Friday, October 3, 2014

Nevada, Never Ending. By: Karen Pilarski

It has been years since I took a vacation. Through earning reward points our airfare was paid for. We decided on Vegas since we have been there before.

My mood was sulky before the trip. I hated to leave our dog Sundae for a week and had writing projects to complete. My husband hurt himself a few months ago. There was a monorail and a tram that could give us some walking relief during the week.

He injured his foot while riding on a golf cart at work. For weeks I had to play nurse, not naughty nurse mind you. I had to cook all our meals, clean, take care of the dog and help him bathe. I was thrilled when his doctor says his foot was improving.

At the airport he demanded a wheelchair. An attendant had to wheel him around. I had to deal with our baggage while he was loving the star treatment. Needless to say I was seething when he wanted the gate person to help him onto the aircraft.  

We rented a wheelchair at the Flamingo Hotel in Vegas. I pushed him up and down the crowded streets. I was crabby and tired. I also pulled a muscle so I was very close to pushing him off the wheelchair for my own sanity. My arms were tender from all the pushing and pulling. He began to get blisters on his hands from spinning the wheels to move. 

He insisted on using a scooter which was more expensive. It did save our arms some trauma. It pissed me off seeing him bang into walls and almost knocked over pedestrians. I walked behind him because I felt embarrassed. All we needed was a fanny pack and visor to match the blue haired grannies scooting by. My feet blistered and sore were aching to catch a cab. 

The desert weather was certainly humid in comparison to Milwaukee. The second day we decided to go to the pool for much needed R&R. I knew I was being a bitch. Here I was in Vegas, drinking a frozen alcoholic treat. 90’s music from my middle school hay days blared. Fair skin was burning under the western sun. 20 something pool goers living it up with drunk dance moves and lean bodies. It must be freeing to not have to answer to anyone. Women bared legs and other body parts as if it was nothing. I cover up. Even in my 20’s, I was too modest to reveal skin. Perhaps that was a reason for my icky mood. The scooter made me feel old.

My skin was slick with sweat and I was itching to dangle my feet in the cold water. He felt it was too difficult to hop over to the pool without the scooter.

It is amazing how booze is a youth enhancing potion disguised in a fruit concoction. During the pool party, we witnessed a wrinkly lady pushing 60 flashing men young enough to be her grandsons. Merrily she danced as security escorted her off the premises. Her mortified husband walked behind her, head hung low.

We got our hands on some free show tickets. That evening we went to see a Vegas insult comic named Vinnie. There wasn’t much of a routine. Vinnie ripped through the audience zoning in on imperfections and stereotypes. 

Then when the front row began to get tiresome, his eyes wondered over to the side where we sat. Shit. “So man, how did you hurt yourself?” My husband laughed and said “I hurt myself at work.” The comic asked what he did for a living. He said law enforcement. Vinnie thought he was a cop and so rambled off jokes about injuring himself as a criminal gave chase.
The rest of the week we walked up and down the strip. Well I walked. I worked a bit on writing freelance work. I’m sure that didn’t make my husband happy but hey, the scooter didn’t make my day either.

The last night he agreed to go to a female impersonation show with me. It was really good! There was an older man with his wife and her 80 year old mom. “You know, this is the first time I have been to Vegas with two women” he said with a cocky tone. We rolled our eyes and sighed at having to share a table with this guy. 

The man pestered the waitress to bring him a bucket of beer but to add tons of ice. There was Mr. Wannabe Hip desperately attempting to look cool in front of the little old lady kicking back a virgin Shirley Temple. Then he did something that made us laugh. He fist bumped the 80 year old. She looked confused, she was not the only one.

There were funny and poignant performances such as Whitney Houston, Joan Rivers, Celion Dion and Cher. Liza Minnelli’s “New York, New York” was my favorite. Then the female impersonator did “Wind Beneath my Wings” as Bette Midler. My husband took one look at me and reached for my hand. It hit me. He knows my soul. He gets my emotional response to songs and award show montages. He loves and accepts my sappiness and edgy personality.

The last day in Vegas we spent some time playing the slots. I looked at him as we burned our last buck of the gambling budget. “We aren’t lucky” then he looked at me and whispered “Sure we are, we have each other.”

At the airport we waited for the plane to take us back to normalcy. Out there waited our dog, our comfortable bed and our life together.