble other Lightskins. You know how many times I’ve been called El DeBarge? Plus men don’t typically ask other men for pictures, especially black men, though maybe it would have been OK if I had ended the request with “no homo.”