For the past 14 years, John and I have joined 7 other couples for a joyful weekend at the beach in South Carolina. All the guys went to college together and members of the same fraternity (Fried chicken, country ham, Kappa Alpha, yes ma’am! How can you not love the South?), but all of us are close which is the result of shared living space, late night talks, and bent-over laughter during this fun weekend.
Because of the longevity of this tradition with our friends, this year was deemed the weekend we would do something out of the ordinary, a deviation from our typical, relaxing trip that returns us home to our respective families with good memories and lots of sleep.
This year, rest was not considered a desired commodity, and all of us hopped on planes to fly to the city that mocks shut-eye in any fashion or form. A city that cannot find the off button that turns off all of the glaring lights, suggesting daytime when it is really nighttime and total disregard for the HUMONGOUS power bill coming at the end of the month.
We are first time visitors – country come to town, if you will - and may not have ever travelled this way if not for the plans made by our friends. Frequent flier miles and generous childcare from the grandparents made the trip possible, which made our plans even more exciting because you know WE LIKE THINGS THAT ARE FREE.
I don’t know what I was expecting – maybe Elvis clones walking around in leisure suits or women parading around in costumes with a fan of peacock feathers behind them- but it has been fascinating to watch those around me, sometimes even gawking in a way that targets me as an obvious, and fairly naive tourist. This is the second day of our trip which has given me ample time to make the following eye-opening observations and helpful tips should anyone think they were worthy:
1. The tube top is alive and well in Las Vegas. If you thought that this fashion icon could only be found beneath the Dixie Line at NASCAR (peace to 3) or in line at Six Flags amusement park, you would be wrong. The only difference is in Las Vegas they are stretched to their very limits.
2. The fannie pack has also been resurrected in the city that never sleeps. They are worn with obvious pride, and usually paired with black dress socks and tennis shoes.
3. Do not gamble if you don’t know what you are doing. Offering your treasured quarters at a black jack table will only win you complete disdain from the dealer and mockery from the other players. Your southern accent will only further damage your cause.\
4. Do not stare at the 70 year old man walking through the hotel in a red costume that would only be appropriate in a clogging competition. He doesn’t see anything unusual about his attire except maybe that his petticoats are hanging out more than he would like. Avert your eyes quickly when this occurs or a surreal, awkward conversation will ensue and make you mad at your husband later for leaving you alone for more than 3 minutes.
5. Do not accept any handouts, flyers or business cards from anyone on the street. Receiving such information because you don’t want to hurt the givers feelings will only result in a searing burn of your eyeballs once you actually look at what is in your hands. Squealing and then acting as though your hand has been burned by acid is not received well either, and your dramatics will only cause further embarrassment to your significant other.
I’m sure there are additional observations swimming around in my head to be shared later on today, but for now, the hotel spa beckons me. Surely, there won’t be any tube tops or costumed cloggers in the quiet areas designated for those seeking peace and tranquility?
But, if Elvis is in there, that’s a different story altogether…..